2017 Review, July to December

July

A new landmark playground, the Belvedere Beach, was opened by the Mayor of Bexley. The new playground includes features for children with disabilities and special needs, and is open all year round.

While families queued round the block on the opening day, and the playground has been packed out ever since, a Labour supporter said creating a playground for children with disabilities was “despicable” and the playground was “tacky.” As the playground has been busy ever since it opened clearly no-one agreed with this Labour view.

The Cabinet unveiled a five year financial strategy for the Borough including:

• £120m investment on development schemes that will provide much-needed housing in the borough and that will generate rental income that the Council can use to fund other local public services.

• £18m on the regeneration of Erith.

• £12m on the borough’s infrastructure, environment and leisure facilities.

• £36m on the borough’s road and transport infrastructure.

Councillors from all parties united in a motion calling for the Mayor of London and Government to help create the infrastructure, both in terms of transport and digital connections, to support the Council’s ambitious growth strategy.

August

Conservative Councillors launched a campaign to oppose the plans by the Mayor of London to close Bexley’s police station, as part of Labour’s police station closure plan. Ultimately the Mayor backed down.

While residents, businesses and Conservative Councillors united together to oppose this, Labour Councillors said they were “not against the closure”.

The Secretary of State for Transport paid a visit to the Borough to discuss the growth strategy and plans for the train services into London.

September

The first Ageing Well event was held as part of wider work to create a strategy to improve lives and provide better opportunities for Bexley’s aging population. The event was attended by hundreds of residents.

The new £4m enhancements at Lesnes Abbey were formally opened. Funded by Bexley’s Conservative administration and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the site now features the Lesnes Lodge which offers an educational experience of the site and the Monk Garden, recreating what was on the site in 1187.

Naturally as Labour oppose anything the Conservative Council do, one of their supporters called this £4m investment “shameful.”

After hard work by Conservative Councillors, new restrictions on Homes of Multiple Occupancy ( HMO) we’re introduced.

This followed concerns raised by residents, which Cllrs responded to.

Details of a new lottery scheme to help raise funds for good local causes were unveiled, while 4,000 children completed the summer reading challenge in Bexley’s libraries.

An event was held to say thank you to the Borough’s 200+ Community Litter Pickers, who help keep Bexley looking so clean and tidy. Volunteers include many Conservative Councillors.

October

Hundreds of residents turned out to celebrate the launch of Bexley’s London Borough of Culture bid. The event at Hall Place was a great success with lots of people signing up to support the bid and talk about the reasons they loved living in Bexley.

16,000 street lights were fitted with new LED light bulbs. Because they are more energy efficient and last much longer than old bulbs, this project will deliver savings of £300,000 a year.

In 2016 Labour Councillors had issued a disgraceful leaflet stating that the Council was going to remove all street lights, a claim which was not only, self-evidently, false, but was delivered to homes a month after a decision had been signed confirming the new LED light bulbs would be fitted! One Labour supporter said it was completely impossible for a service to be made better and reduce running costs, describing such a thing as “witchcraft”!

A £150,000 investment to deep clean “hard to clean” roads began, with over 30 roads benefiting from the scheme.

Residents in the roads welcomed this work, and could see the difference it made to their streets. The roads that benefited were:

November

The work to plant 300 new street trees across Bexley began. The new programme will double in size from next year, but only if there is a Conservative Council elected – this is because Labour Councillors opposed the planting of street trees and have refused to say if they will continue with the programme.

Hilariously at the November Council meeting, Labour Councillors moaned that there were not enough street trees in the wards they represent, even though they had voted against even having street trees.

The Mayor of London was forced to back down and dropped his plans to close Bexley’s police station. This followed a strong campaign by residents and Conservative Councillors arguing against the proposal.

Bizarrely Labour Councillors, who had already said they were “not against” the closure wrote to lots of people who had nothing to do with the issue to object!

It was announced that after a lot of work by Crayford’s Conservative Councillors and local MP that a new branch of the Post Office was to open in Crayford’s library.

December

The first ever Lantern parade was held in Bexleyheath, an event only made possible because of extra funding announced by the Cabinet in July. Hundreds of families packed out the Broadway to enjoy this event. Community events like this, and a food festival in Erith, were only possible because Conservative Councillors created a new budget for staging events bringing residents together.

The Borough new street cleaning machine, designed to give Bexley’s town centres a through deep clean every week for the first time ever started work. The purchase of this new machine was agreed at the Budget Council meeting – where Labour Councillors voted to buy the machine but then voted against the money to make it work!

The machine was named Lightning McClean, following a competition where residents suggested names and then voted on the winning name.

After years of campaigning by Conservative Councillors, the 96 bus route added a stop at Darent Valley for the first time.

The Council’s ambitious growth strategy, shaping the Borough’s next 30 years, was approved by Councillors.

2017 was another year of success for Bexley, one where Conservative Cllrs worked hard and delivered a huge number of projects. And there is plenty in store for 2018!

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