Bexley Conservatives – 2016 in Review

Ray Sams and the Bexley Council Conservative team celebrate victory in St Michael's

2016 has been another busy year for your Bexley Conservative Councillors and another year where positive action has succeeded in delivering results for residents.

Read our review of the year.

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January

Works to create junction improvements and improved pedestrian access on Northend Road in Erith commenced. It followed support for the project from residents and was able to go ahead after the Council secured money from Boris Johnson, the then Conservative Mayor of London.

A new project, Beat, aimed at helping Bexley residents get active and reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes was launched with a series of health check roadshows across the Borough. The campaign was particularly aimed at people aged 40-70, and those who met the criteria were able to receive a full NHS Health Check.

The Council joined with other partners to press the Government for a commitment to develop Crossrail’s extension from Abbey Wood to Gravesend.

Bexley’s Conservative Council secured £2million of investment for Erith, to enable major improvements to get underway. The funding was signed off by then Conservative Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

Did you know that your Conservative Councillors have delivered investment to repair 300 miles of roads?

February

The first stage of delivering the Bexley Conservative manifesto commitment to cut the number of Councillors got underway. The Independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England published its initial proposals for new wards and reducing the number of Councillors in the Borough. Bexley’s Conservative Group was elected in 2014 with a clear commitment to reduce the number of Councillors – the only group of Councillors in the UK to voluntarily seek to reduce their number. The proposals seek to cut the number of elected representatives by 30%.

Bexley’s Conservative Cabinet confirmed plans to create a brand new playground in the heart of Belvedere, a facility that would be open all year round, and open to all. The new playground will particularly have features for people with disabilities or special needs. The local Labour Councillors fully back the Conservative scheme.

Did you know that under Bexley Conservatives, 1,673 food premises are monitored for safety and hygiene, so you can eat out with confidence?

March

It was announced that the Conservative Council project to repair the Bexley Village Bridge would be completed a month earlier than initially announced.

Bexley’s Councillors approve the budget for 2016/17 which will see £235million spent on providing services to residents. The meeting where the decision was approved saw Labour Councillors not only vote against investing in public services. It also saw them all argue with each other in public during the meeting, defying calls by their Chief Whip for a roll call vote. The webcast clip of one Labour Councillor turning around and shouting at another one went viral.

Erith had another boost from the Conservatives, after a further £4million of investment was secured.

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Bexley Council Conservatives secured a huge investment for Erith

500 young people attended the Council’s Apprenticeship event.

Did you know your Conservative Council maintains over 20,000 street lights? 

April

Bexley’s brand new Community Libraries started to open. Run by local community groups and organisations, the libraries provide a distinctive service to the communities where they are based. They sit alongside the Council run libraries, and taken together, means, unlike many Councils, this means Bexley has not needed to close any local libraries.

The Full Council meeting focused on a debate on the special needs agenda, highlighting the completion of the Pathfinder project, the success in keeping more children in their local community and recognising the establishment of a specialist autistic school.

The People Overview and Scrutiny Committee examined the ongoing plans for the Queen Mary’s Hospital site, and discussed the redesign of Children’s Services.

  • Did you know that Bexley has been the number one Borough in London for recycling for 12 years?

May

The Annual Council saw Cllr Eileen Pallen elected as the new Mayor of Bexley.

The new bridge through Bexley Village opened two months earlier than planned. The construction of the new bridge – funded by the then Conservative Mayor of London, Boris Johnson – was a significant project, which was complicated by the discovery of a rusted Thames Water main that, if left alone, could have flooded the entire village.

Cllr Gareth Bacon AM was elected as the new Constituency London Assembly Member for Bexley and Bromley, taking over from James Cleverly MP.

Five new units of semi-supported accommodation for people with learning disabilities opened near Danson Park. This £110,000 investment will support people with learning disabilities to live independently, and is being managed by MCCH, a charity that works with people who have learning disabilities, autism or mental health needs.

  • Did you know Bexley’s schools are rated as among the best in the country?

June

Ray Sams was elected to represent St Michaels Ward in a key bey-election.The Conservatives were the only party to run a solely positive campaign, focusing on the issues that mattered to residents, instead of the typical negative campaign run  by the Labour Party – indicative of their ‘Nasty Party’ label. The Labour Councillors had boasted how they were going to “win big” in this election…

The election was held after Cllr Joe Pollard stood down after a decade of public service to take a new job abroad.

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The positive Conservative election campaign was endorsed by voters while those who focused on negative and nasty campaigning were humiliated.

Your Conservative Council began work to manage the number of homes being converted to houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). The Council focused on a range of new controls to take firm control of the issue and ensure that smaller properties that are converted to HMOs provide suitable accommodation and reduce the risk that they create problems for other residents.

  • Bexley has not just the lowest rate of crime in London, but is one of the lowest rates of crime in the entire country.

July

The made up claims by Labour Councillors during the St Michaels bye-election that “tory cuts” would lead to all street lights being switched off at night was proven to be false, as the Conservatives confirmed that all street lights across the Borough would be replaced with new LED bulbs, saving Bexley taxpayers over £300,000.

The Council’s registrar service moved into its new home at Danson House. As well as becoming the venue for the service, it now means people can hold their marriage or civil partnerships at the historic building. The borough’s Citizenship ceremonies are now also held there.

The July Full Council meeting saw a motion agreed in relation to HMOs. Councillors agreed:

  • To adopt a tough stance on all issues relating to HMO’s across the borough, and private rented sector accommodation, and to maximise the use of licensing and enforcement powers to support residents and communities in Bexley.
  • To highlight the information and advice offered to all local residents, and the support given to those seeking social housing.
  • To ensure, subject to compliance with the Council’s adopted planning policy in relation to housing need, that all new developments within the borough are of mixed tenure (including affordable housing), to continue to create thriving and sustainable communities.
  • To continue to lobby Central Government to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is affordable to allow this Council to create the opportunity to build homes that are affordable to local people.

Did you know there are over 19 million individual collections of waste and recycling bins a year in Bexley?

August

It was announced that a new enforcement scheme to crack down on people who chuck litter on the ground, refuse to clear up their dog’s mess or fly tip would commence in October. The announcement was welcomed by residents and businesses across the Borough. Labour Councillors had previously excused those who fly-tipped, blaming society or “tory cuts” or anger about the EU referendum for the reasons people fly tip!

There was national recognition for Bexley’s Trading Standards team after helping a resident who had been the victim of series of scams. The team helped prevent further losses as well as diverting the various letters that were the cause of the scams.

Another year of excellent exam results confirmed Bexley’s schools as among the best in the country.

Did you know that under the Conservatives, Bexley has secured over £200million of external funds to invest in local communities and town centres – this includes an eight million pound investment in Slade Green which the Labour ward Councillors actually voted against!!

September

Bexley’s Shared Lives Scheme was given a positive review by the Care Quality Commission. ‘Bexley Shared Lives’ is a community-based shared lives and supported living service for adults, most of whom have a learning disability. The service recruits, trains and supports carers who provide placements for adults within their own family homes.

Two people were successfully prosecuted for misusing the blue badge scheme, with substantial fines being handed to each defendant. Blue Badges are issued to people with disabilities – in one case a badge was being used even though the lawful owner of the badge had died.

Conservative Councillors presented the final recommendations of the Commercial Waste Sub group – a good example of the work Councillors undertake to see how services can be improved.

Did you know our Road Safety Team’s work has led to Bexley having the lowest road traffic accident rates in London?

October

Council staff are called into action at 3am one Sunday morning, following a water main bursting in Crayford. The local Conservative Councillors join the efforts to make sure vulnerable residents are okay, and the Council team work with the emergency services to close roads to enable to repairs to be made. Instead of offering help, Labour Councillors chose to slag everyone off instead, attacking the Council for a “very poor response”, promoting anger from Crayford residents who had been helped by the Council.

A survey of Bexley residents showed high levels of satisfaction with Council services. This echoes the results of the last survey in 2012, where 90% of residents said they had a high regard for the services the London Borough of Bexley provides.

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The new litter enforcement scheme got underway, and is initially a twelve month pilot scheme. This is a service residents have been requesting be introduced and the Conservative group of Councillors have delivered it. It makes an immediate impact, with fewer amount of litter being needed to be cleared up, as well as seeing penalties issues to people who chuck their mess around the Borough.

More than 100 children, young people, parents and carers walked the red carpet into the Civic Offices Bexleyheath to take part in the Council’s annual ‘Looked After Children’s Education Achievement’ awards, one of the key highlights of the year.

Did you know there are over one million visits to the Borough’s three leisure centres a year?

November

This month was dominated by the implosion of Labour Councillors at the Full Council meeting. While Conservative Councillors focused on issues like improving school standards, repairing roads and keeping our Borough clean, Labour Councillors disrupted the meeting – even trying to shout down a statement that Bexley would never be a place that tolerated racism. This led to several Labour Councillors been barred from speaking, after making offensive comments.

Conservative Councillors just got on with the job, and confirmed plans for a new playground in the heart of Belvedere. The “Belvedere Beach” will be open all year round and open to all, with special features to ensure children with disabilities can use the site.

beachThe building work for the new Lesnes Lodge in Abbey Wood was completed, and the building started to be prepared to be operational. Funded by the Lottery, this is a huge investment in this area of the Borough.

Did you know Bexley has over 30 playgrounds used by young people across the Borough?

December

Bexley is officially confirmed as the Number One Borough in London for recycling – for the 12th year in a row. At the same time it is also confirmed that Bexley residents can eat our safely after the Borough was confirmed as one of the best in London for food safety inspections.

Traders were pleased to see the completion of the improvement scheme in Wilton Road in Abbey Wood. The project supported 13 independent businesses to modernise their business practices and improvement their shop fronts.

The ‘Pom Pom Womblers’ join the army of community litter pickers, and in one weekend, cleared up 46 bags of litter and rubbish.

And that is 2016 – we wish all Bexley residents all the best for 2017.