Nick Hollinghurst

Liberal Democracy – equal opportunity for all, freedom within a fair society, security in a greener world

Berkhamsted Tip to be Closed 2 Days a Week – Sign Our Petition.

July 27th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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BerkTipPicWebWordsBerkhamsted Tip – the Household Waste Recycling Centre – is threatened with a Two Day per Week Closure and Reduced Opening Hours.

The Liberal Democrats are opposing the plans being put forward by the Tory-run Hertfordshire County Council.

These will involve:

● Two Hertfordshire Tips to Close Completely

● The others are to be closed for Two Days per Week


● Opening Hours will be restricted to 8.00 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Help us Campaign to Keep Berkhamsted Tip Fully Open.

You can either

Sign the Lib Dem Petition electronically by clicking  here 

or

take part in Hertfordshire County Council’s consultation by clicking on HWRC Consultation (closes 03/08/13)

OR DO BOTH!

Hertfordshire Highways Fix a Date to Repair the New Mill Roundabout – After 3 Years!

July 27th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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NewMillCroppedThe Liberal Democrat Councillor for Tring and the Villages, Nick Hollinghurst, has been asking for over 3 years  for the New Mill Roundabout in Tring to be repaired.

This roundabout lies on the busy Icknield  Way, a useful through route for lorries, buses and car – as well as an essential road for people to get around Tring. It is also used every day by dozens of  heavy goods vehicles coming with grain to the mill in Tringford Road and leaving with flour. All those HGVs are restricted to the Icknield Way, apart from accessing the mill. This means that each and every one must make either on or two slow turns of 90 degrees round the roundabout at each visit, depending on whether they are arriving from east or east.

The inner surface of the roundabout is constructed from concrete paviors (like large, heavy bricks) and, as you can see in the picture they have been working loose. Often there are half a dozen scattered across the road. This is very dangerous since if one were flipped up by a passing lorry wheel it would make a heavy and potentially lethal projectile. This could damage other passing vehicles and injure or even kill any person who might get hit.

For years residents (and councillors) have been dodging the traffic at this busy road junction to pick up the paviors and place them more safely in the raised centre of the roundabout. Then, after a bit, the council’s contractors (first Amey Lafarge and now Ringway) ram them back into the loose roadway and attempt to fix them with cement – which lasts less than a month.

This chronic roadway fault has been reported over and over again over several years – more lately also forming the subject of discussions between Cllr Hollinghurst and Ringway staff at their depot in Kings Langley.

Finally we have been given the date of August 18th, 2014 for repairs to take place. Obviously this will cause a lot of disruption – but if the repair is successful it will be worth it. It is believed that it is planned to replace the paviors with heavy duty tarmac on a new, robust foundation underneath. Fingers crossed!

UK Aerospace Projects to Receive £154m Boost

July 26th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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aero industry blogLiberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg has announced a £154 million investment in research projects to keep the UK as a world leader in aerospace innovation. 

The investment will be used in four areas – which the UK excels in – wings, engines, aircraft structures and radio communications.

This funding is part of a £2 billion government and industry investment in researching and development for the next generation of quieter, faster and more environmentally friendly planes.

It will help to secure more than 100,000 skilled jobs in aerospace and its supply chain in the long term, in a market expected to be worth over £4 trillion over the next 30 years.

Commenting Nick Clegg said:  “The UK’s aerospace industry is going from strength to strength and helping our economic recovery. We are the number one aerospace industry in Europe and second only to the United States globally.

“I want to ensure the UK remains at the cutting edge of aerospace innovation, which is why I am pleased to announce that we are investing £154 million for research to explore new technologies like the 3D printing of plane parts and creating lighter, greener aircraft.

“By working in partnership with business, we are building a stronger, more balanced economy, creating more jobs and sharing the wealth equally.”

The “Bedroom Tax” – Liberal Democrat Reform, Labour Hypocrisy

July 25th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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NickCleggSpeaking BlogThe Liberal Democrats will ensure that benefit claimants in social housing will no longer be penalised if their landlord cannot provide accommodation suitable to their needs. In other words, the £14 reduction in housing benefit (“bedroom tax”) for an unneeded room will not apply unless the landlord can offer reasonable accommodation and the tenant refuses the offer unreasonably.

The principle of limiting Housing Benefit to match the accommodation needs of claimants was established as long ago as 1989.  The then Conservative government brought in the Rent Officers (Additional Functions) Order 1989 as a needs-based restriction of benefits for claimants in privately rented housing.

The more recent 2012 Act extended this principle to claimants of working age (not OAPs) in social housing.

However, many councils, including many Labour controlled councils, implemented these new arrangements with dogged determination and inappropriate rigidity. They did not give sufficient consideration to medical or other hardship exemptions.

This approach was made worse by many councils’ historic failure to match their housing stock to the actual needs of their tenants. As a result social problems began to emerge.

Now that we have the objective evidence of a year’s statistics, it is clear that the regulations need to be amended. We need to recognise the difficulties for tenants when the local authority has not provided sufficient smaller flats and houses to enable those who wish to downsize, to do so.

So this new move will, without going back on the principle of matching benefit to need, make sure that tenants will no longer be penalised for something over which, as tenants, they have no control and which is the result of a failure by the local authority to provide an appropriate mix of social housing units.

This move, announced recently by Danny Alexander the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury in the Coalition Government, and by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, is to the credit of the party’s pragmatism and sensitivity to an unfortunate social problem.

Labour on the other hand, have played a role of cynical hypocrisy throughout. There were no howls of protest from them in 1989 when the Benefit Reduction (which they now pretend is a “tax”) was first introduced – albeit only in the private rental sector.  Nor was there any sign of concern from Labour in 1997 when they took office.  As in the case of so many things they complain about now, they took no action about it during the 13 years from 1997 to 2010 when they were in government.

Labour are facing a general election about which they cannot feel any confidence. So now, with some help from their councillor friends in the North, they are seeking political advantage by using the old Marxist tactic of trying to make things worse in the short run in the hope of making things better for themselves later on.

Liberal Democrat Berkhamsted Town Councillor’s Bid to Bring Kingshill Safety Scheme Forward.

July 24th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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KingshillJctnCroppedIn a letter to the Editor of the Berkhamsted Gazette Liberal Democrat Berkhamsted Town Councillor Garrick Stevens has outlined the plans that he and fellow Town Councillor Danny Bonnett have put forward to Berkhamsted Town Council.

He writes: 

Dear Sir

Your report [Gazette 9th July 2013] of the Town Council’s meeting that discussed the proposal to partner the County Council to fund the planned lights controlled crossing at the junction of Kings Road and Shootersway was somewhat misleading. I’d like to set the record straight.

The junction has long been regarded as a traffic congestion and safety hotspot: the new 2 tier school arrangements with more younger children needing to use the crossing, has heightened safety concerns that merit a sound long term solution. Although the junction work is identified in the 2013 Urban Transport Plan, a senior officer from County Highways said, at the recent meeting where the plan for the Taylor Wimpey development was rejected, that the improvements could be delayed – possibly beyond 10 years as there is no funding currently available, or anticipated, for the foreseeable period for the project. The interim solution of a ‘lollipop person’ at the junction is recognised as not being ideal for the long term.

We now have it on record that the Town Council has the legal power to raise funds to pay for Highways works. As a safeguard against frivolous applications there are procedures to be followed before any long term borrowing can be authorised – in this case by the Minister at the Dept. of Local Government.

Secondly, the County and Borough Councils have squirrelled away developer contributions for highways improvements which could be used on projects in Berkhamsted. We will learn more when a joint meeting is held. But residents will recall that the County set aside £90,000 to pay for the abandoned Parking Zone fiasco – hopefully they still have it in the bank.

If there is truly not enough funds available from the County/Borough to complete this project within a relatively short period of time, we are left with the options of either doing nothing to make the junction better for drivers and safer for our children, or persuading your Town Councillors to take the lead to pay for the shortfall.

The key number your reporter left out of the report [but included in the discussion paper available from the Town Clerk] is that a loan of as much as £300,000 repaid over 15 years [to the government, much like a mortgage], is a cost of £3.23 per year from each of the 8,000 or so properties in Berkhamsted. Higher Banded properties might pay around £5 per year. Some people pay far more for a round of drinks or golf.

We regularly hear complaints about the overloaded infrastructure in Berkhamsted, not least by residents who most use these roads. My colleague Cllr Bonnett has bravely shown that there is a potential solution – but the solution, and the responsibility for implementing it, and it lies in the hands of our residents and Town Councillors.

Yours etc

[Cllr] Garrick Stevens

The loan to enable the badly needed highways improvements to be brought in now – rather in 10 years time – can be safely raised from the Public Works Loan Board and will cost a trivial sum of money per property per year. Meanwhile several dozen school children are put at risk daily at the awkward and dangerous road crossing and traffic is held up morning and evening at rush hours.

Cllrs Stevens and Bonnett have shown it can be done. Mothers and motorists know it should be done. Now the other Berkhamsted Town councillors should get on and do it – or be prepared to answer accusations that they are putting children’s lives at risk for no good reason.

Tring Summer Celebrations

July 23rd, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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carnival Tring blogThe Tring Carnival on 12 July was a great success.

With better weather this year than the nearly total wash-out of 2013, everyone had a great time.  Over 100 stalls showcased clubs and charities, provided a chance to buy souvenirs, novelties, interesting food and drinks – and some of the tastiest lamb burgers you could ever ask for!

The arena was busy and filled all day with demonstrations, competitions, fun and games with the Beer Tent doing a roaring trade as usual.

Transport past and present was exhibited – as our picture of a steam lorry testifies – and transport future was represented by David Barnett of Miswell Lane, Tring introducing his range of electric bikes to a waiting world.  See www.tringmotion.co.uk 

Investing in Green Energy

July 23rd, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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solar_power BLOGEd Davey, Lib Dem Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change  writes in LibDem Voice “I have published the Government’s first ever Energy Investment Report.

“It shows how Liberal Democrats in Government have delivered on jobs and investment in energy – particularly green energy – and shows the plan we now have for this to continue for decades to come.

“Let me be clear – investment in the energy sector has not been a ‘nice to have’.  We inherited a legacy of energy underinvestment from Labour and we’ve spent the last four years turning this around.   The sheer scale of the investment has already been huge: between 2010 and 2013 we’ve secured £45 billion of investment in electricity generation and networks alone.  The UK’s future energy infrastructure investment is larger than transport, communications and water spending combined.

“While I’m sure you’ll be interested in reading every word of the entire report, you may want to start with what we’ve achieved on renewable electricity.

“A few facts:

  • Since 2010, an average £7 billion a year has been invested in renewable energy.  This compares to £3 billion a year in the previous parliament.
  • Electricity generation from renewable sources has doubled since 2010 and now supplies 15% of the UK’s electricity.
  • Earlier this year, eight renewable energy projects got contracts providing up to £12 billion of private sector investment and up to 8,000 jobs
  • The UK is the world leader in offshore wind and we have more than any other country.  This supports up to 18,000 jobs.  By 2020 we could see offshore wind powering almost 7 million homes.
  • Onshore wind has attracted £7.6 billion of investment between 2010 and 2013 and supports 17,000 jobs.
  • Solar PV attracted £6.4 billion of private investment between 2010 and 2013.

“While these facts speak for themselves, we can’t be complacent.   We’ve put in place the necessary reforms and now Ernst & Young rank the UK as one of the best places in the world for renewables investment.  But we know that there are threats from the right, particularly on onshore wind, and from the Labour Party with their energy price freeze policy.  Their policy not only threatens the competition to the Big 6 that we’ve encouraged, but also investors who currently see the UK as a great place to invest.

“Be in no doubt.  The Lib Dems have the strongest green energy record of any political party and Britain is now on track to beat our renewable electricity targets for 2020.”

Tories Accused of Misleading Residents As New Figures Show Over 800,000 Bus Journeys Could Be Cut!

July 22nd, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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387 004 blogHertfordshire’s ruling Conservatives have been accused of misleading residents over plans to reduce bus services in the evenings and at weekends.

Liberal Democrat Group Leader, and Highways Spokesperson, County Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst (Central Watford and Oxhey) has found out that instead of the 200,000 passenger journeys being cut due to the Tories suggested cuts to evening and Sunday services, the real figure will actually be closer to 809,000 passenger journeys.

Stephen said, “When the proposal first came out I asked for details of who would be affected by what route and what the county subsidies were. I have had to chase several times for this and now after the Consultation process has started with, in my mind, flawed data, the Council has had to admit that the number of people affected by this cut is 4 times as many as they first told us, with some 809,00 journeys actually facing the cut. This is scandalous, the Tories run the council and they should be checking what they are proposing, tens of thousands of residents will be affected and no longer able to use buses if these cuts go ahead.

“We were told, and the consultation document also claims that bus subsidies range from ‘10p to over £9 per individual journey’. Yet on the figures I have unearthed the highest subsidy on any of the routes being cut is £4.19 !. Yet again they Tories have not done their homework and are misleading people.” said the Lib Dem Leader.

“They have not thought through this and its effect on residents. Liberal Democrats have launched petitions county-wide opposing these cuts. You can sign it at : signme.org.uk/985. They are also urging residents to fill in the consultation and reject the proposed cuts at : consult.hertsdirect.org/bus-services/

” The Conservatives run the Council and often, in my view, ignore the consultation and just carry on regardless.  We need a massive response with the petition and consultation to reject these unfair cuts that hit the least able and mobile in our community. ” concluded Cllr Giles-Medhurst.

Liberal Democrats to Support New Rules to Provide Greater Choice of Retirement Pensions

July 21st, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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Pensions blogNew rules which would provide greater choice and more innovative pensions products, are expected to be announced this week.

The Coalition Government wants to encourage pension providers to develop new retirement income products that are tailored to the needs of the individual consumer and which offer more choice, freedom and flexibility.

The government is expected to publish its response to the consultation ‘Freedom and Choice in Pensions’ this week.

As part of its response the Coalition is expected to announce changes to the tax rules that govern the pension products firms can sell.

It is expected that the Coalition will announce the following intentions:

  • To allow people to receive varying levels of income throughout the lifetime of their annuity.
  • To allow lump sums to be taken from lifetime annuities where specified and agreed with circumstances – for example if care needs arise – providing certainty that the person’s income is flexible enough to meet sudden costs.
  • To change the rules regarding payments from annuities after death – so that people can buy products which will guarantee some of their income is returned to their family if they die.

This Weekend…

July 18th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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 19 July – 10:00 – 13:00 GOSH Charity Golf Coaching event

Every year Dave Marsden holds a charity golf coaching event at Berkhamsted Golf Driving range (Spring Garden Lane, off Shootersway HP4 3GY) where 100% of the donations go to Great Ormond Street Hospital. To book either the junior coaching or adult coaching please visit my website www.davemgolf.com
Childrens’ Event (Ages 5-15)      Admission charges:  no charge just donations on the day

Places on these lessons need to be booked in advance on website: www.davemgolf.com
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19 July – 13:00 – 23:00 Dacorum Folk Fest

A day of celebration throughout The Old Town Hall culminating in a headline concert in the main theatre. There will be arts and crafts stalls and free activities in the Arches Enclosure including Morris dancing, a local under 10 yrs ceilidh group, face painting, a folk singaround and an exciting choice of three ‘turn up and join in on the day’ session workshops for bluesy slide guitar, folk fans and acoustic guitar. Folkstock are presenting a selection of emerging stars from the acoustic folk and roots scene in an afternoon showcase followed by fantastic performances in the Acoustic Showcase Special. There really is something here for everyone! This event will be part of a day long celebration of the Old Town development works with food, drink, stalls and entertainment throughout the High Street. For more details and a timetable of events please visit www.oldtownhall.co.uk.

www.oldtownhall.co.uk
Admission charges:  Each showcase £5 Showcase pass for both £8 Evening headline concert £12, £10 concession Full Festival passport £17, £15 concessions
The Old Town Hall, High Street Hemel Hempstead HP1 3AE
Box Office telephone:  01442 228091
Email:  [email protected]
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19 July –  13:00 – 18:00  The Old Town Street Festival

Old Town High Street, Hemel Hempstead HP1 3AE – The Old Town High Street Festival on Saturday 19 July between 1pm and 6pm and see the improvements for yourself. Enjoy the music, stalls and entertainment for all the family along with performances, activities and workshops in the Old Town Hall’s Folk Fest. There will be something for all ages to enjoy as we celebrate the start of a new era for the High Street.

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20 July – 15:00 – 17:30 Abbots Langley Orchestra Summer Afternoon Concert

St Lawrence Church - High Street, Abbots Langley WD5 0AS

Wagner – Tristan and Isolde: Prelude to Act 3 Dvorak – Violin Concerto, op 53 Schubert – Symphony No. 4, “Tragic” Vaughan Williams – Prelude founded on the Welsh hymn tune “Rhosymedre This Summer afternoon concert features up and coming Irish violinist Ciaran McCabe.Exciting music in the wonderful historic setting of St Lawrence Church, complete with refreshments including Pimms.

Admission charges: £8 at the door. Children FREE
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