Essex Chronicle asks: What are residents hoping for from their local councillors in 2019?
By Cllr Stephen Robinson in Essex Chronicle Series
Originally published by Brentwood Liberal Democrats
Most people will be looking to their councillors to deal with local issues that matter day to day. Unlike at Westminster, where key issues are being ignored due to them spending so much time and money discussing Brexit.
High on the list of local issues are problems with roads and pavements, consistently generating the most complaints. Essex Highways has decided to concentrate on main road repairs, so the side roads that we all use day to day have been neglected, as have pavements. The Liberal Democrats have proposed more cash for pavement repairs at the last few budget meetings but have been turned down by the Conservative majority.
With thousands more houses being built, we often hear residents saying (justifiably) that Conservative council bosses are too often letting developers get away with not providing the infrastructure that is essential to ensuring we build strong communities. Similarly, they are not building enough affordable housing, so young people in particular are priced out of their own communities.
The housing crisis also means that around 1000 families in mid/west Essex are homeless, often because a tenant loses their job and cannot afford rent. They are put into unsatisfactory, temporary housing by the council. Some more end up sleeping rough on our streets.
Councillors will also be supporting residents worried about Essex County Council plans to close 25 libraries and threaten 19 more. Libraries are essential community assets and about so much more than books. They should offer a wide range of services, that encourage more people into the libraries.
Liberal Democrats are running a petition against the closures at www.sx.lib.dm/library