What do we stand for in the Local Elections 2018?
If elected on 3rd May it would be a privilege for our candidates to serve their communities as your local Councillors. Each and every one of us pledges to fight hard for these pledges all year around, not just at election time. If these pledges are aims you support please help us achieve them by voting Liberal Democrat on 3rd May.
School Places for all the Borough’s children, planned for well in advance. But that does not mean we and you should accept any school proposal. They need to be good quality proposals and on appropriate sites so that they meet the needs of local families. The Council can and should play a more proactive role than it has done to date in proposing and bringing forward appropriate sites for schools. The Lib Dems are frustrated for example that the current Council plans to sell of the Civic Centre site, which would make a great site for a school, for low density housing prioritising profits over well-planned school places. And if a site has challenges such as road safety that are within the Council’s control, they can and should make the changes necessary to facilitate safe routes to school promoting active travel, not refuse the school. You can read more about our views and campaigns on school places here.
Safer to School – we believe the Council must prioritise road safety improvements on all routes to school including 20mph zones around schools and speeding hot spots/rat runs and on any “quietway” cycle routes. The current Council’s ridiculous policy of waiting for sufficient KSI statistics (“killed or seriously injured”) is outrageous and indicative of this Council’s reactive rather than proactive stance to its responsibilities. We demand an end to this policy and would instead impose common sense road safety policies actively listening to and consulting with local schools and communities. Our Village Way and Copers Cope crossing campaigns are excellent examples of this. You can read more about our Safer to School, Safer for all campaign and sign the pledge here.
Cycleways – For too long the Conservative Council has prioritised the rights of the driver with regular public quotes such as “Bromley residents love their cars” and “drivers have rights too”. We have spoken to many people who would like to cycle themselves or for their children to cycle to school but are too afraid to do so in Bromley. And Bromley Council doesn’t even bother to apply for all funding available from TFL for cycle improvements. Getting people out of their cars and walking and onto bicycles will be for everyone’s benefit but it won’t happen without a more holistic approach to planning that always includes cycling improvements. Click here to see how the Lib Dems would achieve this.
Transport – for too long Bromley Council has been isolationist in its approach rather than working with TfL and the Mayor’s office to bring the best of London’s transport improvements to the Borough. Lib Dems will actively fight to bring new transport links to Bromley and improve our rail services in particular at Bromley North which needs more frequent direct trains into London or another transport solution, particularly in light of all the new homes planned for around the station. We also need improvements to many of our rail stations, such as access improvements at Bromley South – read more about our campaign for a second exit at Bromley South and sign the petition here.
Housing - Bromley needs more affordable housing. Under the current Tory Council only 20 affordable homes were built in the entire borough last year. We need to be an attractive place to live for people of all income brackets; young people and vital NHS staff, teachers and other public sector workers cannot afford to live here and we all suffer from that; look at the continual nursing staff shortage at the PRUH who just can’t recruit enough nurses. We need more joined up thinking on how all of these issues inter relate. We would achieve this through using the existing powers of the Council planning authorities to insist that all new developments have at least 35% affordable housing and be rigid in what affordable really means to people on average salaries. The current Tory Council continually tell us that 35% affordable housing makes developments unprofitable for the private developers which is nonsense; less profitable is not unprofitable and the rules are there for a reason. A Lib Dem Council would also build Council Houses as our colleagues in Lib Dem run Sutton Council have done, ending the rehousing of the Borough’s homeless miles outside the Borough and even returning a profit to the Council. Read more about how we’d achieve it here and see a video on our wider housing policies here.
Better Town Planning - There are several new developments planned or in progress around Bromley, and while these new homes are necessary, the current system is failing to deliver for the residents of Bromley. Bromley North is a good example – proposals for a 23 storey block and a 10 storey block proposed by different developers without any sense that the buildings will fit in the local area – or even fit in with each other - or that additional services (transport, GPs, schools etc) are part of the plan. We need Bromley Council to be proactive about new developments, actively stakeholder managing and influencing to ensure that new homes built have the right services, have enough affordable homes and will contribute to making Bromley a better place to live.
Police - Another core Lib Dem policy is that we believe passionately in the place of community policing as part of crime prevention. We need more bobbies on the beat who know their patch and have excellent community links. We have the lowest police numbers in England and Wales for 22 years and increasing crime rates. The number of police officers has dropped by 19,000 since 2010. In Bromley we are facing further challenges with the Labour Mayor of London’s proposal to merge Bromley, Croydon and Sutton police forces. You can see our video on this matter here https://www.facebook.com/bromleytownlibdem/videos/1207814852685214/ and sign the petition here
Cleaner Streets – Like so many of our neighbours we’re sick of the litter on residential streets close to the town centre. We’re campaigning for more litter bins on residential streets close to the town centre , emptied frequently and combined with regular street cleaning and litter picking. Parts of Bromley are hotspots for flytipping. The Lib Dems would install CCTV to deter criminals at these spots, vigously peruse offenders and make it easier and less expensive for households to use council collection services.
Parks & Recreation – Lib Dem’s believe passionately in creating positive community spaces that we can all be proud of. We will continue to invest and protect Bromley’s green spaces guarding against the conversion of public parks into “quasi public space” controlled by private business for private gain rather than as a genuinely public asset. We will continue to fight for improvements to play areas in parks and the inclusion of outdoor gym equipment, working with communities to match crowdfunding where appropriate. We’ll reinstate public toilets in all public parks and work with neighbouring boroughs at the edge of the borough. We recognise that Bromley residents use fantastic spaces such as Beckenham Place Park and deserve a say on their future. And we'll bring outdoor play closer to home by bringing “play streets” to Bromley, allowing parents to organise to close their roads to traffic once a month to allow children to “play out”. Read more about play streets and sign the petition here.
Transparent local government – Lib Dems believe in local politics and listening to and working with local people to effect real change that enhances and promotes community cohesion for all. This requires adherence to the utmost standards of due process in decision making and making all decisions transparent. We would video record all public Council meetings and that all information is easily accessible and searchable online for the public. Following the Bullers planning fiasco, we would also ensure that all Councillors had adequate training in planning law and due process and that the Council code of conduct was brought in line with Local Government Association best practice. We would also commit to regular surgeries in public locations so residents can easily contact us.