Update from Labour Group Leader on Colchester Borough Council, Cllr Tina Bourne
Wow it’s hot, MPs are on recess, some lucky people have managed to get on holiday abroad without quarantine while most of us are enjoying a Staycation. It almost sounds like a typical summer holiday. Except local councils are still delivering services, trying to make ends meet and getting to grips with the new ‘local lockdown’ powers handed down by government. Yes, the Tories have handed power to local authorities to decide whether to partial or fully lockdown neighbourhoods or the whole town/city. Leaving the decision to the Director of Public Health who relies on hopefully the most up to date data from hospitals/care homes/laboratories to spot any trends in infection rates and hotspots. COVID doesn’t care whether you are young, old, or even a socialist, it is an aggressive hunter and once it finds a host, it will attack. Preston City Council have announced measures this week and no doubt there will be more spikes to come, so while we are relatively relaxed in Colchester there is much work being done by Cllr Mike Lilley and Cllr Dave Harris to ensure that pubs and bars remain COVID-secure in order to keep their licence.
Cllr Adam Fox and Cllr Julie Young continue to ensure that the council passes on the business grants as swiftly as possible in order to keep our independent shops running, as we know this is what makes Colchester proudly different from other town centres.
The Labour Group of councillors are extremely concerned about the recent Planning White Paper. This radical overhaul of regulation and policy means councils lose the ability to set local policies. All planning policy will be set nationally! The Planning for the Future consultation (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/907647/MHCLG-Planning-Consultation.pdf ) has this pithy quote from Robert Jenrick MP, which tells you everything you need to know about where the Tories are coming from …
“These proposals will help us to build the homes our country needs, bridge the present generational divide and recreate an ownership society in which more people have the dignity and security of a home of their own.”
Housing and Planning regulations are complex, so here is an easy to read guide from a trade magazine that sets out 10 points about the white paper …
We will launch a Better Homes Campaign next week, where we feature some of the downside of the white paper proposals and make it clear what Labour in power means for social housing, sustainable housing and connected communities. It really does make a difference if you are on social media and can repost articles from the CLP Facebook or Twitter accounts. Remember, we do not have wealthy Tory benefactors to help pay for advertising space, nor the services of an MPs office, but we do have energetic, well read and conscientious Labour Party members in Colchester! We still are unable to knock on doors, so all our borough wide effort for the local elections 2021 are online at the moment, with a smattering of leaflets. Help us to build that profile and this will give us a head start in the autumn. The Tories in Colchester post all sorts of nonsense, it is a distraction from their government’s friendless policies that centralise control and remove democracy from our communities.
Have a good week and I hope to see you on social media soon.