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LIBERAL GROUP Wyre Forest District Council

 
Mike
Fran
Mandy
Rachel


 
Siri
Graham
Paul
Rob

 

The May 2005 Wyre Forest Liberal Manifesto…

A Strong Voice for…
SAFER COMMUNITIES…

In recent years the share of the Council Tax which has gone to the Police has rocketted -rising in just three years (2001-2004) by a staggering 65%. Meanwhile we are seeing little or nothing in terms of extra policing in the community for all that extra money we are paying. We were promised more Police on the beat but we have seen little sign of them.

We must have more Police “on the beat” - and we must have them now! The Police must cut out the red tape and concentrate on the core job on the streets!

Working with Wyre Forest Community Housing let’s step up the neighbourhood, street and community wardens schemes across the District. We know they work! By the way it is totally wrong that the major cost of the neighbourhood and street wardens is paid for by WFCH tenants through their rents. The whole community benefits from these schemes and we should all be paying for them. That has been partially been tackled thanks to Liberal intervention in the District Council Budget but much more needs to be done! Let’s get that sorted!

Liberal Councillors in Offmore & Comberton set the pace in launching one of the first two Urban Safety Groups – the Offmore Comberton Action Group – in the West Mercia Police area involving Police, Councillors, Churches and the local community coming together to tackle problems of local crime and vandalism. It works. Crime rates have crashed in that area! Let’s spread the message across the whole District!

We will continue to work with our partners in ‘Wyre Forest Matters’ to deliver safe communities. We will work with the local Police to try to obtain better funding for more Beat Officers.

While we are at it let’s bring in “street drinking bans” across the district and put in place bye-laws to control the groups of youths who so often take over our local parks for drinking sessions. Let’s set up “Park Watch” Schemes with local residents where these are appropriate to tackle these problems.

The CCTV scheme recently launched in Kidderminster Town Centre is fine but let’s cover all the ALL car parks as well as main shopping streets. We need CCTV coverage within the Swan Centre, Rowland Hill Centre and Weavers Wharf.

We want a total zero tolerance approach to drug dealing in Wyre Forest! It is also time to adopt a zero tolerance policy towards the minority of young people who indulge in foul-mouthed and obscene behaviour around town late at night when they leave pubs and nightclubs

We totally support the work of Wyre Forest Women’s Aid in seeking to reduce Domestic Violence.

At the end of the day we want more Police on the beat tackling crime, nuisance, vandalism and drug taking. Nothing else will do. Every year the Police share of YOUR Council Tax bill rises by leaps and bounds. Welcome as the new West Mercia Community Support Officers are, they do NOT have powers of arrest and are NOT a replacement for more Police Officers. It’s time we saw some real results!

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A Strong Voice for...
EDUCATION & SCHOOLS...

The outcome of the Wyre Forest Schools Reorganisation debate at County Hall is a disaster. Why? Because so many good schools are simply going to be swept away — “if it isn’t broken why fix it?” Why? Because there are more questions and uncertainties now than there were at the start of the process? A new County Council will have to look again at what is happening if the situation is not to collapse in chaos.

Here is what Liberal Cllr Oborski wrote on the day of the final decision. It is still precisely relevant today:-

I’m left very tired, drained and extremely angry after sitting through the County Council Cabinet Meeting this morning.

Predictably they threw out the full County Council’s plea to let the people of Wyre Forest have a vote on whether they want their schools to remain three tier (first, middle and high) or go two tier (primary, high). The Cabinet have pushed through their botched switch to two tier.

Why I am I so furious?

Firstly, their own rules say that there should be no change in school organisation unless there is a real demand for that change in the area concerned. There is absolutely no evidence to show such a demand in Wyre Forest. They have simply ignored their own rules.

Secondly there are 57 County Councillor but all the decisions, including today’s, have been taken by the 10 who form the Cabinet. Of those 10 only 1 comes from Wyre Forest. Wyre Forest elects 11 County Councillors so 10 out of 11 Wyre Forest County Councillors have had no say. In fact the representatives of 90.9% of the electorate of Wyre Forest were barred from the decision making. Today those 10 of us were not even allowed to speak. In terms of political composition by the way the Cabinet consists of 50% Tories, 20% Labour, 10% Liberal Democrat, 10% Independent, 10% Health Concern and 0% Liberal. At the last County Council Elections Wyre Forest elected 45% Health Concern, 18% Liberal, 18% Conservative, 9% Liberal Democrat, 0% Labour, 0% Independent.

This was NOT representative democracy in any shape or form!

Thirdly, the final proposals contain many decisions and implications which were NOT touched on during the so called "consultation" paper. There was a first "consultation" paper, then a "second" consultation paper with different alternatives, all leading to a "proposal" that contained many completely new elements.

Those hitting the area I represent included:-

- The reduction in High School intake – in the case of King Charles I School from 277 to 168 – with no discussion or indication of how this will affect the curriculum that the schools can offer!

- The fact that this reduction will reduce 6th Form levels to a figure below that which the Education Officers were saying – just a week before the final proposal came out - are necessary for a viable 6th Form!

- There has been no explanation of how this reduction in High School intake will change catchment areas. Some areas currently sending their youngsters to King Charles will find them going to Baxter or Wolverley instead. I would guess that most of the families likely to be affected have not the slightest inkling of what lies in store! Does anyone remember that some years ago parents from part of Offmore campaigned relentlessly so that their children could go to King Charles instead of bussing out to Wolverley!

- There was never any mention at any point in the consultation process that the High Schools would be stranded on split sites, with all the accompanying difficulties, for several years during the process of reorganisation!

- There was never any consultation on the proposal to reduce Offmore First School’s intake from 60 to 45 so leaving it facing mixed aged group classes!

- Furthermore nobody has officially even mentioned that this again means a change in catchment areas. Offmore is fully subscribed and would remain so with an intake of 60. So if only 45 are to be admitted where will the others go? What will be the knock on effects for the catchment areas of other Primary Schools on this side of Kidderminster?!

- In all the consultation proposals the prospect for Lea Street First School was merger. Those proposals were not popular but at least you could work out where children from that area would go if those proposals went ahead. In the final package Lea Street is simply to close without the slightest indication of where the children from that area will go!

These are just the issues on which there was never any consultation which affect the area I represent. The picture is simply repeated in different forms across much of the District.

Fourthly, the reorganisation stemmed from an awareness that there were too many empty school places absorbing funding in Wyre Forest. That needed to be addressed. As the reorganisation process was launched we were suddenly told that it was all about raising standards. However, although problems with standards were constantly alluded to throughout the process the nature of such problems was not clearly identified. Worse still the causes of any such problems were not investigated let alone identified so there is no way of knowing if the resultant reorganisation package will improve standards - or not. Indeed, we cannot say that the package does not embody or even strengthen the very characteristics that created the problems in the first place!

In my area there is the ultimate irony that we are now going to dismantle the schools with the very highest standards! King Charles I High School will diminish in scope as it diminishes from a 277 intake to a 168 intake.

Comberton Middle School, surely one of the finest in the country, will close its doors. The superb Offmore First School will be deliberately sabotaged by lowering its intake by 25% from 60 to 45 so driving it into the unsatisfactory establishment of mixed age group classes. Comberton First School, another super school, gets mangled in the transition to Primary School. Our lovely, lovely Lea Street First School will be swept away. How does all of that improve standards? I would like someone to try and explain that to me. I do not think it is possible! Far too many babies are being thrown out with very little bath water!

Has this all been well thought out? The number and variety of loose ends and unasked and unanswered questions must surely suggest otherwise. Just a week before the final proposals were published Senior Education Officers were publicly arguing that the retention of three Kidderminster High Schools, under either a two or three tier system, was an impossibility because the numbers could not generate three viable 6th Forms. Yet, within a week the ruling Conservative Group insisted that they would retain the three High Schools. It subsequently turns out that the previously unpredicted building delays mean that new High School buildings will not now come on stream until precisely the moment when Kidderminster High School provision will have to be reviewed again because of the issue of imploding 6th Forms! What could be more foolish?

Of course change is necessary and desirable but couldn’t it have been handled so much better. Suppose we had firstly clearly identified and diagnosed the standards problems to ensure that any change would actually address and correct those issues? Suppose we had then had a real public debate on the relative merits of the two and three tier systems for Wyre Forest. Suppose we had then clearly identified where the actual empty places were? Suppose we had then looked at what were the judicious measures required to achieve the improvement of standards, to implement the desired system and to tackle the places issue? No, I will not accept accusations of "hindsight" because that is exactly what we have argued since well before the launch of the Wyre Forest Review.

Throughout the debate we were handicapped by the fact that the 14 strong Labour Group (none from Wyre Forest) at County Hall appeared to be placidly supporting the 26 strong Conservative administration. Indeed, at Cabinet in July Labour voted FOR the ill-conceived Conservative reorganisation package. With the Conservatives apparently able to rely on 40 out of 57 votes in Council and 7 out of 10 votes in Cabinet there was no hope of any real success in opposing the Tory proposals.

It was only with the last minute Labour "let’s have a poll of Wyre Forest residents on the two tier / three tier issue" in October that it became possible to defeat the Tories (in this case by 27 votes to 25) in Council.

Why Labour had this change of heart I have no idea. Maybe it was genuine concern about the direction in which things were going or the growing public disquiet in Wyre Forest. Maybe they wanted to wrong foot the Tories in Wyre Forest or adopt a more visibly anti-Tory stance in the run up to next May’s County Council elections. Maybe it was a mixture of factors. In any event it offered an opportunity, albeit late and imperfect, to attempt to get a real debate and decisive indication of preference from Wyre Forest people. I believe a poll would show overwhelming but far from unanimous support for the three tier system.

Fran and I also believed that the poll debate would give us the time and opportunity to raise all issues in the final Tory proposal which had never been subject to public consultation or debate.

In Cabinet the Tories still had the votes. Sadly the one Labour abstention gave them a clear victory and saved them the humiliation of forcing their package through on the Leader’s casting vote.

The Tory arguments for rejecting a poll and the can be summarised as:-

There has been full consultation already / There are too many issues on which there was NO consultation;

The decision making process has been fair / No it hasn’t!

There would be practical problems in conducting a poll / These "Problems" were spurious and could have been resolved.

We need to get on with the job / Not if we are getting it wrong we don’t.

In steam rolling through their views against the wishes of the majority of the Council the Conservatives had made two major blunders.

Firstly, their schools reorganisation package for Wyre Forest lacks public and moral credibility. It has not been "agreed" it has been foisted on us. This could have serious implications.

Having had the majority view of the Council publicly spurned by a Cabinet dominated by a minority administration party that majority must now determine if it is simply to become a doormat upon which the administration wipes its boots or if it will now put an end to the reckless abuse of power by the minority administration.

Not only is the future of education in Wyre Forest at stake. So is the future nature of County Council governance in Wyre Forest.

Fran and I have written today to all non-Conservative Members of the County Council urging them to join us in a vote of no confidence in the Conservative "Leader" of the County Council. We will see what happens.

Tonight I am left sitting here gloomily contemplating the destruction of some very fine schools. It could have been very different. It should have been very, very different!

The Cabinet Member was duly sacked. It is a small consolation!

We are firm supporters of all our local schools which is why Liberal County Councillors try to make sure that all School Governing Bodies in the areas they represent have a full complement of Governors. There are far too many vacant places on some other Governing bodies.

Whilst we fully support the principle of inclusion which is enormously successful when fully funded and resourced. We also believe that well resourced, successful Special Schools are an integral part of our education provision and that inclusion must be properly funded and resourced in order to succeed.

We are very concerned that many local young people who wish to follow modern apprenticeships have to travel to Worcester for the college- based part of their courses. We will work with Kidderminster College of FE and the Learning and Skills Council to ensure that local young people can access the courses they need at our local college.

We are extremely concerned at the high number of local youngsters aged 16-19 who are registered by the Connexions Service as being in neither education, employment nor training. As a community we cannot afford to throw these youngsters onto the scrap heap. We will seek, in partnership, to ensure that there are more local opportunities available.

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A Strong Voice on...
SORTING OUT PAVEMENTS & ROADS...

We are horrified at the appalling state of roads and pavements across Wyre Forest. Let’s get things moving.

Let’s:

Put pressure on County Hall to get a fair share of the budget to tackle road and pavement resurfacing in Wyre Forest and bring everything up to an acceptable level.

Work with the local Highways Partnership to ensure that all potholes are reported and dealt with as a matter of urgency.

Make sure that faulty street lights are reported immediately.

Insist that street cleaning (of roads and pavements) in residential areas is carried out regularly to published schedules that are available to ALL local residents.

Make sure that highway trees are properly maintained.

Insist that the County Council fulfils its responsibilities to repair damaged railings alongside highways, in particular alongside the Kidderminster Inner Ring Road.

Make sure that water leaks onto highways are actually dealt with not left flowing for months on end.

The Highways Partnership Forum needs real power to get on with the job!

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A Strong Voice...
TO IMPROVE TRANSPORT AND TACKLE PARKING...

We all know that traffic conditions in Wyre Forest are getting worse day by day and that precious little is being done to tackle the problem.

We must have a decent full scale ‘Wyre Forest Local Transport Strategy’ to ensure that “down the road” the County Transportation Plan really works for Wyre Forest. For a start it must assist in creating jobs on the old British Sugar site on Stourport road.

We desperately need a Stourport Relief Road and we also desperately need a Kidderminster Eastern Bypass. To get traffic off local residential roads.

We have absolutely got to sort out the parking problems in Kidderminster and provide more, public, off street parking. We are delighted that the £2 million capital which has lurked for ages in the budget to do just that is going to be used to provide extra parking at last. The sooner the better!

While we are at its let’s “decriminalise” on-street parking so that the Council employs the Parking Wardens and any income from fines comes back to the Council to be reinvested in parking provision.

We also need to sort out the appalling mess created by the lack of proper signing to Weaver’s Wharf and to make sure that disabled motorists and the elderly are able to park near to the shops they actually wish to use.

The local Bus Service is now a very bad joke! We need clean, reliable and frequent buses going to the places that people want to go to at the times they want to go there! Let’s work with our partners in the “Bus Quality Partnership” to ensure that this district gets a reliable public transport system, with all vehicles being accessible by the elderly, disabled and mothers with young children. Liberal Councillors will take their positions on the Bus Quality Partnership seriously and will turn up to meetings and play an active part in its work.

Liberals alone demanded that the Tory administration on the District Council abandon its appalling plan for a 25% INCREASE in concessionary bus fare charges to OAPs. Under Liberal pressure the Tories abandoned the increase!

We have now got to look at ways of sustaining the level of our existing Concessionary Fares Scheme into the future. We are delighted that the District Council has agreed to consult users and service providers to see how this can best be done!

We need to see if a District, County or National scheme offers the best way forward!

We need to work with the County Council and the other Worcestershire Districts to see if we can take advantage of County-wide “smart ticketing” arrangements. And while we are at it let’s have “real time” traffic information at bus-stops – so you know when buses are actually coming not just when they are supposed to come!

Let’s work with the local taxi-trade, to increase availability of taxis especially vehicles designed with the disabled in mind.

Access for the disabled, mums with prams or anyone with heavy luggage travelling from Birmingham and leaving the train at Kidderminster is appalling. We must have a footbridge linking with the car park and taxi rank with lift access. What’s more we must make it possible for taxis to use the station forecourt without having to pay hundreds of pounds a year. Since the trains are so unreliable we’d better have “real time” travel information at the station too.

Let’s work with Central Trains, Chiltern Railways, Severn Valley Railway and Comberton Hill Traders to enhance Comberton Hill as a “gateway” to Kidderminster.

Let’s develop “Home Zones” or “Priority to Pedestrians” areas around local schools and work with the Highways Partnership Unit to encourage traffic calming schemes which will be part of “Safe Routes to Schools” and which will help to persuade more children to walk to school and also to walk during their leisure time. Let’s encourage the development of dedicated cycle-ways.

We want to designate one town centre car park as an easily accessible, well sign posted, overnight lorry park to get HGVs OFF residential streets. Once this is up and running we will take action against lorry drivers and owners where vehicles continue to be parked inappropriately.

We are appalled at the refusal of the Labour Government to allow money to be spent relieving Stourport’s appalling traffic problems. They obviously simply do not care about this area.

We are appalled that, while across the County, Tory Councillors are campaigning alongside residents to get traffic calming at a national level they have announced that they will spend millions getting rid of existing speed humps.

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A Strong Voice...
FOR THE ELDERLY AND DISABLED...

Nationally it was Liberals who introduced the Old Age Pension and we will continue to campaign for Pensions linked to average earnings.

Locally it was Liberals who introduced Private Sector Wardens, Community Alarms and Taxi Tokens in Wyre Forest.

Liberal Councillor Fran Oborski played a key role in devising the plan that has enabled the District Council and Wyre Forest Community Housing to continue to offer a FREE Lifeline alarm service to those already receiving it as a free scheme!

We will:

Value the ongoing contribution to our local community made by many elderly people who are an example to us all.

Seek to increase the transport support, either through taxi tokens or through a ”Transport Smart Card” for all elderly or disabled people who do not live within easy walking distance of a bus service.

Work with our major social housing partner, Wyre Forest Community Housing, to ensure that Warden and Community Alarms are available and affordable for all who need them.

Work in partnership with local disabled and elderly person’s groups to ensure that their needs and opinions are taken into consideration in all the Council’s decision making.

In partnership with Wyre Forest Community Housing ensure that Luncheon Clubs are available across the District and everyone entitled to use them is able to get transport if necessary.

Ensure that all public buildings are Disability Access compliant and have induction loops for the hearing impaired.

Ensure that all Council Publications are available in large print versions, in black on yellow print (for lack of glare) and are available in all appropriate languages for our local community.

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A Strong Voice for...
YOUNG PEOPLE...

We believe that it is vital that we involve and engage young people in their communities. That is why we were delighted to support the first ever “Worcestershire Young Stars” awards organised by the County Youth Strategy Chairs Group last year. We WERE proud of the Wyre Forest Award Winners and hope to see more in future years.

The funding of the Youth Service is a disgrace. We need far more youth workers able to run projects out in the community in the areas where young people congregate. By not funding the Youth Service adequately the County Council is contributing to social exclusion.

We will work with the Worcestershire Youth Parliament, Wyre Forest Youth Strategy Group and Citizenship Courses in local High Schools to ensure that local young people are enabled to form a District Youth Council, reporting to the Youth Strategy Group and making sure that all public decision makers are fully informed of the views of our young population.

Liberals forced the Council to put the funding for a Skateboard Park in Brinton Park into last year’s District Council budget. It’s taken time—but should be there soon!

We must make sure the “Fun Box” mobile skate park is available for use across the district.

Liberal local Councillors have played key roles in securing the Borrington Park project that now provides super new facilities for young people on the east of Kidderminster.

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A Strong Voice for...
ENVIRONMENT, PLANNING & ECONOMIC REGENERATION...

It was Liberal Councillor Fran Oborski who led the review that led to the new District Local Plan being developed. It was Liberal Councillor Mike Oborski who, as then Leader of the Council, got the town centre redevelopment, stalled by Labour, moving again. Our priorities now are:

To see the “Worcestershire Hub” operating from Kidderminster Town Hall offering a first rate single stop access to all local services!

The regeneration of the British Sugar Site for employment uses.

Development of the available land at Lea Castle for a “High Tech” Business Park.

Opposition to long standing Labour plans for a massive industrial development on land in the green belt east of the Offmore Estate.

To work in partnership with local developers to secure the regeneration of the former Georgian Carpets’ site off Stoney Lane.

The use of Section 106 Agreements to get improvements to community facilities and play areas.

The failure to get the Council into a “single site” headquarters is costing Wyre Forest Council Tax payers £250,000 a year! This must be sorted.

Liberals have been at the forefront of the campaign for redevelopment in the Horsefair and we are delighted to see work at last getting underway.

Ensure that the redevelopment of the Worcester St. Magistrates Court site provides facilities that are really needed.

Support for the regeneration of the Lichfield Basin in Stourport.

Support for the further development of the tourist industry in the District.

Support the Market Town’s Initiatives in Stourport and Bewdley.

Continue the redevelopment of Kidderminster Town Centre to provide a vibrant and exciting focus for our District.

Encourage participation in Britain in Bloom as a way of making our District more attractive.

Support the sponsorship of traffic islands and main road verges to enhance main routes into the area.

Public toilets in this District are an absolute disgrace, we are a tourist area and we must have decent facilities open at all times when visitors need them. We will work with private sector partners to provide enhanced Public Toilet facilities similar to those provided in the Wychavon area.

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A Strong Voice...
FIGHTING FOR HEALTH & HOSPITAL...

As The Guardian reported (March 9 2002) "The Kidderminster Hospital fight was first taken up by the Liberals, notably Mike Oborski" .

Local Liberal have campaigned AGAINST cuts in services at Kidderminster Hospital from the word go.

In the run up to the 1997 General Election (no NOT the last General Election - the one BEFORE when David Lock was elected) that we declared in "The Shuttle"...

"FORGET about party politics - let's simply campaign to save Kidderminster Hospital. We were told we would get a consultant maternity unit - it never happened.

We were told there was no threat to children's care - but now child medical "in patients" have to go to Worcester.

Now they are talking about closing or cutting accident and emergency services.

What next - a decline into a cottage hospital or a merger with Worcester?"

Sadly we were proved right!

Local Liberals campaigned flat out in support of the election of Dr Richard Taylor as M.P. for Wyre Forest in 2001.

We are determined to:

Continue to campaign for the return of Accident and Emergency Facilities and other key facilities to Kidderminster Hospital.

Continue to highlight the appalling delays and spiralling financial crisis at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

Call for far more routine operations to be carried out at Kidderminster.

Today we need a strong voice for health and hospital but we NOW need a strong voice across the board on all local issues!

We will continue to campaign for the reopening of the Wyre Forest Birth Centre at Kidderminster Hospital. We were furious at the sudden, arbitrary decision to close the post-natal beds as well. We are delighted that the Wyre Forest Maternity Services Plan, which is due to be produced by the Primary Care Trust is to be subjected to a Scrutiny Exercise by the County Council’s Health Scrutiny Panel. This high powered panel also has representatives of all the District Councils in Worcestershire.

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A Strong Voice...
ON REFUSE COLLECTION & RECYCLING...

It was Liberals who first introduced the “Bring Site” Recycling Scheme to Wyre Forest and it was Liberals who first introduced the Wheelie Bin refuse collection system. It was a Liberal Council Chairman who signed the first Green Charter for Wyre Forest.

We are fully committed to kerbside recycling but we are appalled that Health Concern’s lack of control of the budget has meant that their original estimate of its cost of £150,000 extra per year has rocketed to a staggering £400,000 extra per year! The current Conservative administration needs to get this under control!

We are not convinced that a fortnightly refuse collection system will be acceptable during a hot summer.

We believe that kerbside recycling ought to have been introduced alongside weekly wheelie bin collection and not with a reduction in wheelie bin collection to only a fortnightly service.

Let’s:

Bring the cost of recycling back under control

Investigate the possibility of additional refuse collections during hot weather, or at the very least reintroduce the scheme where households could purchase additional wheelie bins if necessary, as the first step towards reintroducing a weekly wheelie bin collection.

We will campaign for the introduction returnable drinks containers on which a deposit would be paid and also for a payment to be made for plastic carrier bags to encourage recycling and cut waste.

We will support an extended programme of education in to get the message across to young people that litter is a menace and recycling is essential.

We will fight to improve street cleaning and make sure that all local residents know the day on which their street is due to be cleaned. We will make sure that street cleaners come round after refuse collections not before them.

We want greater publicity to the collection facilities available for medical waste.

In particular we want to see Wyre Forest play an active part in the County Waste Minimisation Strategy and we strongly support the introduction of the proposed environmentally friendly high pressure Envosystem as an alternative to either incineration or landfill.

We want to extend kerbside recycling free of charge to local schools.

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A Strong Voice for...
LOCAL COMMUNITIES...

Kidderminster, Stourport, Bewdley and the surrounding villages share many issues and concerns but they also have their own particular specific needs and interests. We will:

Work in partnership with local Town and Parish Councils to provide appropriate facilities which will preserve the uniqueness of all our local communities.

Continue to campaign for a Town Council for a real voice for Kidderminster.

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A Strong Voice on...
COUNCIL TAX & COUNCIL FUNDING...

Liberals believe that the present system of Council Tax is completely unfair.

We believe that a system based on a Local Income Tax and or a Land tax, based on “Site Value Rating” would be far fairer.

In addition we believe that the National Non-Domestic Rates paid by businesses and industries should be set by the local council, collected by the local council and should be available for use by the local council to provide local services.

We will:

Continue to campaign for a fairer system of Local Government funding.

Push for a review Wyre Forest District Council’s expenditure based on the “zero-based budgeting” system.

Campaign to maximise the use of electronic systems to ensure that all Council Services are available via the internet.

Keep up pressure to move to a “Single Site” for main District Council Services (except the Depot) to reduce running costs and introduce efficiency savings. Seek to dispose of the Green Sttreet Depot site for redevelopment and relocate Depot facilities to an industrial estate.

We oppose the squandering of £5 million of your money “doing up County Hall”.

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A Strong Voice on...
LEISURE, CULTURAL & SPORTING ACTIVITIES...

Liberals have always supported provision for the arts and sport and have led the campaign for a cinema in Kidderminster.

Attempts to get a cinema for Kidderminster have twice been sabotaged by Labour Government Departments and Council bungling. We welcome the opening of a small private cinema.

However, let’s get it straight. Kidderminster needs a major cinema. Kidderminster wants a major cinema. Let’s get a cinema! We will work with cinema providers to attract a 4-6 screen multiplex cinema to Kidderminster either on a Council owned site or in partnership with private land-owners.

We will also:-

Seek external funding to provide an Arts Centre at Kidderminster Town Hall.

Support secure funding for Bewdley Museum and work with the Carpet Museum Trust to ensure that Kidderminster’s industrial heritage is preserved.

Upgrade our parks and play facilities so that they are fit for the 21st Century.

Ensure that dog mess bins are provided in all parks and prosecute offending owners. If the dedicated “dog walking area” which is to be provided as part of the Borrington Rd. upgrade is a success we will want to replicate it in other areas. We will also work with the County Council and School Governors to ensure that dog owners who allow their pets to foul on school playing fields are also prosecuted.

Ensure that all trees in the Council’s ownership are properly cared for and replaced when necessary.

Ensure that the Fun Box Mobile Skate Park is available to be used across the District.

Work in partnership with the Town and Parish Councils to provide local community facilities.

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A Strong Voice on...
MEETING HOUSING NEED...

We will protect the Green Belt and courage the use of previously developed “brownfield land” for housing.

We will expect all developers to contribute towards traffic calming and to the provision of educational facilities.

We expect the standard of “Anti-Social Behaviour Support” provided by Wyre Forest Community Housing to be the standard that we should expect from all Social Housing Providers who wish to work in partnership in Wyre Forest.

We will continue to provide funding for Disabled Facilities Grants and seek to develop new housing to “Lifetime Homes” Standards.

We will encourage the development of environmentally friendly housing schemes with additional solar power and water recycling facilities.

We will insist that Councillors play a full, active part in the Tenant’s Consultative Committees in their Wards.

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