Elections: Who runs Hertsmere - you decide

With just weeks to go before voters head to the polls to decide who will take the helm at Hertsmere Borough Council, the Borehamwood Times spoke to the main parties to find out about their plans for the borough.

Unlike the nearby London boroughs, which elect their whole council in one election every four years, Hertsmere works differently.

Elections are held annually, with a third of councillors at a time elected for a four-year term. However, every four years, Hertfordshire County Council holds its own elections.

But a Tory-led proposal could change all that next year, as a motion to create a system in which councillors are voted every four years is due to be heard by Hertfordshire County Council in June.

The authority is currently made up solely of Conservatives and Labour councillors, with no Liberal Democrat, Green or UK Independence Party representatives holding any seats.

Comprising of Borehamwood, Bushey, Potters Bar and Shenley, 35 seats belong to the Tories, with Labour holding just four seats.

However, the Labour group has no chance of leading the council this year even if they were to win all seats being contested because this would still leave them with 17 seats.

With 39 seats up for grabs on the council, the leading party would need to win a majority of 19 seats to take power.

In recent months, the most talked about subject in Borehamwood has been the Elstree Corridor development, where around 1,200 new homes will be built near the Elstree Way.

Conservative leader Morris Bright told the Borehamwood Times: “We have got to build in a way that benefits the area – that includes retail blocks, cafes, schools and health centres.

“If you look at the independent surveys in recent years, 90 per cent of people are happy in the area and Hertsmere was named as the happiest place to live in Hertfordshire.

“People trust this authority with the Conservatives. The reality of it is we won’t make promises we can’t keep, and we don’t raise promises unnecessarily. We ask residents what they want, and listen.

“We won’t cut services, we’ll continue to improve them.”

In the last five years, the Tories – along with the county and town councils – have frozen council tax to make a collective saving of £300 a year per household.

Another issue involves the potential selling off of the well-loved Maxwell Park Centre, which the Tories listed as the third favourite site for a new school in the Elstree Way Corridor action plan.

“I’ve organised meetings with county officers to look for a long term solution. We managed to give it an extra year last year, but that’s not enough. Now, we need a way forward and we need certainty.”

Labour group leader Cllr Ann Harrison said the group will “do their best” to fight for the centre.

She said: “We’re concerned about Maxwell Park, and we’re struggling with the fact that the Maxwell Park development was included in the plan in the first place.

“The Tories say they’ll fight for it – but why did they hand it over on a silver plate in the first place? We’ll do things to try and discourage them from selling.

“If it comes to that, we’ll make them get a compulsory purchase order.”

She also raised concerns about the lack of affordable housing in the borough, and fears it will force local people out of the borough.

“We understand that’s a government policy – but at least give the residents something. Only a third of houses being built will be affordable.”

Other issues the Labour group has pledged to improve include filling the borough’s pothole-ridden streets and ensuring a tenth of Hertfordshire Council’s £9m road budget is spent on Borehamwood.

The opportunity of providing candidates to enable voters to exercise their democratic prerogative of choice remains a core objective of UKIP in all elections now and in the future.

UKIP is contesting 12 seats, with former Labour councillor Frank Ward now leader of Hertsmere branch of the party.

He said: “We have a wide range of candidates for the local elections with experience of living within the community of Hertsmere.

“We listen patiently to complaints from members of the public about the serial failure of both Conservative and Labour elected councillors to place their needs and interests before the policies of their respective parties.

“Unlike the other three main parties which are jaded and arrogant in taking the public for granted, UKIP as a new party with new ideas and new hope for the future will place the needs of the people before party political interests.”

A Hertsmere Liberal Democrat representative was unavailable at the time of going to press.

 

Comments (2)

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12:26pm Sat 10 May 14

Frank Ward says...

Frank Ward: Labour Party Nemesis?

While I share no truck with the Conservatives, the disingenuous misleading comments from Councillor Ann Harrison on the shortage of social housing within the Borough and accusing the Conservative Government of being responsible has its own star studded status in political 'Cloud Cuckoo Land'.
However, going off 'half-cocked' appears to be part of that everyday story of the local Labour Party.
The Conservative Governments of Mrs Thatcher and John Major were in office from 1979 until 1997.
Conservative Governments by tradition have never promoted or encouraged the concept of social housing.
However, during their period of eighteen years in office, the number dwellings built by local authorities and registered social landlords aggregated to the total of nine hundred and thirteen thousand, six hundred and ninety ( 913,690 )
The labour Government was in office from 1997 until 2010.
Labour Governments by contrast have encouraged and promoted the concept of social housing.
However, during the period of 13 years the Labour Government was in office the number of dwelling built by local authorities and registered social landlords only aggregated to a total of two hundred and ninety thousand, seven hundred and fifty. ( 290,750 )
Therefore, the average number of homes built each year during the Conservative period of eighteen years in office, totalled fifty thousand, seven hundred and sixty one. ( 50,761)
Now spot the difference?
The average number of homes built each year during the period 1997 until 2008 when the Labour Government finally abandoned its social housing obligations completely, totalled twenty four thousand, two hundred and ninety nine. ( 24,299 )
The Labour Government then compounded their abject failure to honour its 'chest beating pledges' to those it claims to represent by sending out recruitment teams to every member state in the EU inviting them to send their unemployed, homeless and even those unable to speak English to come to this country, the Labour land of opportunity?
During that period of a Labour government in excess of 4 million arrived.
I rest my case

Frank Ward
Chairman
Hertsmere UKIP
Frank Ward: Labour Party Nemesis? While I share no truck with the Conservatives, the disingenuous misleading comments from Councillor Ann Harrison on the shortage of social housing within the Borough and accusing the Conservative Government of being responsible has its own star studded status in political 'Cloud Cuckoo Land'. However, going off 'half-cocked' appears to be part of that everyday story of the local Labour Party. The Conservative Governments of Mrs Thatcher and John Major were in office from 1979 until 1997. Conservative Governments by tradition have never promoted or encouraged the concept of social housing. However, during their period of eighteen years in office, the number dwellings built by local authorities and registered social landlords aggregated to the total of nine hundred and thirteen thousand, six hundred and ninety ( 913,690 ) The labour Government was in office from 1997 until 2010. Labour Governments by contrast have encouraged and promoted the concept of social housing. However, during the period of 13 years the Labour Government was in office the number of dwelling built by local authorities and registered social landlords only aggregated to a total of two hundred and ninety thousand, seven hundred and fifty. ( 290,750 ) Therefore, the average number of homes built each year during the Conservative period of eighteen years in office, totalled fifty thousand, seven hundred and sixty one. ( 50,761) Now spot the difference? The average number of homes built each year during the period 1997 until 2008 when the Labour Government finally abandoned its social housing obligations completely, totalled twenty four thousand, two hundred and ninety nine. ( 24,299 ) The Labour Government then compounded their abject failure to honour its 'chest beating pledges' to those it claims to represent by sending out recruitment teams to every member state in the EU inviting them to send their unemployed, homeless and even those unable to speak English to come to this country, the Labour land of opportunity? During that period of a Labour government in excess of 4 million arrived. I rest my case Frank Ward Chairman Hertsmere UKIP Frank Ward
  • Score: 0

2:48pm Mon 12 May 14

Frank Ward says...

Unfortunately the comments made by on-line subscribers, cynical though they may be to some, are typical of the feeling that many people share across the country.
' They are all the same, in it for what they can get,' is the all too frequent comment.
This collective mistrust is aggregating and tends to manifest in serial low attendance at the polls.
Voters are aware after many bitters years of experience that politicians of all parties will tell you what you want to hear and even fill each side of their A4 election leaflets with pledges that will convince you to place your 'X' in the box for them.
However, voters are now beginning to realise that in buying a tin of beans from the local supermarket they have more protection under the 'Sale of Goods Act 1979 than from the deliberate deception orchestrated by the 'spin-doctors' of the political parties.
There is no legislation on the statute book of which I am aware that holds political parties accountable for the lies they tell and even replicate on paper which is handed to you in the street or pushed through your letter box during elections.
The breach of good faith and trust with the voters are too numerous to tabulate and just to mention a few will be sufficient:
Conservatives promised a Bill of Rights to replace the long discredited Human Rights Act and then failed to deliver.
Labour promised a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and then failed to deliver
Liberal Democrats promised that university students would pay no fees and then failed to deliver.
Therefore, is it any wonder the people have lost the moral obligation to play their part in the process of creating a democratic society and a system of democratic government.
If the politicians believe in democracy and the rule of law they will bring in legislation to hold themselves accountable to the people they want to represent?
Just don't hold your breath in anticipation.

Frank Ward
Chairman
Hertsmere UKIP
Unfortunately the comments made by on-line subscribers, cynical though they may be to some, are typical of the feeling that many people share across the country. ' They are all the same, in it for what they can get,' is the all too frequent comment. This collective mistrust is aggregating and tends to manifest in serial low attendance at the polls. Voters are aware after many bitters years of experience that politicians of all parties will tell you what you want to hear and even fill each side of their A4 election leaflets with pledges that will convince you to place your 'X' in the box for them. However, voters are now beginning to realise that in buying a tin of beans from the local supermarket they have more protection under the 'Sale of Goods Act 1979 than from the deliberate deception orchestrated by the 'spin-doctors' of the political parties. There is no legislation on the statute book of which I am aware that holds political parties accountable for the lies they tell and even replicate on paper which is handed to you in the street or pushed through your letter box during elections. The breach of good faith and trust with the voters are too numerous to tabulate and just to mention a few will be sufficient: Conservatives promised a Bill of Rights to replace the long discredited Human Rights Act and then failed to deliver. Labour promised a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and then failed to deliver Liberal Democrats promised that university students would pay no fees and then failed to deliver. Therefore, is it any wonder the people have lost the moral obligation to play their part in the process of creating a democratic society and a system of democratic government. If the politicians believe in democracy and the rule of law they will bring in legislation to hold themselves accountable to the people they want to represent? Just don't hold your breath in anticipation. Frank Ward Chairman Hertsmere UKIP Frank Ward
  • Score: -1

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