St Albans Local Elections 2019: Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Greens have their say
The main political parties in St Albans have outlined their priorities ahead of the local council elections next week.
Residents will be able vote in the elections next Thursday (May 2), with polls closing at midnight.
Local representatives of Conservatives, Lib Dems, Labour and the Green Party told the Herts Ad what areas they will be focusing on for the future of the city.
Chris White, Lib Dem councillor for St Albans Central and Clarence Ward, outlined his party’s key policies for this election. These are to turn the council into a significant housing developer in its own right and to invest in more local community facilities, especially in Sopwell where there are currently none at all.
They also vowed to commit to a carbon neutral council by 2030, eliminate single-use plastic, introduce Clean Air Zones and lobby for better pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.
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Cllr White said: “We will clear up the chaos caused by the Conservatives’ mismanagement of parking schemes, fight to protect the hospital facilities in St Albans (now that the Government has made it clear it will not fund a new hospital in this area), and step up efforts to clear up and prevent fly-tipping.
“The Liberal Democrats have continually highlighted the harm which would be done to the local economy by any form of Brexit, let alone a no deal Brexit, and continues to press locally and nationally for a People’s Vote.”
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Conservatives in St Albans are also focusing on protecting the environment and improving infrastructure.
Cllr Stella Nash, who was elected for Park Street last year, said: “Local Conservatives think every resident should have a decent home, at an affordable price and the chance to work locally.
“Council services that are delivered efficiently and at low cost. A greener, cleaner more sustainable environment. Better public buildings, with new sports centres, Museums and cultural centres and the first new social housing developments in a generation.
“Support for local businesses to help them grow and our high streets to thrive. A helping hand to the vulnerable, the homeless, those going through bad times, and families in trouble.
“Your local Conservatives will support your views on the big decisions taken outside the district that impact you: hospitals; school places; local NHS services; train timetables; incinerators built on our border and aircraft noise.”
A Labour Party spokesman highlighted the key issues of housing, health and social services, education and creating a sustainable environment.
He said: “It is an outrage that affordable council housing is not an option for the people of St Albans.
“What makes matters even worse is that the race for profit makes even the most modest of dwellings beyond the reach of any but the most privileged of young people.”
Speaking about the NHS, he said: “In one of the wealthiest towns in one of the richest economies on the planet, it is unacceptable that these services have been so diminished and inaccessible to so many people.
“It is an indictment of the way in which all aspects of education have been privatised that we have no control over the allocation of school places as the market runs riot – with children and young people as the victims. This has to stop.
“As society wakes up to the damage we are doing to the environment, this must be reflected by a local commitment to better public transport, coordinated to meet the needs of all.”
The Green Party also outlined their priorities for change in St Albans. St Peter’s ward candidate Jill Mills said: “Greens have a distinctive focus on local issues, we think that councillors have a duty to help prevent climate catastrophe and ensure a sustainable future for all species.
“We want smaller, smarter, affordable housing because that reduces the need to build on green spaces and helps people live more cheaply and sustainably, reducing the need for long journeys to work.
“We believe that essential services such as healthcare and public transport are a ‘common good’ and think the best way of delivering them is to keep them out of the hands of private profiteers.
“We want to change life for young people so they have better work, housing and travel opportunities and inherit a safer environment for their future.”