Regular readers of my column will be very aware that the local Liberal Democrats – having made promises to protect the Green Belt when they came asking for your vote in May – are proposing to build thousands of houses on that same Green Belt.

And now – having campaigned against housing targets – are the major party with the highest national housing target in the UK.

On Thursday, December 7, voters in Redbourn, Sandridge and Wheathampstead will have the opportunity to pass judgement on those Lib Dem plans.

That’s when two by-elections will take place – a county council by-election caused by the imminent appointment of long-serving county councillor Annie Brewster to the office of High Sheriff of Hertfordshire; and a district council by-election, caused by a Lib Dem councillor resigning just seven months before the end of his term.

Now these by-elections will not change who runs any of our councils. But they do offer an opportunity for local people to send a message to the Lib Dems that our communities aren’t content with their plans to pave over our Green Belt.

They offer us a chance to show the Lib Dems that residents don’t share their leader’s view that Green Belt land is a “burden” on the plans of developers, but that it provides vital green spaces which our communities value.

And it is a chance our communities must take, because only by showing the Lib Dems that they cannot take the votes of local people for granted will we be able to get them to take real leadership and seek to seize the opportunity of the Government’s removal of housing targets to stand up to developers and protect our Green Belt.

Be in no doubt, if they win these elections, the Liberal Democrats will take that as an endorsement by our communities of their plans for thousands of houses in our precious countryside and green spaces.

I know Claudio Durán, the Conservative candidate for these elections, well. He is a proven campaigner and an experienced former parish councillor who lives in Sandridge and is passionate about representing his community.

I know he’ll make a fantastic champion for everyone in Redbourn, Sandridge and Wheathampstead – and I hope he can count on your support.