The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines an independent person as,” a person who acts independently of any party.” This describes the members of “People Against Bureaucracy.” Your organisation is a local, non-political group, dedicated to helping local residents and, as such, always puts the needs of the individual first.
P.A.B councillors are free thinking individuals, who are independent in the true meaning of the word. They will support an initiative if they feel that it is going to benefit residents.
What a change from the partisan, confrontational attitude of the main political parties, who are loathe to support any initiative put forward by their opposition. It seems that, to them, the party comes before the people.
The recent election of John Payne as the PAB representative on Gloucestershire County Council has shown that the residents of Prestbury and Pittville value constructive, positive discussion, not political points scoring. Hopefully, other areas of Cheltenham will feel the same.
All the candidates from the main political parties state that they have the welfare of the electorate at heart. But do they really? Would they publicly disagree with their party hierarchy on any policy that they, personally, were not comfortable with? I doubt it.
Congratulations to “People Against Bureaucracy” for showing that reasoned argument is possible, and successful. I hope that many more free thinking people join your organisation and support your ideals. Good luck in the future.
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Councillor Malcolm Stennett is now able to give our readers the following update on actions being taken by the Police following the terror threat being raised from ‘Severe’ to ‘Critical’
25 May 2017
Update on policing presence following change in threat level
In response to the recent change in the threat level to critical, armed officers from Gloucestershire Constabulary will be seen out and about in our communities, primarily in Gloucester and Cheltenham.
This is not based on any change in intelligence or threat for the South West, but the decision has been taken instead to make firearms officers more deployable and visible to our communities. We think this is what the public would expect at this time.
Our priority is to provide as much reassurance to communities as possible but we do recognise that some may feel anxious. The firearms officers will be engaging and talking with people and we would actively encourage you to approach the officers and ask any questions they may have.
The purpose of this leaflet is to keep you aware of ‘behind-the-scenes’ activity concerning the land on the west side of the railway lines in Swindon Lane.
Cheltenham Borough Council has received a request from planning consultants acting on behalf of Galliard (Cheltenham) Ltd and Pye Homes Ltd., to adopt an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening Opinion, which they are allowed to do under The Town & Country Planning Regulations (2011). However, and bearing in mind the final approval of the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) is still to be made; the reason for the ‘Screening Opinion’ request is in relation to a possible planning application, which could be submitted for 450
residential units. These units, according to the information supplied by the planning consultant, “would be of different types and built at a rate of 50 to 70 dwellings per annum”.
I am aware that Prestbury Parish Council has informed Cheltenham Borough Council planning department that the request by the planning consultant should be rejected on the grounds that “the site has been considered by both the JCS and the Local Plan teams and decided the site was neither suitable or necessary for development”.
It is essential, in my view, that any attempt to develop any of the Green Belt land on the north side of Swindon Lane should be resisted at the earliest possible stage. No planning application has been submitted so far, but it is clear from the request for a ‘screening opinion’ that the developers are ready to pounce should the opportunity arise.
I WILL KEEP YOU INFORMED.
Contrary to the views in political leaflets, I would say that Cheltenham residents who know anything about the People Against Bureaucracy Group (PAB), understands that it is a local non-political organisation, dedicated to helping local residents wherever they live.
They also know that its aims include keeping ‘party politics’ out of local government and for the past forty years PAB has always put ‘people before party politics’.
Local residents in Prestbury know that the PAB Group will always commit to defending the Green Belt on the north side of Cheltenham and do whatever they can to improve the local environment for their benefit.
They know that PAB councillors are independent and free-thinking individuals, and they say what they mean, and do what they say.
The PAB Group would rather spend their limited resources on publishing regular Newsletters giving factual local information rather than using significant sums bombarding residents with literature that is ‘politically motivated’.
Strange though it may seem, the latest issue of the Lib/Dem ‘Courier’ carries a headline that claims: “Martin Horwood is the independent voice we need”.
In that case, he had better tell his misguided Pittville councillor that ‘slagging-off’ independent opponents, is not the way to secure their ‘independent’ votes in the forthcoming General Election.
Hard-working John Payne wins the county council seat for PAB after a hard-fought contest against a Liberal Democrat who stopped at nothing in order to gain a seat on the county council.
Many thanks to the 1525 residents who voted for John and were not swayed by the misleading and inaccurate statements in the Lib/Dem candidate’s leaflets.
Political leaflets from the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties accuse each other of wasteful expenditure – but who is right?
The Conservatives claim that the Liberal Democrats, “when they ran the council they increased tax every single year by an average of 8% per year”.
On the other hand, the Liberal Democrats claim that “the roads and pavements have suffered 12 years of neglect by the Conservative County Council”.
The question that local electors should be asking themselves is whether these cross-party accusations is good for the communities the politicians represent, or whether it would be better to elect someone who has no affiliation to any political party?
An independent voice in the County Council has a steadying influence in the council, which means that whilst the politicians are arguing in the chamber, he or she can quietly go about getting things done in the wards they represent.
The PAB Group provides the opportunity for free-thinking, independent people who are not bound by political dogma, to achieve a good and sound environment for the people they represent.
John Payne, the PAB candidate for Pittville and Prestbury is such a person to see that this happens. His record on Cheltenham Borough Council speaks for itself.
John will deliver on the County Council – take my word for it.
Hon. Alderman (CBC).
PAB KEEPING PARTY POLITICS OUT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT
With the County Council Elections to be held on Thursday 4th May 2017 I would like readers to know that Cheltenham Borough Councillor John Payne has my full support to become Pittville and Prestbury County Councillor.
The PAB Group has held a seat on County Council for the past decade and, as a consequence, local residents have benefited from a realistic share of the road maintenance, education, library and social care budgets. Additionally, the allowance that each County Councillor has to spend in the areas they represent has been wisely spent by your PAB Councillor and we have all benefited from the local improvements that he has authorised.
John, who is also the Chairman of Prestbury Parish Council, and also my colleague representing Prestbury as a Cheltenham Borough Ward Councillor, is very well known in Prestbury and well respected. His Saturday morning surgeries in the Prestbury Library have been well received by local residents and he is looking forward to providing a similarly enthusiastic service to residents in Pittville.
We need dedicated independent Councillors to represent us who do not have to follow party political lines and dictates from Westminster and I urge all residents in both Prestbury and Pittville to use their vote and get John elected as our County Council representative.
Councillor Malcolm Stennett,
PAB Group Leader and Prestbury Ward Councillor.
It seems to me that the personal letter delivered to households in Prestbury by the Liberal Democrat councillor for the Pittville and Prestbury Division, is an act of desperation on his part. His claim that anyone representing another political party is wasting their time putting up against him is either ignorance or an act of crass stupidity.
In a democracy, no-one knows until the votes are counted who is likely to be the successful candidate.
In his desperation, he accuses PAB councillors of “…voting with the Tory minority on the County Council”, conveniently forgetting that PAB councillors are independent free-thinking representatives of the communities they represent.
PAB councillors are not bound by political dogma, or three-line whips, which means they look at everything that is put before them in a sensible way: and with the people they represent very much at the forefront of their minds, they vote accordingly.
This principal is the reason why so many voters prefer to vote for PAB candidates.
They remember all-to-clearly, the Lib/Dems’ careless investment of £22.5 million on the money markets, only to lose the lot.
Council taxpayers also remember their gamble in investing council money in the Icelandic Banks; just as some of them will remember too their infamous attempt to introduce a ‘Noddy Train’ on the streets of Cheltenham.
Money it seemed was no object – well, it wasn’t their money, was it?
Instead of criticizing PAB councillors, the Lib/Dem candidate should look at his party’s deplorable record and they should be ashamed of it.
Readers should take another look at some of their sheer ineptitude at coming to terms with the problem of development and the protection of community green spaces.
Two instances need to be remembered.
When there was an opportunity to change the status of the land at Leckhampton to Green Belt at a Local Plan Review in 1995, the Lib/Dems voted en bloc against the PAB proposal.
More recently, when a planning application to develop Starvehall Farm in New Barn Lane was submitted, the Lib/Dem councillors supported the PAB proposal to reject the application. But when it came back a second-time, the same Lib/Dem councillors had second thoughts, and voted to allow this open space and the adjoining rugby field to be sacrificed for development.
On these examples alone, should we trust the Lib/Dems to look after our interests now and in the future?
I don’t think so.
Hon. Secretary (PAB Group)April 2017
A letter to the Gloucestershire Echo in February 2017.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE GREEN BELT ON THE NORTH SIDE OF CHELTENHAM
To their credit, central government has been true to their word and re-emphasized the importance of the green belt in their recently published White Paper.
Unlike developers and town planners, I do not believe that the sacrifice of the green belt is inevitable in the immediate future, nor do I believe that local authorities and central government have taken the appropriate steps to ‘free up protected land’ to ensure a steady supply of housing.
Surface car-parking should go underground, freeing up land for development, and planning permissions should be started and completed within their three-year currency. This would be a start.
Whilst the Green Belt serves five purposes, the one that is foremost in most people’s mind is the one that ensures that there is no merging of one settlement with another, such as Cheltenham with Gloucester, Prestbury with Bishop’s Cleeve, Up Hatherley with Shurdington, and so on.
Failure to uphold this principle would be a disaster for Cheltenham and the surrounding areas, and is worth defending at all costs.
Paul Barton of Bruton Knowles (Echo Feb 17) seems to be disappointed that the Government’s White Paper does not “downsize the UK’s green belt”, making way for even more “significant development”.
His claim that it will not have any impact on housing waiting lists, or help thousands of people trying to get on the property ladder, is true, but sacrificing important green belt areas would not help these people in the slightest.
People on council housing lists are invariably looking for rented properties.
First-time buyers are finding the deposit required getting further and further out of their reach, so who are, and where are these people, who are going to fill these houses in the new developments?
The Secretary of State suggested that perhaps the figures for housing were being ‘fudged’.
After eight long and often agonizing years of trying to agree a housing, employment and transport strategy, the three councils (Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury) have agreed a document that will bring about some measure of control and protection.
The strategy will not last forever, but it should be a strong defence against those who want to harm our beautiful countryside for at least the next fifteen years.
Hon. Alderman Les Godwin.