Friday, 27 September 2013

Stoke park Residents celebrate Wind turbine decision!

Success on Wind turbine campaign

I am thrilled to announce that PfR have dropped their plans for the windfarm that was proposed on IBC land at Thorington, following an effective local campaign.

This is a summary of what they said

'Both the technical assessment PfR has undertaken and the local feedback has been invaluable in helping us hone our proposal and we are confident that this single turbine project is now the optimal design for the locality.
The project will no longer include the previously proposed turbine on Ipswich Borough Council (IBC) owned land east of Belstead and south of Pinewood. There are no plans to re-consider this in the future and the agreement with IBC will fall away at the end of the year.'

Well done to Jenny from Stop Ipswich Turbines who I have given my full support to from day one of the campaign. 
I was the only S.W. Ipswich councillor to publicly state that I was totally against the proposal being so close to homes. 
Well done to the residents who filled in and returned the survey from myself and Ben Gummer MP, proving the strength of feeling of the local people. Our first survey showed nearly a 100% of residents were against with a handful for. 
This is what a councillor should do - represent their community irrespective of their own feelings. My own is that they look beautiful and graceful in the sea or at least a few miles from people's homes and so I was more than happy to work on Stoke Park's behalf.
And well done to PfR in coming to the right decision. I have found them to be most helpful in answering my questions and it's been tough for some of their representatives when dealing with us at public meetings.

Of course there is still one turbine left which will be much further away from my ward and Babergh district but that is for other residents to deal with. I can only look after the residents who voted for me. 

However if those residents are not happy, I urge them to attend the meeting with Mr Yeo that was set up by SIT and to feel motivated by the success of the campaign so far.

I celebrated last night and hope that my residents will do the same tonight. They deserve it!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Why I Walked Out of Full Council last night

The residents of Stoke park have a right to know why I walked out of full council, following the Q&A questions from our Group to the Labour administration, and I have every intention of giving a full explanation right here on this blog.

I have been a councillor for over 7 years now and never have I walked out of any council meeting, although recently it has been a close call. So let me start there.

I can only describe the Labour administration and some of their backbenchers as a Muster of Peacocks looking so pleased with themselves and enjoying the mocking, jeering, juvenile laughter that tends to come our way.

Now I don't mind a bit of banter - it's good for all of us - but it has to be appropriate and not be detrimental to the professionalism of the environment.

Let me take you back, just a little, to the questions I put to Councillor Smart when I was campaigning for the saving of the no 16 bus route to Stoke Park. Councillor Smart assured us that all would be well with ALL bus routes but in doing so decided to take a swipe at me, alluding (or even inferring) that I wouldn't be around next year anyway, so any long term guarantees to me were not really relevant. As I am up for election next year, this was obviously a 'funny' meaning I would lose my seat. In the public gallery was a resident of mine who came to hear the answers to the bus question. So disgusted was she by the behaviour of labour councillors that she said she would never come again. I was furious to say the least and apologised on their behalf. But that's not the point. Our public gallery appears to be shrinking - I wonder why.

As an aside - I am the only Tory out of 12 councillors who represent the SW of Ipswich - read on if you think they should be left without being held to account by a member of the opposition. See if you think your concerns will be heard, especially if you're a Tory voter.

Now call me old-fashioned, but when a man is not as gentlemanly as he should be to a woman, I rather wonder how they were brought up, in their socialist household - or is the education just limited to 'Let's hate the Tories and I'm a socialist so you will be too son. Don't you let me down now boy, we have to stick together at all times and fight these nasty people. You know so that we can all have choices in life, our own voices and all be winners by ensuring the State looks after us from Cradle to Grave. So don't you dare not be a member of the labour party or the union, boy!'

Some of you may not know but the questions are submitted beforehand and so it gives plenty of time for the portfolio holder to put together an answer. I often think that some of them get together to think up the wittiest, most derogatory, patronising replies and that making people laugh is far more important than actually answering the question.

Kevin Algar a well known Tory activist asked a couple of questions to the Leader of the council, David Ellesmere. Every time Kevin asks a questions, Ellesmere always starts by saying 'you are a Tory member' as if that somehow negates the substance or validity of the question!  SO, all you Tory members out there, best not ask the Leader a question, he doesn't take you very seriously at all.
Now Kevin is a unique and quirky individual who is as bright as a button when it comes to political stuff but he was told quite calmly, by Councillor Ellesmere, that the question Kevin had received from a resident (hence asking on her behalf at council) was 'as bizarre as you'.  Calling a resident (that resides in your own ward!) as bizarre is totally unacceptable and he didn't even answer the question. As Kevin stated at the end 'Thankyou for so eloquently not answering my questions today'.

And this is a man who wants to be your MP! - Can you imagine Ben Gummer ever saying that to ANY resident, never mind infer that a second absent resident was also bizarre. Where is the grace, the professionalism, the courtesy that our people expect from us? 

I was angry but at this point had not yet decided to leave. Worse was to come.

Last night Councillor Pope asked 2 questions. the first one to councillor Smart was about bus 31 and reminding him of his promise and using the word 'infer'. Smart commenced by telling us that the word 'infer' caused some discussion with his colleagues and proceeded to tell Richard - a teacher - what it means, all in an endeavour to undermine him and get a cheap laugh. Again, forgiveable but by now I was starting to feel ashamed of the proceedings. More was to follow.

His second question to Councillor Jones was answered by starting with the words 'you've spelt embarrassed' incorrectly. Councillor Pope responded immediately by saying he was dyslexic and would she apologise to which she adamantly replied No!

Now firstly, if you want to humiliate a teacher then there's an easy way to do that - pick up on mistakes. The spelling had nothing to do with the question, was irrelevant, could've been the officer who typed up the question but again, let's knock a Tory when we can and have a bit of fun. If councillor Jones had apologised immediately, I would not have walked out but this was a pantomine scene too much.

Councillor Pope, Harsant and SCC councillor Murray walked out with me along with Kevin Algar. I was disgusted and still am. a night's sleep has not curbed my determination to put a stop to the frivolous.

The labour group are behaving worse each month and I have told my leader that if he doesn't put a complaint in, I will. Let's have some fun and banter (I have actually laughed out loud at some of the Leaders comments - I am not without a great sense of humour) but let's draw a line on patronising humiliation to get a laugh at someone else's expense when what they should be doing is answering the bloody questions.

So people of Ipswich, don't be put off by coming along - I promise you that I will personally be working towards helping the administration and back benchers to give the taxpayers what they deserve, but if they don't co-operate on this, I do not rule out walking out again.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Ben in the Pub

From Ben;-
Campaign 2013-2014
Thank you to Bixley councillors and all those who helped deliver in Bixley last week.

The Bixley Ben in Parliament tour has had a huge success rate and we have already had to organise a second tour!

On Wednesday Ben will be at The Royal George on Colchester Road between 7pm and 9pm for our next Ben in the Pub event. 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Children's Early years and Why we must get it right

News from Ben and Ipswich ConservativesSeptember 2013

Month Year
This is one of the most important subjects, in my opinion, and interests me not just as a politician but also in my work, and I'm so pleased to see the cross party working it has finally encouraged. Even before the years where they start school, we have a more crucial period in which politicians national and local, can make a huge difference. 

Here's Ben Gummers post

Why children's early years are so important
Below this column you will see the most important photo in British politics today.

It shows scans of two three-year-old brains.  The larger, fully developed brain is that of a child who has enjoyed a healthy upbringing.  The smaller, less developed brain is that of a child that has suffered extreme neglect.  What I want to talk about today is the recent explosion of interest in the early years of a child's life, the advances in what brain science tells us about their importance and the excitement that this is generating in Westminster.

Yesterday morning, I was involved in the launch a decisive new cross-party manifesto, 'The 1001 Critical Days: The Importance of the Conception to Age Two Period'.  This is the brainchild of my colleague Andrea Leadsom MP, the Conservative Member of Parliament for South Northamptonshire.  Andrea and her team have been doing great work compiling this manifesto, which highlights the crucial importance of the early years to the rest of a child's life.

By the 1001st day, the brain has reached 80 per cent of its adult weight, making this period vital for healthy development and for ensuring that babies achieve the best start in life.

From birth to age eighteen months, connections in the brain are created at a rate of one million per second.  It is during this period that a baby's social and emotional development in later life is shaped by the quality of their attachment to their parents and carers.  

This much is clear.  But as is so often the case, policymakers have lagged behind, slow to change their policies to account for new scientific insights.  Despite spending hundreds of billions of pounds in the last fifteen years in the battle against poverty, we have done tragically little to secure every child the healthy start in life that they deserve.  One in every four babies born in the UK has a parent affected by domestic violence, mental health or drug and alcohol problems.  

So what's different about this manifesto?  As well as Andrea Leadsom, it has also been written by Labour MP Frank Field, by Liberal Democrat former Health Minister Paul Burstow MP and by the Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.  What this shows is of enormous importance: for the first time, political parties are coming together to form a consensus on how governments must transform their approach to early years policy.  Representatives of all parties are now united in calling for essential services and assistance to be provided to all at-risk families and those experiencing difficulties.  

We are beginning to respond to what is now beyond doubt: that fighting long term poverty requires more than just transferring money from one group to another through tax and benefits.  We also need much better services, targeted at those who actually need them.  We need this debate to rise above party politics, so that the best policies are implemented by whichever party is in power.  To those of us who are committed to promoting the importance of early years policy, it is encouraging that we are making real progress.  

Ben in the Pub

On Wednesday 18th I will be holding one of my regular Ben in the Pub evenings.  Join me for a drink at the Royal George on Colchester Road between 7 and 9 pm if you have any questions or concerns you would like to put to me.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Stoke park News - Newnham Court

Plan to transform site into new homes

Following a tweet I received from a resident, I asked a question at council to the housing portfolio holder, about the empty buildings off Cambridge Drive, in my ward.

This appears to have prompted some action to follow that of councillor Richard Pope a conservative councillor and previous portfolio holder who instigated a solution to the semi derelict accomodation.

Here is the latest from IBC about this:

 The Council’s contractors will completely refurbish and convert the main block and annex at Newnham Court, off Cambridge Drive, into 19 flats. Two of the flats will be fully wheelchair-accessible. Five adjacent bungalows will also be refurbished.
 The complex, once home to bedsit accommodation, has been empty for many years. The Council wants to create new flats, particularly two-bed homes, to meet growing demand.
 Executive meets on 17th September to consider the appointment of a contractor to refurbish the site, which is owned by the Council and had been on a long lease to a housing association.
If my residents want to know more then please comment in the box below this article.