Chris White the Liberal Democrat candidate for Police & Crime Commissioner has said that if he is elected he will restore democratic control over the role. Currently meetings are mostly behind closed doors or in front of a pointless panel that has no real power.
Chris said "If I am elected there will be a committee of councillors from across the county invited to challenge my proposals and to agree, amend or oppose them. This will meet in public and its meetings will be available on webcam online."
Chris would also have meetings around the county at which members of the public will be able to express their concerns and feedback.
Chris concluded "The Police Commissioner needs to be brought out of his ivory tower and brought into the light, so the public can see & hear what is being done in their name with their money."
Sound Finance, Solid Experience - Chris White, Liberal Democrat Candidate for Police & Crime Commissioner in Hertfordshire
Chris White is Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on St Albans Council and has been a Hertfordshire county councillor since 1993. He has built a reputation as a formidable campaigner.
Anyone who thought the round of bus cuts brought about by yet another cut in financial support by the county council in February was now complete has had a rude awaking. Users in Codicote are up in arms about cuts there, and now the 366 from Hatfield and WGC to Luton is being abandoned on Saturdays, apart from a start of day and end of day journey.
Despite the county council constantly saying cross-county routes need to be improved, they are allowing this cross-county route to wither and die. Never mind that Luton is bigger than any town in Herts, nor that it has a major airport, nor that it has a well-supported football team drawing thousands, it is not important enough for a service from mid-Herts.
The official response from the county is that anyone wanting to get to Luton can change in Hitchin (via the once every 2 hours service) or via St Albans. What great idea - not.
County and borough councillor
The Conservatives running Herts County Council pushed through a cut of over 11% from the local highways budget of £90,000. This £90,000 was allocated to County Councillors to get local roads and pavements resurfaced that the County would not otherwise do. It's now been cut.
The cut was voted through at a County Cabinet meeting on Monday, at which no opposition members are allowed to speak. No mention was made of this cut in this year's County Council budget that the Conservatives voted through.
Liberal Democrat Group Leader Stephen Giles-Medhurst said: "The Lib Dem Team believes that local County Councillors should be given a greater say in what is done locally and the resources to get local roads and footways resurfaced not less.
"The biggest issue coming up on the doorsteps in the current election is the state of our roads and pavements - the vote on Monday is the Conservatives' answer to residents' concerns. No doubt residents will take note."
The plans by local train operator Govia for closing ticket offices outside the morning rush hour and relying on 'Station Hosts' has been rejected by both rail watchdogs, London Travelwatch, whose brief covers London and its surrounds out to Hitchin, and Transport Focus, which covers the rest of the Govia network.
London Travelwatch received over 8000 responses including almost 150 from WGC and Hatfield. They concluded 'In the light of the uncertainty and the additional feedback we have received, the Board felt that it was not able to support the proposals at the moment. It suggests GTR should develop a more considered proposal which could be piloted at a few carefully chosen stations.'
Transport Focus summed it up that they oppose the proposal.
Chris White has made a firm pledge to oppose any attempts to merge the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service with the Police Service.
Chris said: "It is high time we had evidence-based politics in this country - not centrally imposed dogma. The Fire Service is fine where it is - part of the County Council where it prevents and fights fires and undertakes rescues with consummate skill. Anyone who saw the magnificent performance at Buncefield a few years ago knows this.
"So if it ain't broke don't fix it - just because some Conservative special advisor in Whitehall has noticed that fire engines and police cars both have blue lights."
Chris added: "We need integration between services so that they work together. The creation of the Police and Crime Commissioner post has made working with other public services like councils and the NHS more difficult. Let's not make it any more difficult by removing the Fire Service from the control of local electors."
The Liberal Democrat group in Hertfordshire has submitted a motion to next week's County Council meeting condemning the record of the highway contractors employed by the Council since 2012.
Councillors state that there is a catalogue of issues which have caused irritation right across the county and are calling for a review of their record on the £40 million a year contract.
Cllr Malcolm Cowan who is seconding the motion said: "We are so fed up with the performance of the highways contractors - Ringway and others.
"Potholes are either being badly filled or ignored, reports of flooding are being treated as 'not a priority', faults are being ignored and improvement schemes are being delayed for the most trivial of reasons.
It is a huge catalogue of problems. Local taxpayers pay millions for these contractors to keep our highways repaired and operating. In fact the county council is having to pay extra in compensation and is paying twice for some faults."
Herts County Council are set to agree an emergency £3m programme to tidy up the sides of the county's highways - measures such as cleaning road signs , cutting back vegetation that obscures the signs, repainting white lines and clearing drains. But Liberal Democrat county councillor Malcolm Cowan says these are things the contractor should be doing anyway.
"Many of these are things local residents tell me are annoying them. Not repainting white lines is a safety issue, for example."
WGC's, if not Hertfordshire's most innovative bus shelter was finally open for passengers recently.
Situated near Sainsbury's in Church Road, WGC, it was the brainchild of local LibDem councillor Malcolm Cowan.
"I saw the large ornamental frame near the bus stop which I got put in a couple of years ago, and realised its flat top made it ideal to take a plastic sheet as cover and turn it into a bus shelter, at a fraction of the cost of a normal shelter, and with no visible impact."
The recent announcement by our rail company that they plan to close ticket offices at the stations such as WGC and Hatfield is worrying.
It is of course welcome that they hope to have staff available all the time the station is open, but the lengthy queues at our booking offices show that they provide a vital service which machines do not always do.
There are a host of tickets you can currently only buy at a booking office, such as:
- tickets for after tomorrow
- tickets for journeys from other than the purchasing station
- add-on tickets
- advance purchase tickets and reservations
- and others such as the little-known 50% off local journeys if you have a Herts or Beds bus pass