The Conservatives are committed to making the voice of the community heard.
Our priorities are:
- Lobby First Bus to reinstate 21 bus route – Thundersley Conservative Councillors have been lobbying first bus directly to restore the 21 bus route through Thundersley and have been going door to door with a petition. Your Thundersley Conservative Councillors have submitted a motion at the Council calling upon First Bus to restore service along the original route.
- Lobby Canvey Town Council to commit to fund the armed forces day parade this year - (Ask Owen for the details on this one)
- Canvey West Access Task Force to get a plan for a third access onto Canvey in place by next May - It's not enough to shout that we need it! Only the Conservatives are committed to getting a workable plan together to achieve it. The Canvey Island Independent Party has had both Canvey's seats on Essex County Council for five years and has made no efforts to get a third road for Canvey. We have run out of patience with them!
- We will continue to oppose the expansion of the OIKOS petrochemical storage site on Canvey
- We will work to build the business case for more resurfacing works for our roads and footways to Essex County Council - Most of the highways and footpaths were laid in Castle Point in the 1960s. All it takes is a short walk or drive along residential roads to show a lot of them are coming to the end of their natural life at the same time. We will work to construct a business case to present to Essex County Council, focusing on the economic benefits to the borough and a decrease in long-term maintenance costs for Essex County Council Highways, for a large scale program of relaying works for our local roads and footpaths.
- Continue to explore community ownership of the Paddocks Community Hall
- Across the country, local charities and trusts have a far better record at running community halls than local borough councils. We will continue to explore the transfer of the Paddocks Community Hall to the specially created Friends of the Paddocks Trust and welcome viable expressions of interest from any other local community groups who wish to run the hall for the benefit of the local community.
Help with the cost of living
- Create a Cost of Living Hub for local residents to get advice and support - Rises in the cost of living have hit everyone this year and every resident should have access to advice and support on how to cut costs and get all the support available to them. The Conservatives will set up a hub that every resident will have access to so they can get the support they need.
- Local Pension Credit Campaign - Recent research shows that pensioners across the UK are not claiming £1.2 billion in Pension Credit owed to them. We will launch a local campaign to ensure that every pensioner in Castle Point understands how to get access to the Pension Credit they are owed. We will also launch a local campaign to help ensure all those eligible for a Winter Fuel payment but don't receive them apply ready for the next Winter.
- Continue to pursue Gov grants for green energy and cutting the cost of heating homes - Over the past two years the Council has secured over £4.2 million in grants from the Government to insulate some of the most energy inefficient homes in the Borough. We will continue to actively work on securing these grants so more local residents can benefit from lower energy bills and so less carbon is released into our atmosphere.
The local plan and future development in our Borough
- Look at alternatives to the local plan - No Conservative Councillor proposed the adoption of the Local Plan and no Conservative Councillor voted for it when it came before the Council in March. We will work to make alternatives like the Blinking Owl Site by the A127 viable to ensure our local housing need is met whilst preserving the Green Belt sites residents value. We will not support any party bringing back the plan to the Council unaltered!
- Implement the Community Infrastructure levy despite independent opposition - We believe that when anyone wants to build a new building in our borough should pay an upfront charge to pay for improvements to local infrastructure, that must be payable before the building has been completed. The Conservative Council has submitted a fair plan based on solid evidence to the Government to do just that, despite opposition from both the People's Independent Party and the Canvey Island Independent Party. We are hoping to hear back from the Government in the early Autumn and will look to put the new Castle Point Community Infrastructure Levy in place as soon as possible.
- Standing condition of planning applications that applicants are responsible for grass verges and maintenance of footpaths outside of properties during the duration of building work - We will introduce a new standing condition for any approved planning application that requires the applicant to maintain the grass verge and footpath on the frontage of properties where building work is taking place.
Responsible spending, protecting front line services
- No inflation-busting council tax rises - We pledge not to increase the borough council's council tax precept by more than 2.9% or the rate of retail price inflation, whichever is lowest, for the next financial year. The Canvey Island Independent Party run Canvey Island Town Council increased their council tax precept by over 4% for this financial year. Another reason not to let a Canvey Island Independent dominated independent coalition not to run be in charge of setting your council tax next year!
- Protect front-line services - Councils across the country are facing reduced budgets and rising costs. We will work with other councils to cut costs and share back-office services to ensure there is no compromise in the quality of the front-line services we rely on every day. We will also work to transform and improve revenue generation from the Council's commercial assets and to secure more grants from the Government and other sources for specific projects. Services like bin collection, council housing, leisure and environmental health will be protected under the Conservatives.
- Keep the Council's books balanced - Since the Conservatives took over the Council we have presented a balanced council budget every year despite constant decreases in funding. This year independents have proposed millions in spending on Canvey Island without saying how they will pay for it. Neither of the Independent parties have pledged to protect front-line services and want to spend your hard-earned taxpayers money on vanity projects like looking into the feasibility of building a lido by the graveyard at Woodside. With every council facing increasing costs, it is more important than ever to balance the books and prioritise frontline services.
- · Making council business more transparent and accessible - We will make council business of the council more accessible to residents and reform the Council's constitution to ensure more decisions come before elected representatives and are not made by council employees. We will also publicly publish attendance figures for Councillors at council meetings and committees quarterly so you can batter hold your Councillors to account.
- Bring back the establishment of an Investigatory and Disciplinary Committee for Senior Officers to another vote - The Peoples Independent Party and the Canvey Island Independent party prevented the establishment of cross-party disciplinary, investigation and appeals committees for Senior Council Officers by voting in block against it and pledging to boycott the committees at a council meeting in November. We believe it is right that complaints against senior officers should be heard and decided by members and that it should be done in a fair and transparent way. We believe this was fundamentally undemocratic and that elected officials should have a fair and transparent mechanism to hold Senior Officers to account. We will bring the establishment of the committees back to a vote of the full council as soon as possible and seek the support of individual independent councillors rather than their party leadership.
A greener environment and better community spaces
- Summer events program at council parks to focus on families - Our local parks are fantastic assets for our Borough and we will pilot a program of events in our local parks in the summer holidays for local families and children.
- Support residents who want to plant trees or bulbs in grass verges - The planting of trees or flowers in grass verges can brighten up our local streets, provide habitats for local birds and wildlife, help prevent inappropriate parking and even slow down speeding drivers. We will fully support local residents with the process to seek permission from Essex County Council to plant in grass verges outside your house and help you plant them. We will also provide trees suitable for grass verges for free from the Essex Forrest Initiative and other local donors.
- Wilding more green spaces - As well as planting arranged bulbs and trees, we will also support residents who would like their local grass verges to be wilded to promote biodiversity. We will also look to see what further areas of our local parks and commons can be allocated for rewilding.
- Support for more local ' Community Speed Watch' volunteer groups in our towns - We will support the establishment of more local community speed watch groups across the borough with funds from the community safety partnership.
- Continue to support the work of local community groups and residents that make a difference to our environment. - These include Castle Point Clean-up Crew, the Castle Point Climate Change Forum, The Castle Point Wildlife Group, Baywatch and the Friends of Conchord Beach. The environment we live in is better for their hard work and we will continue to actively support them and work with them to improve and protect our environment still further.