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Liberal Democrat Manifesto - South Norfolk Council - 2019

Introduction

Since its creation in 1974 only two Parties have controlled South Norfolk Council, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives. Other parties have made little impact on the Council and have had no representation at all since 2003. Currently there are no Labour, Green or UKIP councillors, at any level, anywhere in South Norfolk.

As usual in South Norfolk, this election will come down to a local vote between two parties - over who will best manage local affairs.

An "Excellent" Lib Dem Council

South Norfolk Liberal Democrats are proud to point to their record of running the District Council very successfully for 12 years from 1995-2007. During that time many innovative ideas were introduced, the Council received significant national recognition for the quality of its work and the Lib Dems were re-elected twice.

A "Disappointing" Tory Council

Despite the efforts of the Lib Dem opposition group, the Tory-controlled administration has been characterised by:

- Wasting taxpayers' money on schemes, like the failed "high-tech"

public toilets in Harleston and elsewhere;

- Cuts in important services like car parks and street-lighting;

- Constant internal restructuring with the loss of experienced staff;

- Declining performance in some areas, notably recycling.

The Tories claim to be "green" but their record is very different. For example, back in 2007 the Tories promised to become "the best in the country for recycling". Instead, in the latest league tables, South Norfolk Council's recycling rate now stands at 156th out of 350 councils.

Liberal Democrats are happy to work with other parties and in the interests of all residents. The Tories keep power to themselves and avoid consulting with either other councillors or residents affected by cuts in services.

Liberal Democrat Priorities for 2019-23

Our objective is to work on behalf of All residents of the District to make South Norfolk an even better place to live and work. We will promote the economic and sustainable use of resources, to the benefit of residents, respecting at all times our liberal and democratic values.

  • Stop Wasting Taxpayers' Money

A Liberal Democrat run Council will:

- make better use of limited resources, through stopping the waste of

taxpayers' money on ill-thought-out schemes;

- review joint staffing arrangements with Broadland DC to make sure

the council has the resources to deliver essential services effectively;

- make the council more efficient, effective, democratic and

accountable to the public by strengthening the Scrutiny system and

increasing the ability of councillors to challenge decisions;

- in the face of continuing cuts to financial support from central

government, press for the local retention of all business rates;

- campaign for the replacement of Council Tax by Local Income Tax;

- while supporting appropriate joint working arrangements with other

councils, would resist a total merger with Broadland;

- support the incorporation of South Norfolk into an appropriate local

unitary authority.

  • Facing Up to Man-made Climate Change

A Liberal Democrat run Council will:

- improve recycling rates in general and the better use of plastics in

particular;

- encourage and support the use of renewable energy sources

and explore the possibility of community-led renewable energy

projects;

- seek to improve home insulation and encourage ecologically

sustainable house building;

- support local food production thus reducing food miles;

- tackle environmental crime and fly-tipping which has been

encouraged by the new charges and reduced opening hours at the

County Council's Recycling Centres;

- protect the landscape character and biodiversity of the District;

- reduce the Council's own carbon footprint with an objective of being

carbon-neutral by 2025 and work with others to make the whole

District carbon-neutral by 2040;

- as members of the Norfolk Waste Partnership, support sustainable

waste management methods.

  • Support Services for the Young, the Vulnerable and the Elderly

A Liberal Democrat Council will build on and extend the work it started with the South Norfolk Youth Advisory Board, the Equalities Group and the Older People's Forum by:

- working more closely with Citizens Advice Bureaux;

- developing play, sport and arts facilities and events for young people;

- supporting employment/business/education/training opportunities

including local apprenticeship schemes;

- expanding the present Help Hub facilities of the District Council

to assist with care and medical services;

- demand initiatives to ensure better provision of mental health services

for all age groups;

- expanding the scope of the Good Neighbour Scheme to support

people in their homes;

- making the Older Peoples Forum more localised;

- introducing new youth and anti-poverty strategies;

- always supporting the interests of the frail, disabled and vulnerable

and encouraging first-class care-home facilities;

- understanding the needs of older people.

  • Facilitate a Thriving Local Economy

A Liberal Democrat Council will:

- press for essential infrastructure development to support transport,

education and the health service;

- help generate inward investment through support for the Norwich

Research Park and the Hethel Innovation Centre;

- support small and start-up businesses with mentoring and financial

help;

- increase free parking in our market towns and reduce the burden on

towns that have funded free parking themselves;

- promote initiatives based on the expanding Sharing and Circular

Economies;

- support the local retention of business rates;

- support local pubs, village shops and Post Offices.

  • Improve Communications and Access across the District

A Liberal Democrat Council will address access issues in our rural communities. In particular, we will campaign for:

- the reintroduction of effective area forums;

- action to tackle the problems of deprived areas;

  • improved bus and rail provision including the expansion of Park and

Ride facilities, particularly for the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital;

- the provision of proper access for the disabled to all public transport

Facilities;

  • the creation of a Passenger Transport Authority for the Greater

Norwich area to ensure fully coordinated services;

  • a dual carriageway Long Stratton bypass;
  • progressive dualling of the A47 and other road improvements;

- improved broadband provision across the District for both domestic

and business users to meet national standards.

  • Control Housing Development Effectively

A Liberal Democrat Council will stop the poorly-controlled growth of existing towns and villages. Instead we will give greater priority to:

- encouraging the building of one or more properly planned New

Villages in the District with integrated services including public

transport;

- providing more affordable housing for local people in our towns and

villages, stopping developers avoiding their responsibilities in this

regard;

- using new housing policies to limit housing numbers to only those

needed locally;

- support the campaign to stop second-home owners avoiding paying

Council Tax.

Conclusion

As Liberal Democrats we believe in giving people genuine opportunities to have a say in the decisions that affect their lives.

Working together we can transform all our futures for the better.

Vote for Liberal Democrats on your District Council.