05:13PM, Wednesday 10 April 2019
It is ‘time to demand better’.
That’s the call from Windsor and Maidenhead Liberal Democrats as the party launched its manifesto for the local elections this week.
It lays down seven key pledges, which include championing the use of 21st century technology and the needs of families, helping the homeless get back on their feet and a plan to ‘restore local democracy’.
Also set out is its desire to build affordable and social housing directly ‘with designs that preserve and enhance wildlife’ and repairing the roads with ‘long-term solutions rather than quick fixes’.
A vow to continue their ‘long history of tackling crime and grime’ and turn town centres ’into community hubs which are not just about shops’ are also included.
Lib Dem chairman Simon Werner said in his foreword to the manifesto that the Lib Dems ‘can deliver’.
“In doing so, we will always ensure that we protect the most vulnerable in our society first, and work to make our borough more equal,” he said.
This includes ‘fair funding across all schools’.
Also on schools, the Lib Dems ‘will fight against the reintroduction of selection’ to the Royal Borough ‘and support our wonderful comprehensive and free schools’.
On the subject of the draft Borough Local Plan (BLP), the Lib Dems believe it is in ‘serious trouble’.
It would seek to ‘develop a BLP that will gain public support and the approval of the planning inspector’.
It also said that, for the last 12 years ‘the state of the borough’s finances has deteriorated’ although ‘insufficient information’ on the council’s finances makes it ‘impossible for opposition groups to come up with an alternative budget’.
The party pledged ‘to not increase council tax above inflation’.
Also mentioned in the manifesto is the Lib Dems’ national campaign ‘to raise an additional £6b in income tax to help save the NHS and social care services’.
Speaking on Wednesday,Cllr Simon Werner (Lib Dem, Pinkneys Green) said: “It’s about the residents first, putting them in charge of the council rather than the council making all the decisions.
“It’s actually involving the residents in making those decisions. There’s a huge amount of knowledge out there.”
This includes seeing residents on the scrutiny panels.
He added: “The Borough Local Plan (BLP) is an utter disgrace, the residents have been completely left out of the process and one of our main criticisms is that the residents haven’t been involved.
“It’s their borough, it belongs to them.”
Looking after the boroughs parks and the roads are also high on the party’s priority list.
He said: “As people in Pinkneys Green know, I’m passionate about parks and making sure they’re looked after.
“It’s also about the state of the roads, the council seem completely incapable of fixing roads properly.
“They look for the cheap option, that never lasts, in everything they do.”
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