Keeping Residents In Touch

The role of District Councillor has changed dramatically since the year 2000. Government policy and public awareness has meant that Councillors need to be more accountable than ever before to their electorate. Technology has also moved on and in Heyhouses your Conservative Councillors are at the forefront of adopting e-mail alerts, Blogs and Newsletters such as the Heyhouses Harrier to keep you up to date. Our monthly mobile Ward surgeries are also a vital face to face opportunity for residents to keep in touch with us. Finally the Heyhouses Branch committee, made up of volunteers, plays a vital supporting role in campaigning and fund raising. If you would like to play a more active role in your area and would like to become part of the team, then please get in touch. We hope you enjoy the Blog.

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Saturday, 5 May 2007

Conservatives Retain all Three seats in Heyhouses

Polling Day 2007 is over, Conservative candidates in Heyhouses have been successful in retaining their seats despite a push from Labour and the Liberal Democrats. The results were as follows:

John Coombes 821 votes ELECTED

Keith Hyde 792 votes ELECTED

Craig Halewood 699 votes ELECTED

Anne Smith (Lib Dem) 643

David Meldrum (Labour) 332

Total Ward Electorate 3664
Ballot papers returned 1413
Turnout 38.56%

Conservatives retained control of Fylde Council with a total of 27 out of the 51 seats.

May I take this opportunity on behalf of Keith, Craig and Myself to thank all those residents that supported us on Thursday and just say that the team will now continue to work hard for the ward during the coming term to ensure that we keep on improving the quality of life for all residents.

On a secondary note, a number of issues have been raised during the campaign and the team are now sifting through them all to ensure that we get urgent action. The monthly ward surgeries will start up again now and the Police PACT meetings will continue on the first Wednesday of each month, 7pm at Hope Street Pavilion.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

24 Hours to Polling Day - Independent Candidates leaflets are factually inaccurate!

With just one day left before Heyhouses residents go to the polls I thought it might be useful to clarify some issues raised in an Independent opposition candidate leaflet. I was passed the leaflet by a resident as Mr Chedd was the former Heyhouses Candidate. Mr Chedd who lives in the far corner of Elswick, withdrew from the Heyhouses election to fight Park Ward instead. Mr Chedd was sponsored by the Leader of the Opposition Paul Hayhurst, and his leaflet was no doubt written by Cllr Hayhurst as it is riddled with halve truths, inaccurate statements and peddles some long standing myths. I was surprised that he had such a interest in the Ward with Mr Chedd living on the outskirts of the Borough. The first point to clarify is that Fylde Independents are a group a party. They vote together, have group meetings, a website and have all signed up to the 'Non Co-operation' policy. This policy means that they do not attend meetings with the Councils Chief Executive or Leader and they do not vote at any meetings of the Council. This therefore makes their appointment pointless?

The link road pledge in the leaflet is very interesting. Cyprus Point was built when Independent and Lib Dem councillors ran the town hall (1991 - 2003) If they would have used the planning regulations better, whether through compulsory purchase or section 106 agreements then the M55 Link Road could have been built years ago. The ₤800,000 pounds paid by developers towards the road has always been held by Lancs County Council, not Fylde.

Council Tax Payers Money:

The alleged ₤300,000 pounds spent on consultants has been funded through the withdrawal of the annual maintenance budget on the Town Hall. The new modernised Town Hall and new back office facility will be at zero cost to taxpayers. A Conservative pledge.

The payment for early retirement of the former Chief Executive was a one off payment to his Local Government Pension fund. Independents made 5 senior officers redundant in 2001. As part of their package Independents agreed to annual pension enhancements for life for the 5. This now costs Fylde taxpayers ₤250,000 every year!!! We scrapped the pension enhancements rule on day one!

The costs of his temporary replacement was funded through the savings made by keeping two senior posts vacant. The interim Chief Executive enabled Conservatives to implement modern ways of working and to turn many internal operations around. This has been at no cost to the taxpayer.

Mr Chedd claims that ₤29,000 is spent on 'Spin Doctors' Iam assuming that he means the communications officer? Fylde shares the information officers with Blackpool Council. Their job is to issue press releases, develop public information leaflets and help keep the information on the Councils website up to date. Independents have pledged to scrap this post. This would mean no website, no information for residents, ourinformative press stories for the local papers. This would make Fylde Council insular and open to accusations of being out of touch and not listening, a return to Cllr Hayhursts days in power!

The wage bill. This is a favourite of Cllr Hayhurst! After four years he still cant get his head around the fact that when Conservatives won the contract to provide waste collections services for Wyre Borough Council we took on some of their staff!! This award winning contract has enabled to massively reduce costs to Both Fylde and Wyre Councils. The additional wage costs are paid for by the client, Wyre, not Fylde residents. Fylde Council has been recognised as being one of the most efficient, cost effective Councils in England! A Conservative product.

The Allowances of Councillors. Every Council has an Independent Review Panel which legally has to review Councillor allowances each year. The panel is made up of a local vicar, former County Council Finance Director and a local business leader. Fylde Councils allowances are some of the lowest in Lancashire and England. The Leader of the Council receives an allowance of ₤6000 per annum. To put it into perspective, I believe the Leader of the County Council receives ₤42,000 per annum, Blackpool ₤27,000 and Wyre ₤17,000. Fylde Council needs allowances to be at a level that enables a broader cross section of candidates to be able to afford to stand, as there is a significant financial cost to all Councillors elected, many investing on average up to 30 hours per week into Council commitments. Just for the record every Councillor on the Council claims his or her's full allowance, I'm sure Mr Chedd will do the same!

Council Tax in Fylde is the second lowest in Lancashire. Conservatives have raised Council tax by an average of 4% each year since 2003. Between 2001 and 2003 Independents raised your Council tax by 32%!! whilst still allowing facilities such as pools and public toilets to fall into disrepair. Fortunately Conservatives have now managed to turn this around using a combination of small Council Tax increases and internal savings to find much needed investment.

Swimming Baths. The statement made by Mr Chedd is untrue. Every year the Councils budget considers all income and all expenditure. The facilities that are off greatest costs to the taxpayer, such as pools are always flagged up for potential savings, along with reducing staff, Councillors, street sweeping, grass cutting etc etc. At no time in the past have Conservatives ever considered closing a pool. Kirkham baths were only closed temporarily due to engineers identifying a high risk of electrocution from faulty wiring - Would Mr Chedd have left the baths open?? God help us.

Parking. This has been well covered recently. The Lancashire County Council run scheme, Parkwise will be reviewed by Conservatives when the contract ends in 2008. Our manifesto pledge is to bring about a common sense approach to off street car parking rules. Recent reviews of the scheme have reduced fare charging times, making parking times more customer friendly.

Cabinet decision making. I have covered the cabinet system in previous blogs. Mr Chedd is probably unaware that his mentor sat on the prototype Cabinet, the executive committee for 12 months! Independent Councillors made up 3 of the 7 seats on this committee. They weer only taken off when the 'non-cooperation policy' started to affect the working of the Committee and Council. 95% of Councils now operate the Cabinet System, with just 42 Councils left in England using the outdated committee meeting structure. Conservatives will introduce a voting record log for all Councillors so that residents can see how many times Councillors have voted. There is one Independent Councillor in particular, that in my 8 years of being on the Council, I have never seen vote 'for' or against' anything????

Equitable Taxation. Cllr Hayhurst is strongly opposed to this as Elswick would see residents Parish Precepts rise by almost ₤20,00 a year. This is due to the fact that Elswick has some of the most modern sporting and community hall facilities in the Borough, these facilities service just a small handful of local residents yet are being paid for, at present by residents from across the Borough, Heyhouses doesn't even have a community hall!! The potential of Equitable Taxation is supported by 10 of the 14 Parish Councils in the Borough.

I hope that this update has clarified the facts behind this misleading leaflet. I would urge Mr Chedd to check his facts if he is going to put his name to such documents as people might think that he is only interested in perpetuating the non-cooperation policy rather than representing the residents of Park Ward. I for one hope, that, should he be successful at the polls, that he isn't another Hayhurst clone, hell bent on disrupting the continued progress of the Council, rather than getting the job done.