Monday, 15 December 2014

Have your say on the proposals for a Combined Authority

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council have provided the following information about the public consultation on the proposal for a Combined Authority:

Five local councils (Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees) are asking for your views on proposals to form a Combined Authority for the area covered by the above Councils. There is a package of information available on the Councils website which is available by clicking on here.

This includes:

·           A consultation document
·           Some frequently asked questions
·           A draft governance review
·           A copy of the 9th December 2014 Cabinet report
·           Press releases
·           Video

This sets out what the Combined Authority would do and what the local councils would continue to do. In summary, the Combined Authority would focus on economic growth and our ambition to create 25,000 new jobs for the area and would NOT recreate the former Cleveland County Council. We would like to hear your views on our proposal. So, please complete online questionnaire by no later than 31st January 2015. There is space for your own wording too. Alternatively, you can complete the survey online:

Once the consultation period has closed we will report the conclusions of the consultation to all five councils no later than March 2015. If feedback is supportive, we intend to formally ask each Borough Council to approve our ‘scheme’ in March, which is when we have to submit our proposal to the Secretary of State.

The Secretary of State will then carry out further consultation before placing an ‘Order’ before both Houses of Parliament. Because of the General Election in May 2015, this is likely to mean that the earliest chance to have the Order approved before both Houses of Parliament would be Autumn 2015.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Ian Swales MP secures flooding meeting for Residents

Following the devastating flooding around the Borough of Redcar and Cleveland in September 2013, Redcar MP Ian Swales has been pushing hard for residents to get answers from the responsible authorities.

Since the flooding, the council has been promising the take action to reduce the risk of future flooding. Northumbrian Water, SSI, the Environment Agency and local social housing providers also have a part to play.

A meeting has been arranged for Thursday 11 December from 6.30pm at Sacred Heart School, Redcar. All authorities will be represented and will be telling residents about the work they’ve been doing and their plans for the future.

All residents are welcome.

Commenting, Ian Swales said:

“It has been 10 months since I last arranged a public meeting and since then I have been pushing the authorities to take action and come up with a long term plan.

“The council has been promising the results of a hydrology study since March and it’s now time that they report the findings back to residents. I’ve been saying since day one that this will require drastic action and I now want to see it happen.”

Liberal Democrat Deputy Council Group Leader and Parliamentary Candidate for Redcar Constituency, Councillor Josh Mason said:

“Despite pressure from myself and Ian the council seem to have made little progress and seem to be hoping people will forget about the flooding last year.

“I have seen first-hand the devastating effects of the flooding on local residents and now want to see the relevant authorities come forward with a long-term plan that will reduce the risk of us ever having to experience anything like that again.”

Pictured: Ian Swales (left) and Josh Mason (right) in Marske visiting residents affected by flooding.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Ian Swales encourages community to have their say on the future of Redcar Post Office

MP for Redcar, Ian Swales is urging local people to get involved with the consultation to decide the future of Redcar’s Crown Post Office. Proposals put forward by the Post Office recommend relocation into WHSmith on Redcar High Street.

Alongside the six week consultation, a public meeting will take place on Wednesday 3rd December from 4-8pm at TunedIn, Majuba Road, Redcar. At the event, representatives from the Post Office will be available to discuss the proposals and the consultation process. Only about a third of the current building on Cleveland Street is occupied, forcing the Post Office to look for a more cost-effective alternative location.
Ian Swales commented:

“It’s vitally important that local people have their say on such important changes in the community. I have been contacted by a number of residents who are concerned about the proposed move and I am encouraging each and every one of them to get involved in the consultation to make their feelings known.

“I have a number of concerns about the proposed move which I will raise personally, and I would encourage local people to do the same.

“I will continue to work with Post Office management to ensure that vital services are protected and we get the best possible outcome for the town.”

Friday, 14 November 2014

Time to cut Council Tax, say Redcar Lib Dems

Figures uncovered by Liberal Democrats in the Borough of  Redcar and Cleveland suggest that there is enough spare cash in the council’s coffers to give residents a council tax cut in this year’s budget.

For the last three years, the council has turned down extra government grant to freeze council tax, instead hiking tax for local people. To make up for raising the tax in previous years, Liberal Democrats are calling on the Labour administration to use surplus reserves to give a tax cut this year – and still benefit from more than £600,000 a year in extra grant funding from the government.

Liberal Democrat Deputy Group Leader and prospective MP for the Redcar Constituency, Cllr Josh Mason commented:

“The council has easily enough funds in reserve to offer hardworking people a cut in council tax this year.

“For the last three years they’ve turned down free government money for freezing council tax, choosing to increase the burden on local householders instead.

“In tough financial times, when the government is cutting income tax and reducing fuel bills, it’s right that Labour should be doing more to help hard-pressed local people, not hiking up the cost of living.”

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Redcar Lib Dems demand an end to Labour budget gobbledegook

Liberal Democrats have slammed Labour Council bosses after it emerged that Redcar and Cleveland Council’s budget reports are by far the hardest to understand in the country.

The study by the Manchester Evening News declared the Council’s budget report more complex than Professor Steven Hawking’s ‘A Brief History of Time’.

According to a recent analysis which used four different measures to determine how difficult the budget report was to read, someone would need 22.5 years of education to understand the council’s papers, making it the equivalent of a university doctorate level text.

Steve Jenner from the Plain English Campaign described the contents as ‘gobbledygook’. Lib Dem Council Group Leader and Finance Spokesman, Councillor Glyn Nightingale, said:

“Professor Hawking will be relieved that his book is less taxing. "I knew something was wrong when, after I had read the budget reports, I picked up a book on nuclear physics for a bit of light relief!

“But there is a serious side to this. It is undemocratic. People should be able to understand what is being done by their elected councillors. Explaining things in a more complicated way than necessary excludes people.

“Labour’s Council bosses really need to get themselves on a Plain English course.

"Or is there some financial mismanagement that they want to hide?"

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Plans to build 320 houses in Ormesby refused

The Council’s Regulatory Committee by 6 votes to five has refused planning permission for 320 houses to be built on the Longbank Farm site in Ormesby.

Only Labour Councillors supported the application.

It’s a victory for the campaign by local residents and Lib Dem Councillors to protect green areas.
The Committee only gave three local residents and three councillors three minutes each to support refusal while the case in favour took 45 minutes.

Ormesby Councillor and Lib Dem Group Leader Glyn Nightingale said:

“It’s great that our efforts working local residents has kept our area’s open spaces free from totally inappropriate development. The impact on traffic, local schools and local amenities would have been devastating.”

Prospective Lib Dem MP for the Redcar Constituency Josh Mason commented:

“The Longbank Farm site is just one of the Labour Council’s favoured areas for house building on local green field sites. Residents don’t want this. The Liberal Democrats don’t want this. And I shall work with local residents to make sure this doesn’t happen. The Council should be protecting green field sites not ruining them.”

Pictured left to right: Councillor Ann Wilson, Councillor Irene Nightingasle, Councillor Josh Mason, Councillor Gluyn Nightingale.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Redcar Liberal Democrats select local man Josh Mason as successor to Ian Swales

During a hustings event in Redcar last night, Cllr Josh Mason was selected to take the reins from Redcar’s Liberal Democrat MP Ian Swales to stand for MP in the 2015 General Election.

Local man Josh, who is chair of the party, has worked very closely with Ian for the past 4 years supporting his campaigns for jobs, on flooding, against intrusive wind turbines, saving post offices and for better use of Redcar Hospital. 

Josh also sits on the board of Coast and Country Housing, is a local school governor, and represents Redcar’s Zetland Ward as deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats on Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council. 

Josh has spent the last four years campaigning hard against council waste. He has led calls to freeze council tax for the last three years and called for George Dunning’s resignation. Josh strongly opposed the council’s Draft Local Plan and has repeatedly campaigned for action to be taken on TunedIn, the council’s failing new youth facility.

Commenting on the announcement sitting MP, Ian Swales said:

“I am delighted that Josh Mason has been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the next General Election. I worked with Josh for over four years and it's no wonder that local politicians of all parties see him as the outstanding talent of the next generation. I will give him my full backing and think he can do an excellent job as our local MP.

“Our area is benefiting by having MPs with strong roots in the area. We can't go back to having Labour MPs dropped in from other parts of the country.”
After his selection Josh Mason commented:

“I’m thrilled to have been selected to stand in place of Ian Swales who has been a popular and hardworking MP.

“He will certainly be a hard act to follow but after working with him so closely over the years, I’m well aware of the constituency’s needs and feel well equipped to speak up for us locally and in Parliament.

“I grew up here, my family live here and I care deeply about the area’s future. I want to be an approachable, hardworking local MP and I will fight as hard as I can to ensure the best for our area.”