Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Local Lib Dems - Too Little Too Late

Local Plan Debate Kicked into the Long Grass 
Hedge End Lib Dems have finally succeeded in delaying any local debate about the Eastleigh Draft Local Plan until it is too late.  At last week's meeting of Hedge End Town Council, none of the sixteen Lib Dems present would second my motions to discuss the defence of wildlife at Bottom Copse against development or a more suitable location for a site for travelling show people.

The new chair of the Town Council has promised that a special meeting in September of the Highways and Planning Committee will discuss the Draft Local Plan and the Town Council's response to it.   But as a member of Eastleigh's cabinet, Cllr Bloom is well aware that this week's full meeting of Eastleigh Borough Council is voting on the version of the plan which will be submitted to the Government for approval, after which no major changes will be tolerated.  In fact the Lib Dem leadership is so keen to rush through the decisions this month, that they have had to bring forward a hurriedly-arranged special meeting of the Council's one remaining scrutiny panel to review the Plan before it goes to cabinet and full council on Thursday.

Chandlers Ford Parish Council, which has only been in existence for two years, has had the self-confidence and sense of duty to its local parishioners to stand up against the Borough's plans.  Yet Hedge End Town Council with over a hundred years of history and tradition has been choked and stifled by Lib Dem party discipline and the dominance of senior Lib Dem Borough Councillors who hold most of the positions of power in the Town Council.

Lib Dem Town Council "Trivial"

One of the many disappointed Hedge End residents who came to last Wednesday's meeting hoping to see some serious debate on issues of vital importance to local people has emailed me this response:

"Thanks for all your help and your efforts at the recent HETC - we were there and thought it was a sham.

It's not the first time we've thought this of a TC meeting and not surprised that few people come

along - the councillors seem more interested in talking about their own exploits and on 'trivial' matters than on critical decision impacting the community -  guess they don't want the conflict?

Where Have All the Lib Dems Gone?

Local Lib Dems certainly don't give the impression that they want to make informed decisions when they do finally consent to debating the Local Plan.

Eastleigh planning officers gave up their Monday evening this week for a seminar at the Civic Offices to explain the current status of the Local Plan and the next steps.  This seminar was open to all Borough and Town Councillors, but attendance by Hedge End Lib Dems was frankly pitiful. 

Only one of our seven Borough Councillors was there - Cllr Peter Hughes.

And apart from three dual-hatted councillors, Botley's Cllr Rupert Kyrle, and West End Cllrs Bruce Tennent and Dan Clarke, I was the only Town Councillor there.

Only 20% of Hedge End's elected Lib Dems think the Draft Local Plan of sufficient importance to give up two hours on a Monday evening to inform themselves about it. 

Broken Promises

Perhaps they are too embarrassed by their broken election promises to stand up for our countryside and oppose more building and traffic in Botley and Hedge End.

Broken Election Promise 2011

Broken Election Promise 2012


  1. Blimey, that's a tough blog Keith, but you're right of course and right to feel let down by your colleagues on the Council. The Lib Dems deception over the local plan has been thoroughly outrageous...

  2. AYK Keith almost two hours of debate on the local plan at the scrutiny panel tonight produced just one recommendation - to change wording to ensure sea scouts continue to get access to a training area in Hamble!

  3. Totally disillusioned26 July 2012 at 11:31

    The answer is simple and here it is:


    DON'T CARE about what happens to Hedge End. Why do they have the audacity to be on the Council as our so called representatives WHEN THEY CAN'T EVEN DEBATE A REASONABLE ISSUE?
    Out of the rat pack: WELSH, PRETTY AND BOTH HUGHES are concerned with keeping their allowances and NOT concerned with representing the electorate.

    Now we come on to
    CLARKE, TENNENT, KYLE and C BLOOM. NONE of these are resident in Hedge End.
    Clarke and Tennent live in West End and want the building to go ahead in Hedge End SO West End isn't impacted. KYLE resides in Botley and is so busy lording it as Mayor that nothing else matters. C BLOOM is a University student in Leicester and Keith House's stepdaughter.

    That leaves just:
    HOUSE - who is intent on building an Empire of which Hedge End is a part and the more houses he get built the better (the clue is in the name). BLOOM - House's live in partner who has to do exactly as he says in order to keep the family peace.

    So - there we have it - the Lib Dem way. There is no democracy in Hedge End Town Council. The one Councillor, DAY, who trys to represent the general opinion and is side lined. We have a party political Council NOT operating for the good of the residents as is obvious but toeing the party political line because they have been told to do so. What a bunch of losers. And there was me thinking local politics was for the benefit of the residents and locality - silly me.

    Remember the above next time you vote.

  4. The problem here is not with the individual councillors - some of those you mention do clearly care about Hedge End and have given up many many hours of their time voluntarily (town councillors do not get paid any allowance) to work for Hedge End - but with the dominance of one political party in Hedge End which leads them to support or at least not oppose a Local Plan which is bad for Hedge End. Some of them have split loyalties because they represent West End, or Botley, or Hamble, or Bursledon as well as Hedge End, and an issue like the Borough Local Plan highlights the difficulty that that entails.

    Don't forget that a lot of those councillors were elected unopposed to the town council in 2011. There were no candidates from the Conservative or Labour parties, and only two independents. Out of a population of 20,000 there were only 24 individuals who put themselves forward to work unpaid as town councillors. 21 of them chose to stand under the Lib Dem label.

    I can understand why. Having contested the last election as an independent (and in the past as a party candidate for the Lib Dems and Labour) I know from first hand how hard it is even to get one or two leaflets out to every household even in a town council ward without the financial and team support of a political party. Not everybody has the monetary or physical ability to campaign on their own, and our system forces them to stand as a party candidate.

    There have been two town council by elections in the last year and both returned Lib Dems.

    Time and again the voters of Hedge End endorse the Lib Dems and the Lib Dems see that as giving legitimacy to their policies. And that is the way that our representative democracy is supposed to work.

    The problem I have is when the party says one thing to get elected and then does another once in power. The Lib Dems have done this at a national level over the NHS, welfare benefits, student tuition fees, nuclear energy, and nuclear weapons. They are now doing it at the local level by promising to save our countryside, and stand up against building and more traffic and then allowing a Local Plan to go through which destroys much of Hedge End's countryside and will lead to even more building and traffic.

    The Liberal Democrat Party has made liars of otherwise good people, and that is the source of much of my frustration which came out in this blog.