A firm anti Bradwell B nuclear power station policy has been put into place for CBC, thanks to local Conservative Councillors.

The rejection of any plans to build the vast site to contain Bradwell B off the West Mersea coast was passed at an urgent full meeting of Colchester Borough Council on 12th August. The meeting was a result of Conservative Councillors, joined by the single Green Member of the Council, calling in a lacklustre consultation response to the proposals for the power station.

The call-in was heard last month by the Scrutiny Panel and objections were led by Cllr John Jowers and Cllr Robert Davidson, who both represent Mersea Island, and claimed the site was environmental unacceptable to this part of the Essex coast. They also highlighted the inadequacies of the original response by the Lib/Lab coalition at the Town Hall.

Leader of the Conservatives, Cllr Paul Dundas, said: “I am delighted that Conservative colleagues got on the front foot with this and determined that the Administration’s consultation response did not reflect the true feelings of the people of Mersea Island and the whole Borough. It also came to light as part of the Scrutiny meeting that there was no official CBC policy on Bradwell B which is both extraordinary and inept, but sums up this hopeless coalition. Thanks to the Conservatives that has now been put right.”

In yet another U-Turn by the almost defunct and powerless Lib/Lab pact the Leader of the Council was forced to put forward a motion condemning any plans for Bradwell B.

Lib Dem and Labour Councillors queued up to speak in favour of the motion which led to questions as to why they hadn’t done that in the first place.

Conservative Councillors stuck to their principles of speaking out against Bradwell B and the result was a unanimous vote in favour of strongly objecting to any plans to build the nuclear power station.

2020-08-13

 

Colchester is suffering a dramatic lack of open space because of over-development, a new report has revealed.

Years of allowing more and more housing to be built unsustainably has led to Colchester being in the bottom 10% of all areas in the UK for access to open space according to the damning report jointly published by the Ordnance Survey and The Sunday Times.

Analysis shows that Newham, in Inner City London with approximately twice the population, has fewer people without access to open spaces. The report shows that over 50,000 people in Colchester did not live within 500m of public open space. This is about 25% of the population having limited access to public open space, despite half of Colchester living in rural areas.

Colchester Conservative Leader, Cllr Paul Dundas, said: “This proves the point we have said for a very long time that Colchester has been expanding too fast without the proper infrastructure and the current Administration has allowed too many houses to be built without a moments thought about how people are going to live and where they have access to open space.

“This is a damning report on the current Lib/Lab Coalition that has allowed Colchester to be concreted over. We fought against the Garden Communities masterplan and were proved right when the Inspector threw most of it out, and it is the same Coalition that has been proved to be wrong again by building thousands of extra homes without any regard to the impact on the borough, the people and the environment.”

It has been proved in recent times with COVID 19 restrictions that people need good quality, easily accessible open space, not just for their physical wellbeing but also for mental health reasons, especially those in flats and houses without gardens.

Deputy Leader of the Conservatives, Cllr Lewis Barber, said: “We are not against building homes it is important that future generations have good quality, affordable places to live, but it must be done properly with good open space and sustainable transport links for cars, cyclists, pedestrians and buses. The Government wants to simplify the planning rules and build more houses which is a sensible policy, but it must be done correctly. We will work with the Government to deliver but we shall also be forthright in explaining that while other neighbouring councils have not built enough new homes, we in Colchester have been building at a dramatic rate. However, very badly built which has led to this disastrous report. Things must change in Colchester and we will bring about that change.”

2020-08-11

Colchester Conservative Councillors, working with Highwoods Independents, Greens and one Lib Dem Councillor last night succeeded in stopping attempts to give failed New Town Development Company  "North Essex Garden Communities Ltd" a further £350,000 of Council Tax Payers’ money.

The Liberal Democrat led Council, which claims to have no money, wanted to award the firm a further tranche of cash, so that it can be wound-up. This was rejected last year and again on the second attempt.

Cllr Lewis Barber, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group said: "The Conservatives in Colchester have always argued the Garden Communities / New Town Development scheme would not work and voted against setting up the company in 2016. Four years and in excess of £8m of public money later they have been proved right."

The result of the vote was 22 for (11 Liberal Democrats and 11 Labour) with 25 against (20 Conservatives, 3 Highwoods Independents, 1 Green, 1 Liberal Democrat).

2020-07-15

Despite the overwhelming opposition from residents of the Borough, LibDem and Labour Councillors have again proposed that the Council charges for collecting garden waste. 

Despite discovering just how unpopular it would be to charge for collecting garden waste,  the Lib Dem/Labour Councillors set up  a "Waste task and finish group".

A vote was taken on Monday 10th of August, and despite both the Conservatives and the Independents voting against garden waste charges, Councillors from Labour and Lib Dems voted to introduce charges, using wheelie bins for the service in areas where previously residents have said they do not want them.

Councillor Sue Lissimore, Shadow Cabinet member for Waste for the Conservatives, said “I believe this was a set up from the start. We were only given very loose information where savings could be made in other areas but what did come to light was the contracts that the council had agreed to for the North Essex Garden Communities amounted to nearly £1.3 million. If this council had not continued with pushing for garden communities and wasted this money,  then we would now not be facing being charged for collection of our garden waste.  It also came to light that the Council are relying on agency staff to collect rubbish and recycling which costs a great deal more than paid staff. This has wasted large amounts of money for many years”. 

Conservatives at Colchester Borough Council do not believe that residents should suffer for the mistakes that this Council have previously made. So introducing garden waste charges, primarily to raise £1.3 million to pay-off part of the £8m wasted on the failed garden communities project is a slap in the face for hard-working residents and will increase fly tipping, Bonfires and hit those that are struggling financially hardest.

It is frustrating that so soon after they were defeated on this issue, they’ve tried to bring it back after stuffing a committee with their own members. 

Cllr Sue Lissimore

Tel 07540 328316

Colchester Borough Councillor for Prettygate ward. 

Essex County Councillor for Drury division. 

2020-08-11

My submission in the Gazette Newspaper's Letters section today on honesty in our local politics:

'I was interested to read about the recent submission by the Colchester Labour Group of their Alumno petition to the Leader of Colchester Borough Council.

Of course, Labour councillors were and are part of the Council, and they voted through the plans. Moreover, a Labour councillor was largely responsible for introducing these unwanted plans in the first place.

When challenged on this, a Labour spokesperson explained on social media that Labour councillors were entitled to change their minds. This places the Council in an incredibly difficult legal situation with the developers, Alumno, as the contract stipulates that the Council must use its best endeavours to ensure these plans are realised.

This latest occurrance is part of a wider problem with the discourse in Colchester's local politics. Sadly, it is all too often that councillors belonging to the Council vote through deeply unpopular decisions and then tell the public the complete opposite. Indeed, in this case, the Labour spokesperson actively petitioned against his Council's own policy, bound contractually with the developer.

Colchester deserves better than this sort of politics, and councillors should be owning the decisions they make, instead of trying to blindside the public. It would be a breath of fresh air to see the level of discourse enhanced in our local politics and for a dose of honesty from those councillors in our current Council.'

2020-07-27