Sunday, 30 October 2011

My week ahead 31 October - 6 November

Monday 31 October 6pm - Labour Group meeting

Tuesday 1 November 9am - Communities supporting our Armed Forces … our Armed Forces supporting their communities - conference in London

Saturday 5 November 10.30am - Campaigning in East Ipswich

Sunday 6 November 7pm - Labour Bonfire Night - Fund raiser

This week has seen further campaigning in St Margaret's, seen the occasional Tory out delivering leaflets but the Lib Dems seem to have given up or are very confident.

On Thursday I attended a meeting of the licensing committee at Ipswich Borough Council, one of our more important meetings this year as it gave us an opportunity to discuss the new Governments proposals for licensing (in short, it looks like it will be self regulation and only one of the committee thought this was an improvement on current legislation)

As it was such an important meeting it was very disappointing that 3 Tory councillors failed to turn up and did not even send in their apologies, now they are not in power seems that some of the Ipswich Tories have lost interest in attending meetings (and representing their constituents).

I was in London on Saturday so missed the Jools Holland concert at the Regent. Not only was it disappointing to miss Jools but this was the event where we launched Ipswich Borough Council's partnership with 'Tickets for Troops'. This will enable members of our Armed Forces to enjoy free tickets for events at the Regent and the Corn Exchange. A number of soldiers and their partners from the Army Air Corps at Wattisham were the first recipients of tickets from this scheme.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Glen Chisholm - The man for St Margaret's Ward - Ipswich

GLEN CHISHOLM WANTS TO BE AN IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCILLOR. This may seem obvious. Why else would he stand for election in St Margaret's ward on 10th November?

But when you know how this by election came about, perhaps it is not so strange that this is an issue in this election. Back in May, St Margaret's ward elected a Tory councillor for the first time since 1998. Within four months she had resigned from the Council.

Local Tories tried to hide the reason she had resigned, citing "personal reasons", but Mrs Stokes was prepared to go on the record. She has told the Evening Star that she was misled into standing by Ipswich Conservatives, who did not make her aware of the commitment involved, told her she would not win and left her almost completely unsupported as both a candidate and a councillor. Ipswich Tories have cost the Council Taxpayers of Ipswich £10,000 through this unnecessary by election. They do not deserve your support.

The Tory candidate is Stephen Ion - now the Tories will make a big deal of Stephen living in the ward, but after losing there in 2010, he jumped ship to Rushmere ward (where he lost again) and the Tory leaflets kept going on about how he has been working tirelessly for Rushmere residents - so where does his loyalty lie?

Labour's Glen Chisholm has done his research. He attended a non-partizan training event organised earlier in the year, and after deciding that he has something to offer, he spoke to Labour councillors about his next steps. He actively campaigned in Whitehouse and Whitton wards earlier in the year, helping Stephen Connelly win Whitton for Labour, for the first time since 2002, and Martin Goonan to massively increase Labour's share of the vote in a ward the Conservatives had hoped to win. He has been an active campaigner against Tory cuts to school crossing patrols, libraries and legal aid.

Glen was born and brought up in Ipswich attending local schools and Suffolk College, before working for a local insurance company. He previously served our community as a Special Constable for five years. Glen will not let you down.

I was one of 4 councillors from different political groups who spoke to members of the public interested in being councillors at an event held in the town, I am glad that I never put Glen off and that he thought the Ipswich Labour Party best represented the views of someone born and bred and living and working in this great town - Vote Gen Chisholm on the 10th November

Monday, 24 October 2011

Taking Decision Making Closer to the People

The Tory/Lib Dem coalition talk about their 'localism' agenda, but in reality all we have seen is Eric Pickles telling councils when they must empty their bins, or on the other hand we are told 'localism' will mean more say for communities but in reality again it means we will allow developers able to build what they want, where they want.

In Ipswich we have for a number of years tried to enable the local community to have more say in local decisions, we currently have area forums, these have had success in getting information over to local residents but they have not had any real power. Councillors have attended but not been put in a position where they can answer to the public for the deeds they have carried out. There has been money available to each forum area but both local councillors or residents have had no real say in how that is spent. Ipswich Labour had seen the influence of the forums wane under the last Tory administration where it seemed the power just sat in the hands of one person- not even the leader but John Carnall.

We have now started changing that, we have already seen the all party working groups have their first meetings, the one I attended worked well. It gave backbench councillors an opportunity to have a say in policy, and that was backbench councillors from all 3 party's. It was then slightly disappointing that the Tories did not attend two of the working groups.

Labour are keen to hear what local residents think about these new proposals, including area forums being replaced by area committees -Here is the statement from IBC.

Ipswich Borough Council is looking at ways of moving power closer to the people through an ambitious programme to give communities a real say.

"We are looking at options for devolving decision-making to the local level," says the Leader of the Council, Councillor David Ellesmere.

"This would involve ward councillors working with community groups, businesses and residents on a wide range of services, based geographically on the five existing forum areas.

"In order to deliver this, we have published for consultation a paper entitled 'Taking decision-making closer to the people'."
Among its key proposals are:

Developing local Area Committees to devolve specific powers to ward councillors.
Giving councillors more opportunities to be informed by residents and users on how services can be improved through Panels.
Giving backbench councillors a role in developing policies and advising the Executive on its forward plans through active Working Groups.
Making better use of new technology including websites, social networking and Twitter; to reach and engage new people and improve services.
Reducing the number of other meetings that take place, as we seek to focus decision and policy making in these new and cost effective bodies.

Councillor Ellesmere added: "I believe these changes could make a real difference to how Ipswich is run. They would enable councillors of all political parties to take a more active part in the running of the council and better able to represent their constituents."
More information is available in the report Taking Decision Making Closer to the People. Comments must be received by 11th November 2011 and should be submitted by email to or by post to:

Councillor David Ellesmere
Ipswich Borough Council
Grafton House
15-17 Russell Road

Sunday, 23 October 2011

My week ahead 24 - 30 October

Monday 24 October 4pm - Meeting with officers, discussing culture in Ipswich
Thursday 27 October 9am - Licensing meeting - Grafton House

Not many meetings this week but that leaves plenty of time to join residents in their campaign to stop the Golden Key becoming a supermarket and also helping with the Labour campaign in St Margaret's Ward.

The week just gone has also seen plenty of time spent campaigning in St Margaret's but also time to work on issues concerning Rushmere Residents,on Sunday the 16th October, I met local residents outside the Candy Box in Woodbridge Road as they handed over a petition against the planning proposal that would see the Golden Key pub becoming a site for a supermarket. An hour later along with Labour colleagues we met an even larger group of residents who are very concerned that a supermarket may be built next to what is a major road junction.

The evening was spent at a Labour fundraising 'Harvest Supper' - great food, good company but no quiz!

Monday saw North East Ipswich councillors meet the local police to talk about police priorities for the area.

Wednesday was meeting day - 3 of them - starting with planning, the committee turned down a proposal for a building development in Levington Road - more here. In the afternoon I met the manager of the Regent Theatre to discuss 'Tickets for Troops' and then the day finished off with a meeting of the Leisure and Culture Working Group where we discussed the savings we will have to make next year. It was good that both Tory and Lib Dem councillors contributed towards the discussions, something that was not even permitted under the last Tory/Lib Dem administration. It is far more democratic to allow all councillors to have an input, slightly disappointing that no Tory Councilor was able/or could be bothered to attend a similar working group about housing.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Thatcher and friends!

Those in the Tory supporting media and even Tories closer to home have enjoyed going on about Tony Blair and Gordon Brown meeting Gaddafi, or as they put it being friends of Gaddafi. An example here from Tory supporting blog 'A Riverside View'.

But I was surprised that our local Tory MP, Ben Gummer even linked Blair, Brown and Gaddafi in one of his tweets,

Now all national leaders often have to meet, shake hands and discuss issues with people they would rather not even have to spend 10 seconds with. As an ex soldier I still find it hard to see politicians of all sides having to meet and talk with the likes of Gerry Adams and Gerry Kelly. But I also know by doing that it has helped cement peace in Northern Ireland.

Mrs Thatcher and General Pinochet - actually forget that she probably enjoyed meeting him (as many other Tories would) but even Ipswich Tories and Ben Gummer may not be so happy to be reminded of this photograph.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

The Levington Road problem

Planning issues have been the topic of a number of posts on various Ipswich political blogs recently, a number of these posts have been about the proposal to turn the Golden Key into a supermarket but two of the Tory supporting blogs have had an identical post about a planning application to build a bungalow in Levington Road.

Nothing wrong with that you may think? That is what political activists should do, inform residents of local issues that they may be interested in. But what has annoyed me with these two Tory posts is the assumptions, some may even say accusations made by a senior Tory councillor- someone who should know better.

The same post by Cllr Liz Harsant is published on both the Ipswich Politics and A Riverside View blogs. The post is a copy of her Evening Star column that was in the paper this Tuesday (18th October) but this is where it starts to go wrong. It seems after sending her column to the local paper she handed it over to one of her Tory colleagues to place on their blog, the post went up on the two Tory supporting blogs a week before it appeared in the paper. You would have thought they would have at least waited till the article had been printed, especially as the post is date sensitive, referring to a planning meeting that will take place tomorrow (the 19th). It makes you wonder if Nadia Cenci or Kevin Algar even read it before putting it up on their blog.

But the Evening Star decided not to publish all Cllr Harsant’s article and though it has the item about the bus shelter on Nacton Road, the ‘Star’ decided not to print the item about the Levingon Road planning application. I am not sure if that was because there was not enough room on the page or if they thought the article may be not what was expected from a senior councillor.

I have printed below the article so you can read it:
So tomorrow we will know the outcome of another application which has been submitted to the Planning Department for a bungalow at the rear of 34 to 40 Levington Road and using part of 36 and 38 Levington Road. A precedent was set back in June this year when an application for a bungalow was approved further up Levington Road towards Felixstowe Road in spite of the residents fighting against this for over 6 years – can you imagine their dismay when this was agreed. So my prediction that this would happen again is about to come true – we shall soon have another street between Levington and Salisbury Road! The site in question had some lovely trees on it and suddenly overnight the developer cut them all down. The residents are very distressed by this as many of them saw what they believed to be a bat roost in there. I am told by the Planning Officers that it is the Wildlife and Countryside Act that offers protection to any protected species and any offences under the Act are criminal offences to be dealt with by the police rather than the local planning authority. So we shall see but it is strange that biodiversity is important along the greensward on Nacton and Clapgate Lane but not important at the rear of these properties. Let’s hope the Planning Committee listen to the residents’ concerns this time. The application will be heard tomorrow Wednesday October 19th at Grafton House.

Now from the tone of the article it seems to me that Cllr Harsant is implying that she thought a decision had already been agreed on before the planning application had been heard by the committee, now as a senior councillor she should know better than most that planning decisions should not be political and certainly not decided on before the meeting. That has certainly been the way it works since I have been a substitute on planning and quite often we find ourselves as Labour Councillors not always voting together. Cllr Harsant repeated again that she thought the decision had already been made when she gave her comments at the planning meeting. Now I am sure many of the public think that planning is dealt with behind closed doors but it is not, I have never heard of a planning decision being made by a group before the meeting, certainly not by the Labour Group. She also implied that many of the residents, especially some of the more elderly were not happy with the way the property company had behaved – that should be a police matter not something that the planning committee should or could deal with. Cllr Harsant was also concerned about a possible bat living in one of the trees, I am glad she seems to be now caring about our local wildlife as she certainly did not seem to display the same passion for protecting wildlife when she gave the reasons behind the last Tory administration’s plan to sell off Kiln Meadow.

Anyway for all of Cllr Harsants predictions, on Wednesday the application was refused by the planning committee. (However, Christchurch can appeal against our decision, in which case an Inspector will investigate the case and make a final decision.)
But the posts by Cllr Harsant all seem to be part of a tactic to blame the Labour administration for building on back gardens and any small available space in East Ipswich.

We need to correct that misleading impression that Labour committee members have supported building on backland plots in Levington Road. This was not the case on Wednesday. Nor was it the case on any of the occasions where Christchurch Property applied to build on a similar backland plots behind 8-18 Levington Road.

In reality, Labour have consistently led the arguments against every application (and in every case, against the council officers’ recommendations.) The planning committee won two appeals against Christchurch Property. In the end the committee were left with no planning reasons for refusal, and planning committee members of all political parties voted for the single bungalow behind 34-40. Nobody was happy about this, but it was better than Christchurch’s first application – a row of terraced houses and chalet bungalow.

However, Labour members were so worried by this attempt by a developer to build what amounted to another, unplanned street in between two roads, Levington and Salisbury, that in 2009 we added a proposal into the Council’s Local Development Planning Framework. We wanted to give the local authority the power to refuse applications like Christchurch’s. We actually called it the ‘Levington Road problem’ because this was the place where we had found ourselves, in the end, without strong enough planning reasons to refuse an application nobody wanted except the developer.

We are also very worried by the government’s new National Policy Planning Framework (which has been described as a ‘developer’s charter’), and by local Tory MP Dan Poulter’s comments – he thinks there should be more building in places like East Ipswich because he doesn’t want any building on North Ipswich. As we know, this means more houses crammed into places like Levington Road – which already have enough houses and people and traffic.

Purple Book Tour - comes to Ipswich

Good news for Labour members in Ipswich - Progress have chosen Ipswich as one f their locations for their Purple Book Tour, it seems we are the only political party in Ipswich that is interested in political debate.

With the launch of The Purple Book, Progress are going round the country to debate the ideas it contains. These events will give local members a chance to hear from authors of The Purple Book about their chapter and discuss the wider theme of the book, redistributing power. In particular, the event will explore, whether or not Labour should get back in touch with its decentralising tradition and if so how it should achieve this.

Progress will be in Ipswich between 7:30-9pm on the 7 December 2011 in Ipswich Library Lecture Hall (Northgate Street IP1 3DE)


•Author: John Woodcock MP
•Author: Richard Angell (Progress)
•Speaker: Cllr David Ellesmere (Ipswich PPC)
•Speaker: Cllr Carina O’Reilly (Cambridge)
•Chair: TBC
Sign up for the event here
Buy your advance copy of The Purple Book here:

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Not another supermarket

Today I joined local residents and other Labour colleagues at the Golden Key pub in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich.
Not in the pub for a lunchtime drink or a Sunday campaigning session but to join residents in protesting against the plan to turn the Golden Key pub into yet another supermarket. Rumours abound that Tesco are the supermarket chain who wish to buy the site from Greene King.

If you wish to know more about the planning application visit the Ipswich Borough Council website here and the application reference is 11/00740/FUL

Time is running out and submissions have to be in by the 17th October (tomorrow)

Cllr Alasdair Ross, speaking to residents

But this is only the start of our campaign to stop this development. we are not just against supermarkets or Tesco, but we are fortunate in Rushmere, Bixley and St John's that we have such a variety of small shops in our wards. This development could see the end of our little row of shops on Woodbridge Road

Friday, 14 October 2011

Portman Road- safer under IBC rather than in the hands of club owner.


The last generation has seen a common theme amongst a number of football clubs – a new owner arrives, acquires the ground from the local authority (if they need to), and then looks to sell the land for a significant profit, while either not building an alternative, or being financially assisted by multinational companies to build a replacement on greenbelt land, in an out of town location, in order for the multinational companies to capitalize on the land losing its greenbelt status.

This summer, Brighton & Hove Albion finally moved into their new ground, fourteen years after their owners sold the Goldstone Ground, without buying a replacement (the site is now a retail park), instead agreeing a deal to ground-share with Gillingham FC, over seventy miles away.

The last decade at Wrexham has seen a number of property developers look to acquire the club, purely with a view to being able to sell the well located Racecourse Ground. It has only been in the last month that their fans have been able to engineer a deal to buy their club in order to secure their future.

If we look at the current financial turmoil at Plymouth Argyle, we see a club that just two seasons ago were preparing to host Ipswich in a Championship fixture, yet today sit at the bottom of the football league, in administration, with the future of their Home Park ground as key as the future of the club itself. The Pilgrim’s largest debt is that owed to the mortgage company that funded the recent improvements of the ground, and attempts to sell the club have revolved around the future of the ground, with the original preferred bidder seemingly intent on passing the club on (but not the ground) for a nominal fee, as soon as they purchased the club.

Ipswich Town have always been a fortunate Club in terms that they own all of the buildings on the land that the ground is situated on, yet the land itself is owned by Ipswich Borough Council. Such a situation has always protected the club from property developers and asset strippers, because the value is in the land, and not the fixtures and fittings situated on that land. However, over the last 24 hours, news has surfaced that Simon Clegg has again confirmed that the club had offered to purchase the land that the Club is situated on. Such a deal would put us in the same situation as those other clubs who have been forced out of their homes in the past.

These words may seem alarming, but with an owner who has talked to the fans on just a handful of occasions since he acquired the club four years ago, it is impossible for us to know his intentions – and those of his successors. Marcus Evans may be looking out for the best interests of the Club, in light of the current disagreement between the club and Ipswich Borough Council, but having seen so many clubs lose their homes through the actions of an unaccountable owner, we have to consider all options, even if those options may not come to pass for years, or even decades. However, if the Club buys the land, any attempt to stop a future sale of the land for personal profit will be at best difficult - which is why we have to speak up while the land is still owned by the Council.

Instead of changing the ownership or freehold status, we instead call on the Club, having resolved the current rent dispute, to look to the long term future and withdraw from attempting to buy the ground. Moreover should the Club continue to pursue this avenue, we call on the Council to stand firm and refuse all offers, regardless the temptations to cash in on such an asset at a time of austerity.

In amongst this story, the comments we find most disappointing are those from Simon Clegg regarding the suggestion that he may need to increase the cost of season tickets to cover the extra rent. The Club already has one of the most expensive ticket policies within the division, and for a Club that has an annual turnover of around £15million, £111,000 per year rent is not excessive (we are aware of higher private rents for much smaller buildings on the edge of town), and is less than 0.7% of the staff costs for the last year of annual accounts. In the current climate, Ipswich Borough Council, like most councils up and down the country has reduced funding from central government, and at a time when local public services and jobs are at risk, the Council and local taxpayers should not be subsidising private business activities.

The Committee

Ipswich Town Independent Supporters Trust

13th October 2011

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Suffolk Mobile Library Service

Suffolk Mobile Library Service - last chance for you to have your say on the future of the service.

Consultation ends on October 16th 2011, just under a week to go.

Suffolk County Council are now consulting the public on the Mobile Library service, and how savings can be made.

More information can be found on the consultation and the consultation paper can be found online here, or in paper in any public library.

In the 2010 Modernisation Review of Public Libraries, Suffolk’s mobile service was shown as an example of best practice in the ‘Stronger Communities’ section, noting that the mobile service

“has longer stops for community activities allowing other advisers and services to reach rural communities. New satellite dishes on the vans provide full online use of the internet and the library catalogue’.

Will leave the last line to those great campaigners from Rosehill Library:

Mobile libraries are a lifeline to those who can’t easily make it to a public library, hopefully the Council will carry out this consultation with more grace and intelligence than the full library consultation.

My week ahead 10 - 16 October

Monday 10 October 4pm - Meeting about Ipswich Museum
6pm - Labour Group Meeting

Thursday 13 October 6pm - Scrutiny meeting - Ipswich waterfront

Saturday 15 October 10.30am - Campaigning North Ipswich

Only one council meeting this week, a scrutiny meeting that just seemed to be an opportunity for certain Tory councillors to make political statements, seems all the good work carried out by scrutiny under the chairmanship of Gavin Maclure will be forgotten as the Tories just see scrutiny as a way of making cheap political shots. More about the meeting here.

Spent a couple of mornings campaigning in St Margaret's Ward, we may not have won the seat since 1919! But there was a positive reaction from most residents we spoke to, the Lib Dems will find it hard to get back to the level of support they used to have in the ward.

Thursday was a meeting of the Suffolk Fabians, a debate on what history can teach us about the future of Europe. Not sure I agreed that we needed a system based on Athenian democracy but an interesting debate never less. Great to see a large attendance and such a vast spread in age of those participating. The Fabians in Suffolk have a bright future.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Scrutiny call - in - Locality budgets

Ever since I was elected to be Rushmere Ward councillor, I have sat on Overview and Scrutiny. The first three years were as a member of the opposition. The first two years were wasted as the chair of Scrutiny used the committee for his own personal reasons. Then along with most of the Tory/Lib Dem Executive failed to turn up for training. Scrutiny improved in 2010 under the chair of Gavin Maclure. We saw the use of task and finish groups and we managed to achieve results and even undertook joint scrutiny with the County Council.Gavin even seemed as critical of the Tory executive as we were at times.

But much of scrutiny was taken up with call-ins. We, the Ipswich Labour Party Group found the call-in procedure the only way to get our message over as we were refused a seat on the executive (even though we were the largest party).

This week we had our first taste of a call-in by the Tory opposition, some may say time we learnt how it felt to have a decision called in, the difference of course is that the Tories were offered a seat on the executive but refused to take it up.

There is also another difference with Scrutiny under Labour, as is recognised 'best practice', we have given the chair of scrutiny to the opposition.

This call-in was about the Labour decision to stop the implementation of locality budgets for Borough councillors.

Tory councillor Nadia Cenci called in the decision and gave her reasons on her blog. Though they may no longer be in a coalition in Ipswich, she seemed to be supported by the Ipswich Lib Dems - here.

There main argument seems to be now they feel Libraries in Ipswich are safe and that we have also been told that we will retain all our school crossing patrols, the money Ipswich Labour put aside is not needed. They even got Tory County Leader Mark Bee and Ben Gummer to meet the press at Rosehill Library and plead for the locality money to be introduced as they never meant to close any libraries.

Well first off Mark Bee would have been better off using his talk with the press to call on his fellow Waveney Tory councillor Andrew Draper to resign after assaulting a police officer. But we still wait to hear him mention that but what Cllr Bee also forgot to mention is that we are still waiting for the re-introduction of school crossing patrols at Alan Road and also near Sprites School.

We will also not even know till November, when the Tory County Cabinet sits that the libraries have been saved.

But let's say that they are safe, of the £240,000 saved by not introducing locality budgets, £186,000 was to go into IBC reserves. That money is still needed as we have found gaps in the last Tory budget including not receiving as much money from the Tory Government in the form of the 'New Homes Bonus' as the Tory budget had us down to receive. So it is only sensible to keep that money in reserve.

Cllr Cenci gives her view of the meeting here, not so much a report on the meeting but just her opening statement. After she and Cllr David Ellesmere had given their views it was then a question and answer session. Big difference to Tory run scrutiny is that the questions came from both sides. Under the Tories only Cllr Debman used to ask questions with the remainder of the Tories sitting still then voting against Labour at the end.

Paul Geater from the Evening Star was at the meeting so Tories, Liz Harsant and Kim Stroet decided instead of asking questions to make prepared political statements. We did eventually get down to some serious questioning with Cllr Cenci creating some laughter with her answers about council reserves and Labour propaganda.

Then when that part of the meeting was over, and the press had left. We should have then debated the decision and there is a debate needed. For example, should even County Councillors still have locality budgets when the County is about to shut care homes and close Youth clubs?

But there was no debate, the Tories put it straight to a vote- with Liz Harsant stating, 'now the press has gone let's just get on with it'.

This statement more than any showed that the whole meeting had been a charade, they had no interest in debating the decision. The vote was lost and locality budgets will not be introduced this financial year.

There was also a sub plot - big hitting Tory, Judy Terry is a member of scrutiny but a sub replaced her. Instead we expected to see Judy Terry be called to give evidence as a County Cabinet member with the responsibility for libraries. But she never turned up - I asked Cllr Cenci, why? The answer given was that she had been advised not to turn up. 'By whom?' I asked. Cllr Cenci said she did not know who by.

So Ipswich Conservative group, two questions:

1. Who advised Cllr Terry not to turn up?

2. Why did she take that advice, has she something to hide?

Sunday, 2 October 2011

My week ahead 3 - 8 October

Monday 3 October 6pm - Campaigning in North East Ipswich

Wednesday 5 October 6pm - Scrutiny, Call in of decision to delay paying of locality budgets

Thursday 6 October 7pm - Fabians meeting - Debate on Europe

Saturday 8 October 10.30am - Campaigning all over Ipswich, focus on Tory plans for NHS

Only one meeting this week but an important one as we looked at the plan to manage the refurbishment of Crown Pools, making sure that we look after those who have used Crown Pools regularly over the last few years.

We have also started campaigning hard in St Margaret's Ward, Ipswich. Maybe not our most fertile area for votes but have had some excellent contacts with local residents. Many seem to be keen to vote for us as they feel they have been badly let down by the Lib Dems, issues such as tuition fees are important to many in St Margaret's and they are not willing to allow the local Lib Dems to distance themselves from the decision that Clegg and his colleagues made to vote for Tuition fees at Westminster. Even Tory voters were keen to talk to us, as they are confused what the Tory policy is on building on the Northern Fringe. The Tory Government seem to be saying developers can build anywhere, Dr Poulter said it does not mean this and even the local Tory Cllrs seem split one what should happen. We still wait for Ben Gummer to make a public statement on the issue.

One thing for certain is that most residents have not got a clue what the Tories plan is for developing this part of the town and maybe the Tories are not even sure themselves!