"We will build a Britain that rewards hard work, not just privilege, and ensures the next generation does better than the last".
Photograph C/O Derbyshire Times — with Ben Bellamy, Tony Holmes, Christopher Emmas-Williams, David Alan Williams, Sheila Oakes, Mick Wilson, Keith Venables, Gail Dolman, Ann Jones and Judy Mallaber.
Amber Valley Labour Group are opposing the closure of the town centre bureau's in Alfreton, Heanor and Belper.
please click on the link to Download/print off and sign the form which is to be returned to The Leader, Amber Valley Labour Group, Town Hall. Ripley DE53BT.
By the 9th September 2016.
Not one Tory MP or minister has mentioned the report today that shows UK workers are joint bottom with Greece on wages. Wonder why:
Sheffield City Region’s proposal that Chesterfield become part of the South Yorkshire region could threaten the future of Derbyshire as we know it.
You have until August 12 to have your say. Find out more about the proposals and how to have your say here: http://derbyshirelabour.co.uk/2016/07/labour-says-keep-derbyshire-together/
Leave your message of condolence
Labour supporting Belper's Save our NHS campaign
Labour Group Leader Paul Jones has stepped down, due to his commitments at Derbyshire County Council.
Paul,who has been Leader of the Council 1999/2000 and 2014/15 and deputy Council Leader 1995-1999, made the announcement at last weeks group meeting.
He is succeeded by his deputy Chris Emmas -Williams
Amber Valley General Fund reserves.
The FACT is
you cannot afford to vote Conservative
Leader - Cllr Chris Emmas-Williams
Deputy Leader - Cllr Tony Holmes
Chair - Cllr Isobel Harry
Secretary - Cllr Sheila Oakes
"A new ICM poll shows that the Labour party has drawn neck and neck with the Tories for the first time under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. And it appears this fall in support for the Conservative party may be down to its divisions over June’s EU referendum.
The two parties now stand at around 36% of voting intentions each, according to this poll. Labour has increased its share by 4%, while support for the Conservatives has fallen by 3% since December."....
Greater Heanor County Councillor Paul Jones presenting his community fund cheque to Salcare at Heanor to help them continue to support the former employees of Leaderflush. Something that Borough Councillors cannot do because the Tory council scrapped the scheme when they took control in May 2015. — at Heanor Salcare.
25 January 2016
TRIBUTES FOR FORMER DERBYSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL CHAIRMAN
Tributes have been paid to former Derbyshire County Council Chairman Joe Heathcote who has died.
Mr Heathcote, who passed away aged 93, served on the county council from 1964 to 1993 representing the old Alfreton No.2 Division, now known as Somercotes Division.
He was deputy leader from 1981-1990 and was Derbyshire County Council Chairman from 1991-1993.
Mr Heathcote clocked up over 50 years in local government, both as a councillor and as clerk to Somercotes Parish Council.
Councillor Paul Smith, Deputy Leader of Derbyshire County Council, said: “To serve for over 50 years in local government is an impressive achievement which few will match. Joe’s tireless work was of huge benefit to the local community.
“When I was elected on to Derbyshire County Council in 1996, Joe had already stepped down from his role with the authority – but he was still around to offer support, advice and guidance.
“Joe knew the role like the back of his hand and it was great to have someone of his vast experience to be able to call on.
“It was fitting that he was Chairman of Derbyshire County Council for his final two years on the authority.”
Mr Heathcote leaves daughters, Mavis and Susan, and a son, Kevin.
A funeral service will take place at 1pm on Wednesday 10 February at Somercotes Parish Church followed by refreshments at Somercotes Village Hall.
Tories Sounding 'Death Knell' For Affordable Housing, Says Labour
The Huffington Post UK | By Ned Simons
The Conservative government is sounding the "death knell for social housing," the Labour Party has warned.
On Tuesday MPs will debate the Housing Bill. Shadow housing minister John Healey said the legislation showed the government had "washed its hands of fixing our housing crisis".
Writing for The Huffington Post UK, he said: "It's the most extreme and extraordinary assault on affordable homes in a generation. Shelter predict the Bill will lead to 180,000 fewer affordable homes to rent and to buy over five years.
"Housing is fast becoming the starkest example of David Cameron's unbalanced Britain. Where families of ordinary means increasingly find that a decent home is out of their reach, and with a yawning gap between the haves and the have-nots."
He added: "The Bill sounds the death knell for social housing.
"Housing is fast becoming the starkest example of David Cameron's unbalanced Britain. Where families of ordinary means increasingly find that a decent home is out of their reach, and with a yawning gap between the haves and the have-nots."
On Sunday, David Cameron announced around a hundred of the UK's worst sink estates could be bulldozed to make way for better homes as part of a blitz on poverty.
The prime minister pledged that "brutal high-rise towers" and "bleak" housing will be "torn down" in an effort to tackle drug abuse and gang culture.
Making a bid for the political centre ground Tories believe has been abandoned by Jeremy Corbyn, Cameron said decades of neglect of estates were behind the riots that swept Britain in 2011.
The £140 million redevelopment programme is to be overseen by Lord Heseltine, who helped to transform the Liverpool and London docks in the 1980s.
AMBER VALLEY LABOUR GROUP PRESS RELEASE
LABOUR DEMAND COUNCIL LEADERS RESIGNATION AFTER TORY POLITICAL DECISION SPELLS DISASTER FOR AMBER VALLEY AS CORE STRATEGY IS WITHDRAWN AT LAST MINUTE
Cllr Chris Emmas-Williams, Labour shadow Deputy Leader has demanded the resignation of Amber Valley Borough Council Leader Cllr Alan Cox after the last minute withdrawal of the Council’s Core Strategy days before it was due to go before an Inspector
Cllr Emmas-Williams said ‘What a total mess the Tories have made once again in our Borough. This is the second time in two years that they have made disastrous decisions to the major planning vehicle for our next generation. When the plan was first presented the Inspector suspended the hearing because of their incompetence and now with the resumption of the hearings of the Amber Valley Local Plan Part 1 Core Strategy due to commence on Tuesday ( 15th December) next week they have had to be cancelled because the authority cannot now once again demonstrate a 5 year supply of housing land. The Tories have buried their head in the sand, removing sites purely on political grounds and despite being told by the Labour opposition that the figures that they were using were unsound since last July they have ridiculed our stance. At the last working party group meeting in early November Labour members once again questioned the 5 year supply numbers as they had changed five times in the last two weeks and were told by the Tories that they could guarantee with 100% confidence that the figures were accurate.’
' We have returned back to the ‘smoke and mirrors’ game that ex Leader Cllr Bradford used which is disastrous for the planning process and despite the comments by Conservative Cllr Alan Cox the Borough is now at the mercy of planners and developers who will get applications approved on appeal due to their total incompetence. For that reason I am asking Cllr Alan Cox to consider his position as Leader of the Council, as well as Chair of Planning, because it is through his lack of judgement and blatant political interference in the process that our green spaces are at the mercy of aggressive developers.’
For further information contact Cllr Chris Emmas-Williams on 07771751409
Local Plan Part 1 Core Strategy Submission
The new Amber Valley Local Plan Part 1 Core Strategy, which sets out a spatial strategy and key planning policies for development in the Borough until 2028, was originally submitted to the Secretary of State on the 20th December 2013.
The Local Plan covers everything from new homes and jobs to retail and leisure facilities, transport and local services, energy and the environment. It aims to make sure the new homes, jobs and services required by communities are located in the most sustainable places. It will also deliver the infrastructure, facilities and other development needed to make this possible. In addition, it identifies strategic sites where the Council expects the most significant developments to take place.
Tories Lies and Hypocrisy
Following last nights Full Council meeting ,at which the proposal to support Whole Council elections was rejected. the Tory group issued a press release criticising the Labour group for not supporting the proposal by saying it will result in the loss of £250,000 of savings between 2019-2023.
In response to this criticism Labour Group leader Paul Jones stated
The statement issued by the Conservative Group on Amber Valley following the Council meeting is just a cheap political stunt and has very little bearing in fact.
The Leadership of the Labour Group had informed the Leader of the Council two weeks ago that there was insufficient support within the Labour group for this item to be approved yet he persisted in having the meeting wasting money on printing the reports , officer and member time. Hardly, the action of someone so concerned over making savings.
In respect of the claim that Amber Valley is out of step with other Councils in its election cycle the following facts are taken from the report that went to Council listing the number of other Councils which do not have a four yearly election cycle.
36 Metropolitan district councils: elections by thirds
68 two-tier district councils: elections by thirds
7 two-tier district councils: election by halves every two years
17 single-tier (unitary) district councils: elections by thirds
The sheer hypocrisy of Cllr Alan Cox's comment about saving money is laughable. Cllr Alan Cox and his group voted against a similar proposal put forward by Labour, when we were in control of the Council, on 2nd March 2015 which would have saved £235,000 from May 2016-2019 and the additional £250,000 between 2019-2023 a total of £475,000. The Conservative proposal would only have become effective from 2019 and saved £250,000. I think the question for Cllr Alan Cox is why did he voted against making saving of £475,000 only 10 months ago
The views of the public are very important in making these decisions and the fact that the views of the public of those 23 organisations contacted 69% were either against or failed to respond Not a ringing public endorsement of the proposals
Therefore we felt that there is a lack of demonstrable public support for the proposals and that the savings proposed were less than the previous proposal they voted against and need to be made now NOT in 2019
Jeremy Corbyn has written to President Hollande to convey his deepest sympathy for those caught up in the attacks in Paris
Veteran left-wing Labour MP dies, forcing 1st by-election challenge for Corbyn
Prominent Jeremy Corbyn supporter Michael Meacher MP has died at the age of 75, forcing the first by-election test for the new Labour leader.The veteran Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton died after a “short illness,” his office manager told the Oldham Evening Chonicle on Wednesday. Colleagues within the Labour Party offered their condolences to the former shadow cabinet minister on Twitter.
If there's one thing that you can be absolutely sure of, it's that Conservatives have a burning ideological hatred of the concept of socialised healthcare.
Derbyshire County Council spending £500,000 to tackle food poverty
Its what a Labour Council does
More than half-a-million pounds is being spent by Derbyshire County Council to help tackle food poverty in the region.
The figure of £528,550, paid for out of the public health fund, is being used to find sustainable solutions to food poverty.
These include the provision of a Fareshare store for fresh produce.
Other projects include support for breakfast clubs, community kitchens and social supermarkets.
The latter sell rejected supermarket food, which might be incorrectly labelled or have damaged packaging.
'Moral case'A spokeswoman for the council said: "The reason we've made the decision to tackle food poverty using public health money is because a lack of proper nutrition affects physical and mental health.
"In the long term this will cause huge pressures on health and social care costs - so there is an economic as well as a moral case for us to take preventative action to address the issue."
The authority said it had also set up funding pots to help food banks deal with rising demand.
On Friday, a new food bank opened in Sawley, bringing the total number in the county to 23.
Another food bank in Matlock is also offering a delivery service to help residents who would otherwise face paying more in transport costs to use the service.
The exact number of people using food banks is not known but the Trussell Trust, the biggest network of food banks in the UK, said it helped to feed hundreds of thousands of people a year.
Labour leadership: At-a-glance guide to the contenders
Jeremy Corbyn tops Labour constituency vote in leadership bid
Jeremy Corbyn is the most popular candidate for Labour leader among local constituency groups, according to the latest party nomination figures.
He is backed by 152 constituency parties, with Andy Burnham in second place with 111, then Yvette Cooper with 106 and Liz Kendall with 18.
The supporting nominations have no weight in the vote but give an insight into the views of active party members.
Mr Corbyn also has the backing of the UK's two largest trade unions.
Amber Valley Labour Group Press Release
By just 2 votes at last nights Full Council meeting Amber Valley Tories have agreed to consult on increasing the number of houses proposed under the Council's unadopted 'Core Strategy ' by an additional 701 houses.
In an act of blatant political opportunism they have removed 2 proposed sites in the Tory heartlands of Kedleston and Belper and are looking for additional housing to be built in the predominant Labour eastern side of the Borough to make up the shortfall.
Deputy Labour Group Leader Chris Emmas-Williams said after the meeting ' Its amazing, the one chance the Tories had to get a Core Strategy in front of the inspector and they have blown it. The Borough is now more vulnerable than it has ever been to planning by appeal thanks totally to their political ends, this was demonstrated in Crich this week when permission to build over 100 houses was approved on appeal. By taking Kedleston Road and the Bullsmoor site at Belper out there has to be another 6 weeks minimum consultation which gives the biggest ever opportunity to developers to get their applications approved as the Borough Council cannot demonstrate that there is a 5 year housing supply.'
For further information please contact on 0771 751409
Tory Leader, Alan Cox, refused to deny that the Tories are looking to provide a new Council Chamber within the existing main council offices.
Tory Deputy Leader ,David Wilson, was forced to apologise at the Full Council meeting last night after making an inappropriate remark to Labour member John McCcabe ,who said 'In 27 years on the Council he had never been spoken to in that manner'
Tory deputy Leader,David Wilson, denied at last nights Full Council meeting that the Tories were committed to delivering free garden waste collection to ever household in Amber Valley despite them promising to do so in their election leaflets. Lies, damn lies and the Tory party will promise anything to get elected.
Tories force through increase of 700 houses to be built in Amber Valley by just 2 votes
At last night's Council meeting (15th July) the Tory group exposed their own naked self interest by forcing through by just two votes taking out two site in the western side of the Borough on the basis the brownfield sites,mainly in the eastern side of the borough, can make up the shortfall. The Tories have agreed to an additional 701 houses in addition to the previous number proposed by Labour under the core strategy for houses in Amber Valley.
Labour retains grip on Derby City Council
After the Group AGM the following positions were approved
Leader Paul Jones
Deputy Leader Chris Emmas Williams
Housing and Public Health Tony Holmes
Environment John McCabe
Community Safety Isobel Harry
The Labour Party Manifesto 2015
Ed Miliband has launched our election manifesto. It’s a manifesto for the working people of Britain: a plan to secure the nation’s finances so we can reward hard work, share prosperity and improve family finances.
This manifesto is our commitment to make Britain better for you, for your family, for your community.
AVBC have placed this report on its website:-
The Council’s Car Park, Cromford Road, Ripley
At a Full Meeting of Amber Valley Borough Council on 15 December 2010, consideration was given to a confidential report proposing the ‘marketing’ of the Central Headquarters, as part of a strategic review of the operations of the Council in response to challenging current and future financial circumstances. It was resolved that the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Leader:
agree a marketing strategy for the disposal of the Central Headquarters;
appoint a surveyors company to deliver that strategy; and
report back to Council on the outcome of the strategy, with the final decision on the disposal of the Central Headquarters being a matter for the Council
Although the Headquarters has not been formally marketed in recent years, the Council regularly receives and considers approaches from potential purchasers.
A Full Meeting of Amber Valley Borough Council took place on 25 March 2015, at which 44 of the Council’s elected members were present. The agenda for the meeting, which had been published in advance and placed on the Council’s website, included an item entitled, ‘Central Headquarters’. The paper for this item was not made publically available because it contained information relating to the financial or business affairs of an interested party and the Council.
At the start of the meeting the Councillors were asked to determine which of the agenda items, if any, should be taken with the public excluded. It was resolved, without any objections, that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the business set out in the item entitled, ‘Central Headquarters’. This was on the grounds that the report involved the likely disclosure of information relating to the financial or business affairs of an interested party and the Council and that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.
The minutes of the meeting, that were published and made available on the Council’s website soon after, state that consideration was given to a confidential report regarding the Central Headquarters and that it was resolved that the open market value be noted in respect of the disposal of the land at Cromford Road, Ripley, shown edged red on the plan at Appendix 1 to the Officer’s report, and that Council expresses its views in advance of Cabinet making the final decision on any disposal.
A meeting of the Council’s Cabinet took place on 8 April 2015 and the agenda, which had been published in advance and placed on the Council’s website, included an item entitled, ‘Central Headquarters’. The paper for this item was not made publically available because it contained information relating to the financial or business affairs of an interested party and the Council.
At the start of the meeting the Cabinet Members were asked to determine which of the agenda items, if any, should be taken with the public excluded. It was resolved that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the business set out in the item entitled, ‘Central Headquarters’. This was on the grounds that the report involved the likely disclosure of information relating to the financial or business affairs of an interested party and the Council and that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.
The minutes of the meeting, that were published and made available on the Council’s website soon after, state that consideration was given to a confidential report regarding the Central Headquarters building, the base for Amber Valley Borough Council. Further written information provided by the Executive Director (Operations) prior to the meeting was considered by members.
The minutes refer to the Council having received an offer in respect of the land at Cromford Road, Ripley, shown edged red on the plan attached at Appendix 1 to the Officer’s report, on the terms set out in the report and it was resolved that the disposal of the car park for the Council Offices at Cromford Road, Ripley be approved and the Executive Director (Resources), in consultation with the Leader of the Council, be authorised to negotiate the terms of the disposal. The reason for this decision was that it would release a Council asset, to generate a capital receipt to support the Council’s Capital Programme.
No sale has been agreed and no disposal will take place unless the Executive Director (Resources), in consultation with the Leader of the Council, is satisfied with the terms. This includes being satisfied that the Council gets the best value from the deal and that concerns about staff and public car parking are addressed effectively.
Any issues associated with a future development of the land would be addressed through the planning process.
What more of an endorsement could Labour hope for? - only the genius that is Professor Stephen Hawking!!!
Tory purchase of Field Lane land could have meant "town’s trade would ‘die a death’
Stepping into the newsagent on King Street this week my eye was caught by local newspaper headlines where a Tory Councillor was accusing Labour of planning to ruin Ripley's town centre by selling off a car park and of hatching this evil plan in secret. I immediately thought of Mandy Rice Davies and her famous quote, "He would, wouldn't he". (For the more youthful of those reading this blog I suggest this link: Mandy Rice Davies ) As we run into the election we can expect more of such mischief from the Tories. I personally don't like such negative tactics but as this has been deemed so vitally important by the Belper News I think it fair to respond to these Tory claims. So here goes:
Tory Car Park Follies:
When the Tories were in control of Amber Valley Borough Council they spent £1,600,000 on purchasing land on which they proposed building a new leisure centre. The plans which are still available on the AVBC website (try this link: AVBC press release from 2011 ) would have meant a drastic reduction in the size of the Field Lane car park, probably losing over 90 spaces. We should not forget that the Tories had already lost half of the Green Lane car park capacity so under the Tories the number of car park spaces that directly serve King Street shops would have been reduced from 400 to 200. Yet another example of Tory hypocrisy. If you follow the link that I have provided you will find further links to the plans that show in detail the adverse effect on parking spaces.
Whilst we are looking at the Field Lane purchase I cannot resist sharing with you this amazing interview with the BBC in 2011 where a leading Tory Councillor states that the council did not have the money to complete the new leisure centre project but thought it a good idea to rush ahead with the acquisition so as to "avoid VAT" ( the link to Tory Councillor BBC interview).
I am particularly amused , if that is the right word, by this gentleman's comment that, "Our next step will be to establish funding opportunities to build the facility itself, and then to meet the future leisure needs of the people of Belper and surrounding areas.".
I took this photograph on Friday; this is how far the Tory plan has progressed in the last 4 years; a fenced off bit of ground that cost tax payers £1.6 million, an expenditure made in a town that already had a leisure centre that was in urgent need of investment. Why didn't they spend the money on our existing facilities?
But what about the accusation of secrecy?
This has to be the most scurrilous example of negative election tactics as I think back to last year and the "New Council Offices for Belper Shock" headline that never made it into the Belper News or onto the BBC News. Yes, local Belper Tories met in secret for several months on a plan to spend the Town Council reserves on the purchase of new premises to house it's three part time office staff. We will never know how much this would have cost nor how much was actually spent in time, energy and legal advice as none of these details were ever made public. It is obvious that the plan was yet another Tory folly as when it was voted upon by the full Belper Town Council it was rejected. However, that vote was held in secret, the euphemism being that the vote was held in camera. None of this was reported in any media but if the Tories can gain column inches and airtime for such blatant propaganda just before an election their own track record and obvious hypocrisy should also be a matter for public scrutiny.
So why is Labour thinking about selling off the Ripley car park?
This interests me so after a little bit of research I came up with what I think must be the reason. Between 2009 and 2014 the budget of Amber Valley Council has been cut by 42%. I found this out here: Annual Financial Statement 2014. We still await the statement for 2015 but we have already been warned that the budget for last year was yet again hit by Tory cuts, losing another £960,000. The forecast for 2015/16 being a further £1 million pounds. Faced with such huge cuts on a budget currently somewhere around £12 million is it any wonder that the borough council is looking for ways of avoiding cuts to essential services.
The comparison between Labour and Conservative financial wisdom could not be more clear. Labour tries to raise money to safeguard the fabric of our society whilst Tories squander our taxes on farcical projects that are not needed and have no hope of ever being completed.
Lies, dam lies and Amber Valley Tories- re Cromford Road Car Park
It is evident from the front page of the local Tory press that nothing will stop the Conservatives trying to get a news story where one does not exist based on something which is a lie and a smear But then again it is an election period.
It is disappointing, however, that due to sloppy journalism and the need to create a sensational story to stop a sliding readership the Ripley and Heanor News have printed on their front page such a story which is nothing less than a bare face lie despite being told all the details by the Leader of the Council which the paper omitted to print.They obviously chose to ignore the truth as it did not fit in with their sensationialised front page story.
For the benefit of clarity here is the TRUTH
So the Ripley and Heanor has used a baseless story to support the Tory message during the election in the full knowledge that the Council is unable to respond with the truth.
This is the same paper which has never mentioned the success of the new labour administration is removing over 1000 houses from the Greenbelt between Ripley and Codnor .
A letter from businesses asking the government for tax cuts is getting a lot of publicity today.Make sure working people are heard too —
May 22nd wiped away 14 years of Tory incompetence and could not have been achieved without the support of our army of volunteers.
The Labour group would like to pass on their thanks to you all and see you next Saturday at the celebration bash.
New Amber Valley Borough Council leader Paul Jones is settling into his top job and knows he has a tough task ahead as the authority grapples with spending cuts.
But he also has plans for economic growth for the borough, including an ambitious plan to extend the Nottingham tram system into Amber Valley.
This week Cllr Jones spoke in detail about the future for the borough under Labour rule after his party wrestled control of the council from the Tories after 14 years.
Cllr Jones is the only council leader to have been in post in two different centuries, and two different millennia.
He was previously leader in 1999 when the council was last Labour led.
His party has a slim majority of just two seats after the local elections in May.
He said: “It has been a long time coming. I am excited, exhilarated, and also apprehensive to take on the challenges that lie ahead, but I am more than ready.”
He has kick-started his term in office by proposing several ways for the council to review budgets and streamline spending, after the announcement of severe council budget cuts, which are affecting all local authorities.
And it comes as Derbyshire County Council, also now Labour run, is slashing its budget by £157 million as it faces ‘unrelenting’ government cuts to its funding due to the recession.
Cllr Jones, who as well as being leader of the council represents the Heanor ward, and is also a county councillor for the Greater Heanor area, which includes Aldercar and Langley Mill.
The leader is set to carry out an independent review of borough council spending in September to evaluate the structure and effectiveness of the current system.
He said: “I aim to change the priorities of the council and get them thinking outside of the box, in order for Derbyshire to deal with the cuts. The income stream is drying up and we need to look at different ways of approaching things.
The Labour group is looking to increase economic regeneration, including transportation, by working with neighbouring authorities.
“Economic growth is important, and I believe the most proactive way of tackling this is by discussing the sharing of services with areas of mutual development,” said Cllr Jones.
“We have aspirations to extend the tram system from Broxtowe, Nottingham, into our neck of the woods. This would greatly improve transportation links.”
Cllr Jones is also keen to cut down youth unemployment.
He said: “I have been in talks with businesses at Heanor Gate Industrial Estate, and local colleges regarding setting up apprenticeships for school children. Lets get them into the workplace and doing something they are passionate about.”
He also stressed one of his priorities would be to tackle regeneration in towns such as Heanor.
“Heanor is a great place but it needs work. It used to be a market town, but after closures throughout the recession it needs to be injected with a new lease of life.
“We need to increase footfall and attract people to the town rather than just pass through it on their way to a city centre.
The councillor who is married with two sons, added: “I am born and bred in Heanor, and am committed to trying to improve the town by working with local traders and businesses. I welcome any suggestions on how else this could be done in Heanor and other local towns.”
LEADER’S ARTICLE FOR PROGRESS MAGAZINE
Council Leader Paul Jones wrote the following article for the progress online magazine
Council Leader wrote the following article for progress online
The difference a Labour council can make
Largely unnoticed by the national media, obsessed as ever by the London results, the former mining area of Amber Valley in Derbyshire went Labour for the first time in 14 years at last month’s local elections.
The impact of the Labour victory was obvious to everyone present, not least the sitting Tory MP whose parting comments to the local media about his own position that ‘it was hard to be confident’ about next year’s general election summed up what we all knew about the Tories in Amber Valley.
The seeds of our victory were laid last summer. Week in and week out, with only a short break over Christmas, local party members and our candidate, Kevin Gillott, were out on the doorstep campaigning. Door knocking and listening to people really does make a difference. And it was from our conversations on the doorstep that our programme and priorities were shaped. The issue raised were round public services, toilets, dog fouling and car parking – those mundane things that are important to people.
Just as importantly, they said that they felt powerless to change things. The centralisation of power that started in the 1970s has gone too far and is undermining our democracy. Local government is a shadow of what it used to be when I first came into politics and what power we do have is so governed by rules and codes that little local discretion remains. House building in particular has been a major issue in Amber Valley as the last Tory administration tried to force upon communities massive new housing developments. Yes, we have to build more houses, but if you change the nature of communities in the process, destroying their sense of identity, you only feed that sense of powerlessness.
Our manifesto was not as ambitious as in previous years due to the damning effect of the cuts to local government funding streams by the coalition government and 14 years of outsourcing by the previous Tory administration. Like most authorities, Amber valley took the ‘Pickles gold’ and as a consequence have a declining council tax base, which is only storing up problems to be faced three years down the line – something confirmed by the LGA who we are working with to make the council more effective and efficient. We have started a with a programme of changing the priorities of the previous administration within our existing budgets and working with our Labour county council colleagues to share resources and facilities as well working with neighbouring authorities over the county boundary to develop shared regeneration areas along the Derbyshire – Nottinghamshire border, including the potential for a tram system.
At our first meeting we created a community fund for the 11 most deprived areas in the council, which happen by coincidence to be predominately Labour seats. We have also reduced the number of cabinet posts to demonstrate our commitment to efficiency. And we have agreed to support the bicentenary of the ‘Pentrich Revolution’, which has been referred to as England’s last revolution, promoting radical Labour history and using it as a basis to promote tourism. We will be working with the local, regional and national ‘green energy’ companies to promote an annual environmental fair, cancelled by the Tories 14 years previously.
This community has seen off a strong British National party challenge in earlier elections. We used our control of the local town and parish councils along with the control of the county council to demonstrate that we are not all the same.
Finally, on a topical note, the company who developed the goal line technology for the world cup is based in Amber Valley at Heanor and hopefully we can build on hi-tech industries to help drive the local economy forward with quality, high-skilled jobs for a former coal mining area.
LIBERALS NO LONGER A LOCAL PARTY IN AMBER VALLEY
Although the Liberal Democrats have not been a force in Amber Valley for a number of years they still seemed to be able to have a local connection to the areas they were standing in. However, that seems to be a things of the past looking at their nominations for the May 22nd elections. Out of 16 Liberal Democrats nominated only 2 actually live in or near to the area they are standing in.
LABOUR COME SECOND IN DELAYED ELECTION
Labour came a very credible second in the delayed election in Swanwick last night .Tory 474 (36.93%)Labour 298 (22.90%)Ind 252 (19.36%)UKIP 245 (18.83%)LD 32 ( 0.24%)Council Leader Paul Jones said ‘ This is a seat we would not have expected to win so coming second is a good performance by the labour team in that area and gives us something to build on for the general election ‘
DATE JUNE 27, 2014
Alfreton (pre election party – LAB) votes cast – 2040 of 6350 = 32.13 %
WALKER (LAB) (E)
John 1113 BENT (UKI)
Stuart 573 MOSS (CON)
Kat 301 JELF (LBD)
Belper East (pre election party – CON) votes cast – 1539 of 4736 = 32.50 %
TOMLINSON (CON) (E)
Martin 584 BROUGHTON (LAB)
Alan Thomas 534 SNAPE (UKI)
Roy Wilford 344 SMITH (LBD)
Belper South (pre election party – CON) votes cast – 1694 of 4564 = 37.12 %
JOHNSEN (LAB) (E)
Erik 629 BOOTH (CON)
Daniel Joseph 481 FISHER (UKI)
David Edgar 445 BENSON (LBD)
Jeremy Richard 126
Codnor & Waingroves (pre election party – LAB) votes cast – 1403 of 3903 = 35.95 %
HARRY (LAB) (E)
Isobel 586 FOX (UKI)
Ann 395 EDWARDS-MILSOM (CON)
Linda 347 EDWARDS (BNP)
Alan 39 WHITEHEAD (LBD)
Duffield (pre election party – CON) votes cast – 1824 of 4027 = 45.29 %
SHORT (CON) (E)
Chris 930 MOUNTAIN (LAB)
Patrick William 424 YOUNG (UKI)
John William 298 SALMON (LBD)
Richard Alan 164
Heage and Ambergate (pre election party – LAB) votes cast – 1744 of 4069 = 42.86 %
FARRELLY (LAB) (E)
David 734 TAYLOR (CON)
Valerie Joan 561 STEVENS (UKI)
Julliette Nicola 371 BRADLEY (LDB)
Heanor & Loscoe (pre election party – LAB) votes cast – 1418 of 4124 = 34.38 %
LONGDON (LAB) (E)
Heather 571 ADWINCKLE (UKI)
Geoff 487 WHITMORE (CON)
Julie 319 WELSBY (LBD)
Heanor East (pre election party – LAB) votes cast – 1574 of 4695 = 33.53 %
AISTROP (LAB) (E)
Barrie Roy 674 PATCHETT (UKI)
Dave 440 GRAINGER (CON)
Steven 408 BEDFORD (LBD)
Heanor West (pre election party – LAB) votes cast – 1549 of 4778 = 32.42 %
JONES (LAB) (E)
Paul 623 CLIFFORD (UKI)
Ken 501 BURRREL (CON)
Mark 355 WHITWORTH (LBD)
Ironville & Riddings (pre election party – LAB) votes cast – 1751 of 4675 = 37.45 %
SMITH (LAB) (E)
Paul James 837 BROWN (CON)
Jack Watson 557 JOHNSON (UKI)
Pam 313 SMITH (LBD)
Kilburn, Denby & Holbrook (pre election party – CON) votes cast – 2450 of 6353 = 38.56 %
AINSWORTH (CON) (E)
Trevor mark 995 BANKS (LAB)
John Philllip 733 ROSE (UKI)
Philip Sanders 617 SITUNAYAKE (LBD)
Langley Mill & Aldercar (pre election party – LAB) votes cast – 1223 of 4184 = 29.23 %
HAMILTON (LAB) (E)
Eileen 529 CHAPMAN (UKI)
Kenneth William 366 WHITMORE (CON)
Stephen Peter 289 TOMKINS (LBD)
Ripley (pre election party – CON) votes cast – 2502 of 7097 = 35.25 %
EMMAS-WILLIAMS (LAB) (E)
Roland 951 ASHTON (CON)
Ron 783 SMITH (UKI)
Garry Alan 612 COOPER (BNP)
Ken 80 GIBBONS (LBD)
Paul Robin 70
Shipley Park, Horsley and Horsley Woodhouse (pre election party – CON) votes cast – 1875 of 4706 = 39.84 %
ILIFFE (CON) (E)
Richard Henry 795 NATHAN (UKI)
Adrian William 525 HOLDEN (LAB)
Steve 444 SMITH (LBD)
Somercotes (pre election party – LAB) votes cast – 1422 of 4831 = 29.43 %
LYTTLE (LAB) (E)
Brian John 805 MASLIN (UKI)
Andrew Paul 348 SMITH (CON)
Ian Stewart 214 MILWARD (LBD)
total votes cast – 26008 of 73092 = 35.58 %
Party Seats after Election
TORIES LOST CAMERON’S “FAVOURITE” BOROUGH TO LABOUR
The following is a report from the telegraph on-line of the Tory lost of Amber valley
By Camilla Turner
3:01PM BST 23 May 2014
Hammersmith and Fulham, thought to be a flagship Conservative council, has been lost to Labour, as have Croydon and Amber Valley
David Cameron was dealt a severe blow when Hammersmith and Fulham, said to be his favourite borough, was lost to Labour.
The Conservatives lost 11 seats to Labour, leaving the council with a majority of 26 Labour seats to the Tories’ 20.
The borough, which has been in Conservative hands since 2002, was held up as a flagship authority to demonstrate the success of Cameron’s low council tax policy.
It neighbours Westminster City Council and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, two Conservative strongholds.
Amber Valley was also swept away from the Conservatives, with Labour winning two of their seats, giving them a narrow majority of 23 against the Tories’ 21. The wards that changed hands were Belper South and Ripley.
Taking its name from the River Amber, Prime Minister David Cameron has made numerous trips to the Derbyshire borough council which has been in Tory hands for since 2000.
Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills was a prominent figure in the Tory rebellion against the Government’s immigration bill in January. Dozens of Conservatives backed his calls for tighter controls to be reintroduced on Bulgarian and Romanian migrants.
The Conservatives also lost Croydon to Labour, with Labour gaining 7 of their seats, and marking it out as a tough battleground in next year’s general election.
Amber Valley Tories refused to accept that the Council's reserves will be run down if we continued on the previous administrations proposals The figures below show a reduction in reserves from £5.6m to £1,2m by 2018
Amber Valley Labour - Paul Jones 20 February
More evidence as to why voting Labour does make a difference is the following press release from AVBC
A forward-thinking partnership with Nottingham Trent University’s School of Architecture and the Built Environment is looking at potential regeneration initiatives in Heanor town centre.
Keen to explore new and innovative ways of improving the area’s town centres, Amber Valley Borough Council has welcomed the opportunity to get new views on the challenges facing Heanor, and how they may be tackled.
As the first phase of the project, a group of 15 mature students from the University visited Heanor on Wednesday (18 February), to meet with Council representatives and look at Neighbourhood Planning and explore whether such a plan would be a good mechanism to aid the town centre’s regeneration.
The students, who are working towards their Postgraduate Certificate in Planning, Urban Design and Sustainable Development, at the University, will follow up this initial work with a presentation of their findings in April.
Leader of Amber Valley Borough Council, Cllr Paul Jones, commented: “We very much welcome the opportunity to work with the University on this project and are looking forward to hearing a different take on the issues facing Heanor, and, hopefully, some alternative solutions too. This is part of our vision to look at improving all of the towns across the Borough and is part of a long-term economic regeneration vision for Amber Valley, which we will be launching later this year.
1.1mn working households in England plagued by fuel poverty
Ed Miliband tweets:
"Great news from Amber Valley. Now Labour-run after for the first time in 14 years. Congratulations to the whole team there"
TRAMS FOR AMBER VALLEY
The BBC website has reported our efforts to look at introducing Trams to Amber valley as follows.
Nottingham-to-Ripley tram route considered Councillors have said some of the funding for the line could come from the European Union
Proposals for a tram route between Nottingham and a Derbyshire town are to be investigated.
Amber Valley and Broxtowe councils are hoping to fund a study into a line from the city to Ripley, via Eastwood, Kimberley and Langley Mill.
The line, which could cost £180m, would relieve congestion and create new jobs, councillors have said.
Nottingham’s current tram extension has been criticised for overrunning and disrupting residents and businesses.
The £570m extension was due to be open by Christmas but will not now open until next year.
Richard Robinson, from Broxtowe Borough Council in Nottinghamshire, said the Ripley planners would “learn from” the problems encountered with the Chilwell and Clifton extensions.
“We have got two options, we can do something or we can do nothing. If we do nothing, the congestion is going to continue,” he said.
“Because we are planning for this now, when this comes to Ripley we can plan for that and make this successful.”
Return of the Ripley Rattler?
The first phase of Nottingham’s tram system cost about £15m per kilometre, so the 7.5 mile (12km) route from Nottingham to Ripley could cost £180m.
Paul Jones, leader of Amber Valley council in Derbyshire, said some of the money could come from the European Union.
“It’s two different councils across county council borders. There’s deprivation in Eastwood and Langley Mill,” he said.
“It ticks lots of boxes with the European Union and I am confident they will be able to support it.”
Nottingham council has also said the tram could be extended to East Midlands Airport or the proposed HS2 station in Toton.
Lines to Bingham and Erewash in Derbyshire are also under consideration.
TOTAL VOTES CAST AT THURSDAY ELECTION
MAY 25, 2014