Some 18 months ago I wrote a list of key issues for the ward (see below) - it was great to see how many of them have moved forward even since then - infact in my recent newsletter that I've delivered to all the ward in the last few weeks I revisited some of the 2006 pledges I made - see here - thanks to those who have been sending in comments or questions. Anyway rather than delete those key issues I thought I would post below....
gives a flavour of some of the local projects I have been working on
over the last years as a local District Councillor. Please do let
me know if you have any comments or thoughts. Many of these projects
would not have been possible without the support and involvement of
Now that I have been reelected I will be continuing to work on these and other issues. See my thank you letter to local voters here.
1. Protection of the Ruscombe Valley, Randwick fields and other key unsuitable development sites. In
2004 local residents were angered by news that a landbanking company
had bought three large fields in the Ruscombe Valley and sub-divided
them into 184 house-size plots - see background here.
The Ruscombe Valley Action Group (RVAG) was formed and we met regularly
to campaign against any possible developments. There were a few
successes like stopping the field being sub-divided by fences, getting
the issue raised nationally and there was cross-party agreement that no
development should take place.The District Council has been going
through various consultations over the last years - see here my latest blog with news regarding the fields.
Names have also come forward in Randwick but we are still seeking a
suitable site. If anyone is interested contact the Parish Clerk.
Ruscombe Brook Action Group
which has met monthly and been involved locally in many projects
including public seminars, talks at local schools, work with university
students who were looking at water quality and testing the silt, direct
action to clear the brook, an awareness raising leaflet (see photo) and
negotiations to see reductions in sewage incidents - see 2007 article here, 2009 brief report here and see here
Water 21 who were particularly helpful in helping us develop our
understanding of the issues. We are delighted that there are now very
few sewage incidents - and over the last months relining the sewer has
started - at last!!! See here for other projects along the brook including the new culvert and grill to reduce flooding at Puckshole.
4. Better flood management.
In 2009 I initiated the forming of the Stroud Valleys Water Forum which
meets bi-monthly at Ebley Mill. It is a forum for the four local
flood/brook action groups and individuals concerned with flooding. We
have met with many key people including Severn Trent, the Environment Agency and our MPs to develop an holistic flood management approach - see here.
Basically we need to put an end to those of us upstream dumping on
those downstream. Too often the approach in the past to flooding would
be larger culverts to get the water away quicker but this only sends the
water on to those downstream often adding to flooding problems. My
interests in water extend beyond just the brook group above and this
forum - I am Stroud District Council's representative on the Customer
Liaison Panel of Wessex Water - you can see the issues I raised by
and scrolling down. You will also see on my blog considerable work
around trying to promote Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems - see here.
the alternatives. My blog carries reports of the considerable
correspondence and actions to try and ensure that incineration is not
part of the County's solutions to our waste. Paul Connetts talk
is a good place to start (see right a photo of Green party District
councillors signing opposing an incinerator). I have also been working
on ways to increase our recycling rates. Food waste collection is a
priority: see Green proposals for AD here. I am disappointed that Stroud's lead in recycling has dropped significantly. We can and should be doing much more.
here. I have also researched best practice in terms of traffic management and in 2005 wrote a well-received report entitled "Better Streets for Stroud District." See also article in Resurgence
that is a useful summary of the approach which is gaining credibility. I
helped organise a seminar at the District Council to increase awareness
of this important approach.
improvements to cycling, better bus services, campaigning for the doubling of the rail line and helping lead a three year campaign to get a bus shelter.
here and here;
these have also led to a ground-breaking Energy Strategy for the
District Council which is set to be approved this month. It is only a
small step although many were surprised to see the recommendations were
accepted at all. I have also initiated and coordinated the hugely
successful Eco Renovation Open Homes
weekends to encourage people to take more energy efficiency and
renewable measures. This is now in it's fourth year and has seen many
hundreds of visits to local homes like the one pictured. Many people
value the chance to talking to others about the options before embarking
on an eco-renovation. See my report of the first year here. I also initiated the project to make Energy Monitors available in libraries
to help people cut their energy use. I have also pushed measures within
the District Council and have seen successes like the pool cover at
Stratford Park Leisure Centre and ensuring sustainability is a key issue
in any new leisure services contract. We need more urgency to tackling
these issues - there are many opportunities. If for example the Council
borrowed money to invest in renewables, we could pay back the loan with
money saved from fuel costs. Such moves make economic and environmental
sense, we just need the political will to make it happen! I am
increasingly optimistic that we might develop a significant project
Hedgehog Hospital, worked with a local badger group and helping develop the Stroud-based Global Bee Project to protect solitary bees - see for example here. I have opposed cuts to organisations like the Stroud Valleys Project that involve so many local people in important projects locally.
a wood fuel project in Randwick woods, initiating a Potato Day for Stroud, improved Broadband services, expanding the use of the Stroud Pound, street parties and more apple juicing in a local orchard with hopes of setting up a community orchard.
have also been involved in local actions regarding our public services
like libraries, post offices and health services. Working for a charity
that supports people with mental health problems and previous work as a
Social Worker have made me acutely aware of the importance of local
public services - as I said in a letter to the press "Churchill, Gandhi and Truman have all said we can judge a society by how it treats its most vulnerable members." Issues
of equality are crucial and I have supported many local groups and
organised projects like flying the Rainbow flag on Ebley Mill on
Gloucestershire's Gay Pride day.
My blog has lots more
info like various petitions, the successful opposition to arts funding
cuts, the campaign against Staverton Airport expanding or the attempts
to stop another nuclear plant being built at Oldbury, plus more local
stuff like seeking improvements to road gullies and grit bins, supporting locals regarding planning issues (some successful and some not so!) and larger planning issues locally like Tricorn House and Cashes Green Hospital site. Read my blog for more!