Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Addressing Crawley's Neighbourhood Parking Problems

Boswell Road in Tilgate where the Conservatives created parking spaces
From our extensive engagement with Crawley’s residents, we know that residential neighbourhood parking is a top local concern for many people. Under the direction of Crawley Borough Council and its predecessor Urban District Council, parts of Crawley have been built with woefully inadequate residential parking provision. Regrettably, this historical problem still occurs today with Labour encouraging some developments that deliberately have an under provision of parking spaces, with their misguided view that hardly anyone will ever want to use a car.

Back in February, Labour Councillors scrapped Crawley’s popular Residential Parking Improvement Programme that created additional parking spaces out of surplus grass verges. This £1.3 million budget was re-directed to pay for the heating network of the upcoming new Crawley town hall. Our Conservative budget amendment to reinstate the parking improvements budget and seek alternative funding for the new town hall was narrowly lost as Labour have three more Councillors than us.
Labour’s parking ‘policy’ is to blame West Sussex County Council because they manage and maintain the road network, rather than accept it was the Crawley Council’s planning policies that got us here. This is why Crawley Borough Council started the residential parking improvement programme in the first place and we Conservatives want to bring it back, as a key policy among many that we have to help address neighbourhood parking problems.

The good news is that despite Labour ignoring Crawley’s concerns back in February, in April the Conservative government awarded Crawley Borough Council £1.4 million for its District Heat Network for the new town hall. Crawley was one of nine local authorities which were awarded such funding to help create low-carbon and environmentally efficient heating networks.
This means that Labour-run Crawley Borough Council is sitting on £1.3 million of your money that was earmarked for Crawley parking improvements. We want this money released and have submitted a motion to next week’s Full Council meeting calling upon the Council to reinstate the parking improvements budget and to invite Councillors to nominate streets to be considered for parking improvements. If just two Labour Councillors vote with us, this can happen.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Make The Right Choice On May 4th

Jeremy Corbyn with the Labour Group Leader of West Sussex County Council 
It was a surprise when it was announced a fortnight ago that there would be a general election on the 8th of June. Now that it is happening, I can see that gaining a mandate for Theresa May from the country will strengthen Britain’s negotiating position as we leave the EU. I also see the move as courageous because there was three years to run of this five-year parliament, but where Gordon Brown failed in seeking a mandate by not calling a general election when he became Prime Minister in 2007, Theresa May has bravely put her trust in the people to make the right choice for our county’s future.
While this general election was a surprise, we already have the scheduled elections taking place for West Sussex County Council next week on Thursday the 4th of May. The County Council delivers 80% of our local government services and who represents you is important. If you are looking for someone to use the position of County Councillor for your area as a political platform to advance the views of Jeremy Corbyn for the next four years, then I would suggest voting Labour in the County Council elections.

If however you are looking for a County Councillor who will put their local area first, as well as having a constructive engagement and a positive influence with the County Council on your behalf, then I recommend voting for your local Conservative candidate who is listed below. We are offering a strong and united team of candidates in Crawley whose are determined to get the very best for our town.  
Bewbush & Ifield West - Duncan Peck
Broadfield - Irshad Jalaldeen
Langley Green & Ifield East - Brenda Burgess
Maidenbower - Bob Lanzer
Northgate & West Green - Ian Pendlington
Pound Hill - Richard Burrett
Southgate & Gossops Green - Kim Jaggard
Three Bridges & Pound Hill South - Charles Petts
Tilgate & Furnace Green - Duncan Crow

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Labour Make Crawley's Parking Worse

Not enough parking provision - a congested street in Crawley 
Residents in many of Crawley’s neighbourhoods will know that poor planning in the past with a lack of foresight about future car ownership, has led to today’s parking difficulties where some streets simply do not have enough parking provision.  While the past may be history, what I find frustrating is that with Labour at the helm at Crawley Borough Council, that yesterday’s mistakes are still being made today.

My colleague Cllr Kim Jaggard, submitted a very insightful written question at February’s Full Council meeting. Kim asked how many housing units in Crawley town centre had been given planning permission since May 2014 and what was the total number of parking spaces allocated for use by these housing units?
The revealing answer was that 901 housing units had received planning permission and that their parking provision was just 523 spaces. This is a deficit of nearly 400 parking spaces if each property were to have one parking space allocated to it, which many people would still consider a low amount. I am very supportive of housing in the town centre but these totally unrealistic parking provisions will store up parking problems for tomorrow, not just in the town centre but also in the surrounding neighbourhoods of Southgate, West Green, Northgate and Three Bridges.

At the same Full Council meeting in February it was very disappointing to see Labour scrap Crawley’s £1.3 million Neighbourhood Parking Improvement Budget in order to help fund the new Crawley Town Hall, as well as for them to vote down the Conservative group amendment to re-instate the Parking Improvements Budget and to seek alternative funds for this £1.3 million for the new Town Hall.
The good news is that last week, the Conservative Government stepped in by allocating £1.4 million of funding for the District Heat Network element of the new Town Hall development, which is what Labour were planning to use the Parking Improvements Budget for. Now that alternative funding has been secured, there really is no excuse for Labour not to re-instate the Neighbourhood Parking Improvements Budget. If they won’t, a future Conservative-run Council will.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

It is the Conservatives who stand up for Crawley in West Sussex

Crawley may be small in size, but we play a major part in West Sussex 
Championing Crawley comes naturally to me because we have so much going for our town. I certainly don’t need to invoke any politics of envy to make a good case as to why Crawley should have something. For political reasons, Labour pitch us here in Crawley as being some sort of victim of the rest of West Sussex as well as pitching Crawley Borough Council against West Sussex County Council.

For years I’ve observed Labour claims that ‘Tory Chichester gets everything and Crawley gets nothing’ and that ‘only Labour stands up for Crawley in West Sussex’, both of which are of course complete and utter nonsense. Ironically, the Liberal Democrats in Chichester campaign on how Crawley gets everything from West Sussex County Council because we are the economic powerhouse of the county and they claim that Chichester gets forgotten by the Conservatives. 
Realities are very different. Crawley Borough Council and West Sussex County Council actually work together very well. An obvious example of this is the regeneration of Queens Square, conceived by the County Council thanks to input from Conservative County Councillors from Crawley and then embraced in partnership by the Borough Council.

Crawley is very well represented at West Sussex County Council. The Chief Executive is from Crawley and the Executive Director for Economy, Infrastructure and Environment was until recently, the Chief Executive of Crawley Borough Council for the last eight years. Also, two of the three Conservative County Councillors from Crawley are members of the County Council’s decision-making Cabinet.

My own record in my County Council role championing Crawley is very strong. Indeed, I’ve never missed a Full Council meeting in my entire 12 years of office and I always vote for what is truly best for Crawley. Conversely, Labour’s record is poor, recently demonstrated by half their Crawley County Councillors being absent for the important February Budget Full Council meeting. Of those who did turn up, they all voted against the £11 million Better Pavements Programme. So next time Labour claim only they stand up for Crawley in West Sussex, ask yourself who is really doing so?        

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Brexit - We Need To Respect Differences

Insulting Leave voters - Labour candidate for Three Bridges & Pound Hill South

Today, Wednesday the 29th of March sees the much-anticipated triggering of Article 50 which starts the formal process of the UK leaving the European Union. I am optimistic about our leaving of the EU and I believe that our country has a very bright future as a uniquely placed outwardly looking global nation.

The UK voted Leave by 52% to 48% in last June’s referendum and in Crawley we voted Leave by 58% to 42%. However, while my view and the majority view is positive about us leaving the EU, I recognise that over 40% is a very significant minority and that not only do people like myself need to recognise this opposing view, we need to be respectful of it. Indeed, I recognise the concerns about the uncertainty going forward that many Remain voters have. This is why I think that as start to leave the EU, we need to come together and make sure we make the very best of it for our country’s future, regardless of how we all voted last June.

Therefore, it is very disappointing that the Crawley Labour Party feel unable to be respectful of differing views from theirs on Brexit. I was appalled when the day after the referendum that Julian Charatan, who is the former Chairman of the Crawley Labour Party and also Labour’s candidate for Three Bridges & Pound Hill South in the upcoming County Council elections on 4th May, wrote on his publicly viewable Facebook account: “So it’s confirmed. We live on a nasty little island where a majority of ignorant little bigots have just voted to slash their economic throats”.
While feelings can run high in politics, all of us involved in public life should maintain respect for opposing viewpoints and certainly not be insulting of those who exercised their democratic right to vote Leave in the EU referendum. As we enter these uncertain times with the triggering of Article 50, we will be stronger as a country if we are tolerant and respectful of our differences, and if we all pull together to make sure our country is successful outside of the EU.