Sunday, 15 April 2007

On a Campaign Trail

"I think I fell asleep and woke up in July" said one resident enjoying his garden on this glorious April weekend. This time last year it was snowing but today its been in the 20s. I am very lucky to represent a beautiful group of 8 villages as a local councillor - it is a marginal Con / Lib Dem ward and last year I unseated the sitting Lib Dem of 10 years standing. This year my co-Conservative Richard Barrett is up for election and over the weekend we have been out and about in all 8 villages.

The reception has been as stunning as the weather. There are issues but people can see that we are working hard to solve them. House prices have rocketed and affordable housing for young local people is a real problem. We are in the process of building 18 homes in one of the villages which will make a real difference - our ambition is that the new 8,000 plus home town of Northstowe should include 50% affordable housing.

Our killer road remains a big concern. We met up with Jim Paice MP on the road and discussed the ludicrously slow bureaucratic process in funding improvements. He is to meet the Chief Constable this month to discuss lowering the speed limit and better policing. I will be meeting the Highways team as well.

Rubbish is also an issue. On the whole our villages are well kept but why do people flytip? Last week we came across 3 fridges, a TV and numerous other bits of junk in one lane - today another fridge in the middle of a field. Apart from anything else clearing rubbish is expensive and a waste of all our money.

In the fields rape is in flower. Bio-diesel from rape is being treated more seriously and this will hopefully help our need for sustainable energy. One voter told me he had been to listen to Miliband speak on climate change last week - "Poorly informed and lightweight" was his impression.

Planning always has controversies. In-fill building keeps cropping up. Its the same old story of bungalows being ripped down and replaced with 2 or 3 huge houses. More people - no more infrastructure.

Finally anti-social behaviour. Its not just young people you know. The ward is 15 miles from side to side and across the whole stretch ancient green lanes have been torn apart by gangs of 4x4 off-roaders. In the hot weather ruts have become walls and are so deep they become impassable to walkers, cyclist or horse riders. We are trialing a suspension order in one part and hope that this might help.

What are the local issues in your area?


Anonymous said...

That was a rapid increase from 40% (blog at 7:01 Mon 16th April) to 50% (blog at 8:50 Monday 16th April) affordable housing in Northstowe! Will it go higher if we wait longer and then maybe I could afford to move there!

Vicky Ford said...

yes - its always good to check ones docs before posting - if you want to know more about Northstowe you can go on the SCambs Website. 50% is the ambition - but the negotiations are as always lengthy and on-going. Our own little 18 plot of houses in my villagetook years to negotiate - but the foundations are laid that the walls start going up tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

After trying to walk the Roman Road this weekend I fully support anything to stop the ruts made by 4*4's, the path is in a terrible state and is only now accessible by the most able walkers.
PS I love Jim's crutches behind the A1307 sign!

Vicky Ford said...

Well spotted anonyomous. Isn't it good that even on his cruches our local MP is still getting out to see our problems and help solve them. Jim is certainly very fustrated that he can't race about a much as normal but sometimes it is good for all of us to have to face a period of lower-mobility and understand what it might feel like for those who are permanently disabled. He won't be able to cope with the Roman Road or the other byways for a while. They are really chewed up. The bureaucracy of trying to get something done is a nightmare. Thankyou for keeping me in touch with what you see around the place.