Over the last four years we have been proud to represent Luton and Wayfield. We have made a great effort to speak up for our residents – whatever your political opinion – and represent your concerns to the Council.
We have managed a sizeable amount of community casework and have passionately stood up for the issues that residents are concerned about. A lot has been achieved; but there is a lot more still to do.
Four years ago we undertook a survey of the major concerns in our community and a number of issues were raised on the doorstep and by post. Below is just some of things we have done to make our community a little bit better.
Gritting / Yellow bins
In 2011 we received regular correspondence on the lack of yellow bins and level of gritting across the ward. We received regular engagement with the Council that to introduce new yellow bins and/or move bins would only happen after a lengthy consultation with residents. We thought out-of-the-box; it was your councillors that successfully pushed for the introduction of the Snow Volunteer scheme that means our residents can have grit, high viz vest and spade delivered to your own home. This funding coming from the gritting companies themselves.
Anti-social behaviour / Crime
Luton and Wayfield has a relatively high level of anti-social behaviour and is one of a number of inner urban wards that presents challenges with regards to tackling crime. On election in 2011 we successfully lobbied for further CCTV cameras along Luton Road from Member Priority Budgets. We have successfully lobbied for a Dispersal Zone for the Luton Arches area and regularly monitor levels of crime in the ward through regular attendance at our PACTs. As ward councillors we have also lobbied hard for the extension of the Chatham Alcohol Control Zone and have taken our case directly to the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner who has met and visited us in Luton. We have suggested a Council Tax cut to support recruitment of Special Constables.
Roads / Potholes
It is true to say that in 2011 the state of many roads across the ward were in a terrible state; this being a cumulative issue that had worsened over a decade a more. The state of the roads across Medway remain a significant concern but we have lobbied hard for the introduction of several double-line schemes on Settington Avenue / Street End Road and Roosevelt Road; though the time taken for it to happen was glacial. In addition road improvements have taken place on Constitution Road, Castle Road, Constitution Hill, Churchill Avenue, Tobruk Way, Montgomery Avenue and Barnfield. Roads remain an issue which is why we have led on the campaign to #FixOurStreets diverting money away from the £4.4m Rochester Airfield scheme into community capital initiatives like roads. We have held the Council to account on overspends on the Chatham bus station.
Parks & Play areas
We have successfully seen improvements on Luton 'Rec' and Barnfield since 2011 and have got detailed plans for the improvement of Luton Millennium Green that has finally been taken into Council ownership after a decade of confusion over a disbanded trust. We have regularly met officers to discuss this park; funding is still needed.
Dog bins / Dog fouling
We have increased markedly the number of fixed dog fouling signs in priority hotspots across the ward, working with our Primary Schools to design signs
Schools / Education
We have met with the head teachers and governors of all our local Primary and Secondary schools and whilst we have seen mixed results over the last four years we have sought to offer support and engagement with each school. We have funded a garden project at Wayfield School and have partnered closely on funding youth play-schemes, football groups, summer holiday schemes, karate clubs and even youth boxing. We have raised our concerns on the provision of takeaways near schools and have encouraged and support healthy eating initiatives.
All three councillors have made significant contributions to scrutinising council decision. For a list of Freedom of Information requests on numerous local and contentious issues . These include improvement to Primary Schools; Medway Tunnel; Rochester Airfield; Chatham bus station; Small business rates; Medway Matters and issues around overspends on capital projects. We have taken our responsibility to scrutinise decisions seriously.
We continue to have significant concern around Housing in the ward and have worked on a number of cases of nuisance noise and on accommodation that is unfit. We have therefore supported schemes around the introduction of a Selecting Licencing so that owners can be held to account for the state of properties in the ward. We continue to support housing developments on brown field sites with suitable levels of affordability and parking. We continue to oppose development on Capstone Valley but recognise the need for homes for young families. We therefore back development on Lodge Hill on a cross-party basis and are concerned by inconsistent approaches taken by others.
- Successfully supported St Mary's Amateur Boxing club in seeking a new site and securing financial support
- Supported residents to oppose several phone mast schemes
- Partnered with residents on multiple Planning issues including a complex case on Roosevelt Avenue / Ironside Close that had been an issue for years. We secured community support for a new Planning proposal
- Introduced several new dog bins for green areas in Wayfield
- Supported the first new Community Right to Bid process for the Medway Queen Community pub backing local residents in their attempt to safeguard an important site
- Stood up for small business in Luton high street to oppose the Luton Library car parking charge and to stand up against inappropriate applications
- Opposed the privatisation of Nelson Court and suggested an alternative social-enterprise via NORSE (subsequently the idea of NORSE was taken-up by Tory Council but too late for Care Home provision)
- Supported Age UK and provision of improved care for elderly residents in the ward
- Supported the Friends of Horsted Valley in safeguarding Coney Banks from development and encroachment