Just what is going on with the Conservatives on Suffolk County Council?
First of all we have the Brian Riley fiasco – yes Hadleigh, sadly he still is your representative. Now we have the news that Council Leader Mark Bee is standing down. Was he pushed or has he left of his own free will? Regardless of one’s political beliefs, Mark came in and steadied a very rocky boat in the wake of the Andrea Hill episode.
Clearly with all the turmoil within the administrative party one has to ask oneself are they the right party to be leading Suffolk at this moment in time.
Asked by the EADT to comment on Mark’s resignation, Group Leader David Wood said ” I am shocked and disappointed to hear the news. Mark has always been fair to all parties. He’s always listened to what we have had to say. He’s always recognised that whatever our political backgrounds we are all keen to do what we see as best for the people of Suffolk. I know he has problems within his own group, and that might be because he’s been prepared to talk to us – but this is sad news for the county as a whole”.
Today’s (2nd April 2015) EADT states that some Conservatives had feared that whilst Mark Bee would have been re-elected unopposed at their AGM next week there would have been a vote of no confidence in the Leadership immediately before May’s annual council meeting. Oh boy! Conservative Democracy at work!!! We have seen how one of your Councillors operates – we have to ask ourselves is it spreading?
Yes, of course the LibDems are fully behind solar energy – but not at the expense of valuable arable land! What is needed is a sensible approach.
So if we could find a place that delivers this energy and has a positive impact on 8 other issues then it could be considered a real winner.
Well, Dave Busby – LibDem councillor for Belstead Brook – may have just had that ‘eureka’ moment. He is proposing that we should cover the Copdock Park & Ride with solar panels.
Apart from the obvious benefit of additional power what else would this proposal give us?
“Generating income for the site would mean that
– Fares could be reduced – resulting in increased numbers using the service increasing, meaning less traffic jams and less pollution in Ipswich;
– The future viability of the site would be guaranteed;
– Students from Suffolk One could be offered cheap parking – eliminating the continuing thorny problem of them needing to park in surrounding residential areas,” Dave points out.
Additional benefits would be that
Traffic flow into town is reduced;
Agricultural land is retained for food production;
The Suffolk landscape is not blighted;
The site could provide a point for charging electric cars;
It means a double use for an asset
Solar panels could also be added at the Martlesham P&R site to provide similar benefits on the other side of Ipswich.
Suffolk County Council agreed its Budget at full council today. The LibDems had a free vote, but most – if not all – voted against the Administration’s proposals. As Leader, Dave Wood said:
Our group fully understands the financial needs of the County – and the absolute requirement the Council has to raise efficiency and to give good value for money. So of course, we fully support the proposed 0% increase in Council Tax.
However, we sincerely believe that the Pickles Bribe (eg central government’s council tax freeze deal) should actually be used, rather than placed in the reserves as seems to have become Tory practice. This money should be given back to the people of Suffolk – from whom it was extracted via their taxes – and used to support some of the services you are proposing to cut.
We are concerned – most particularly with Adult and Continuing Services – that apparent efficiencies are masking significant service resuctions. We have anecdotal evidence that this is the case.
It is a different case with Childrens and Young Peoples’ services. League tables show clearly that we are still performing badly, and yet we see substantial budget cuts. This just cannot be right. The future of Suffolk depends on the aspirations of its young people.
We welcome the gains you propose to make from the moving of CSD inhouse- but surely there has been a very hard lesson to be learned here. This project has been very badly managed for years now. It is proof, if proof was needed that outsourcing services doesn’t always make savings and is not always best.. SO surely the savings made from this and the Energy from Waste project should be employed to rectify the problems I have quoted.
On a personal level I’m deeply disappointed that the Council has decided to cut their contribution to Suffolk’s magnificent AONBs by 20% – especially as it is on the back of them being forward-looking and restructuring I know it is only a small sumof money in the grand scheme of things – but what sort of message is it going to send out to our other contributing partners, considering AONBs importance, and the contribution they make to the Suffolk economy? I wish that the reduction could have been phased in with a full consultation. As it is there in black and white in today’s budget, I hope the Portfolio holder will reassure us that he will take no more from the AONBs for the duration of this administration.
Views and News from Suffolk County Council Liberal Democrats