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Rolling out the red carpet in Spa-tacular Sidcup

A major investment for Sidcup has been announced by Bexley’s Conservative Council.

A new spa hotel, a new picture house and a new home for the popular library could be created over the coming months.

A new boutique hotel, with restaurants and a spa is being developed between the Council and a hotel operator which would open at the Sidcup Manor House.  At the same time a new three screen picture house is to be developed on the site of the former Blockbusters store, bringing a local cinema to the town centre. Alongside this the town’s library can be relocated to a modern, purpose built site offering exactly the same services as now, but  able to open longer into the evenings so more people can use it.

The cinema and library plans will also help create a new Sidcup cultural strategy developed in partnership with Rose Bruford and Bird Colleges.

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Commenting, Cllr Linda Bailey, Conservative Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Growth, said:

“This is great news and a testament to Sidcup’s transformation that businesses are prepared to invest millions of pounds in the town, creating new jobs and new opportunities.
None of this would have been possible without the hard work and focus over the last decade by Bexley’s Conservative Council to revitalise Sidcup and bring the high street back to life.
Ten years ago everyone agreed if action was not taken, then Sidcup was at risk of dying off.
Now it is full of life, full of busy shops and now the beneficiary of a multi-million pound investment by businesses who see Sidcup has a great future.
It shows that hard work and commitment by everyone who cares about Sidcup’s future is paying off.”

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Cllr Peter Craske, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Environment and Leisure, said:

“The building that is home to the library is coming to the end of its natural life. The opportunity to move to a new location, right at the heart of Sidcup, is a fantastic opportunity. 

We know from opening the Post Office in Crayford’s library that this has resulted in an 87% increase in footfall to the library and a 21% increase in the number of items being borrowed.”

The Leader of Bexley’s Conservative Council, Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, added:

“From a shop called Blockbusters to a cinema showing blockbusters, Sidcup is on the up.

With a new spa hotel, a modern library and picture house, we’re really rolling out the red carpet for Sidcup.”

 

Exposed: Labour’s land disposal hypocrisy revealed. Part One.

A document has been uncovered which reveals how the Labour administration in Bexley sold off over 100 Council sites including school playing fields, allotments and even facilities for people with disabilities. In fact, the disposal rate was an average of two sites every month.

The massive sell off sites was agreed by the Labour administration and exposes their complete hypocrisy on this issue after claiming they now oppose the disposal of any land or any council site. Included in the disposal programme they agreed and implemented was a Listed Building in Cray Meadows, entire allotment sites in Willersley Avenue and York Avenue in Sidcup, land classified for educational use, tennis courts in Bexleyheath and land in Slade Green, Erith and Belvedere. Even 103 sites wasn’t enough – a school playing field in North Cray was then sold off too in 2005, as was a successful library.

This was at a time when local government was overwhelmed with money, and yet as well as this massive disposal programme, they still managed to increase Council Tax by 40%. A former Labour Councillor at the time said that people complaining about such a huge increase in Council Tax were just “sob stories”.

And Labour Councillors have publicly committed to back the Mayor of London’s plan to build tower blocks on small plots of land and ban parking – and ensure it is delivered in full if elected to run Bexley in May.

 

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On 26th February Labour Councillors confirmed that, if elected to run Bexley in May, they will implement the Mayor of London’s plan to turn Bexley into the view out of the train at Lewisham station – without any concerns for local residents.
A spokesperson for Bexley’s Conservative Councillors, said:

“This revelation blows apart Labour’s sudden conversion to green issues as the hypocrisy it is. 

In office, they sold off site after site, school playing field after school playing field and allotment after allotment. 

 

We’ve made Bexley greener than ever, and our election manifesto commits us to expand the amount of open space even further. In contrast, Labour want to cover it in concrete, just as they did when they ran our Council last time. Labour Councillors stated on 26th February that they wholly back the Mayor of London’s plans to build on all sorts of green, open space in Bexley and ban parking in new tower block developments.

 

The Bexley Conservatives Manifesto for the 2018 election commits Conservative Councillors to increase the amount of open space in Bexley by 2020 and to have planted over 1,000 new street trees by then too – something all Labour Councillors voted against.
… more details to come in the coming days….

Bexley’s Conservative Councillors approve a budget that invests more resources in council services – while Labour Councillors oppose EVERY Budget proposal.

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Bexley has an even brighter future following the decision by Conservative Councillors to approve the budget plans for 2018/19 at Budget Council on 7th March 2018.

The decision means there will be £32million of investment in education, a 15% increase in funding for adult social care over three years, a new library for Thamesmead, £1m for playgrounds, £9m for highways maintenance and £5m for more affordable homes.

Key services such as street cleaning, parks and open spaces, libraries and playgrounds will all see increases in budgets and a record £45milion is to be invested to tackle homelessness and provide more homes.

Cllr Teresa O’Neill, OBE, Leader of Bexley’s Conservatives, said:

“We have worked hard since 2014 to deliver the financial strategy we set out in our election manifesto, and to increase investment across all Council services. We have an optimistic, positive vision for our Borough and this budget reflects that exactly.

Instead of just cutting services and closing things down like neighbouring Labour Councils we have made our services more efficient and effective. An independent audit of our Council shows we are rated as providing value for money in all we do.”

In the Budget Council meeting every Labour Councillor voted against every single proposal in the Budget – so while Conservatives increase investment and deliver new funding to help disabled children, adults with learning disabilities and the elderly, Labour Councillors are now on record as opposing all these things.

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A spokesperson for Bexley’s Conservative Councillors added: “It is astonishing that the so-called “caring” Labour Party actually voted against £45million to help the homeless, and voted against over £50million of funding for our Borough’s excellent schools.

Voters have a real choice in May – do they want a hard left Council opposing funding for the disabled and those who are homeless or a just right common sense Conservative council that quietly gets on with the job of making Bexley better.”

By law, all votes at Budget Council are publicly recorded so residents can clearly see how their own councillors voted at the most important meeting of the year.

How your Councillors voted on the key budget issues:

£32million for education and £24million for school expansion and new school places

Conservatives                   FOR

Labour                               AGAINST

£2million to help residents with special educational needs

Conservatives                   FOR

Labour                               AGAINST

£500,000 for a new library for Thamesmead

Conservatives                   FOR

Labour                               AGAINST

£1millon for Bexley’s playgrounds

Conservatives                   FOR

Labour                               AGAINST

£193,000 for flood risk management to keep homes and property safe

Conservatives                   FOR

Labour                               AGAINST

£261,000 for the Borough’s allotments

Conservatives                   FOR

Labour                               AGAINST

£9.4m for highways maintenance and street lighting

Conservatives                   FOR

Labour                               AGAINST

£4m for the Disabled Facilities Grant

Conservatives                   FOR

Labour                               AGAINST

£45m to invest in housing and tackle homelessness

Conservatives                   FOR

Labour                               AGAINST

£5m to invest in new affordable homes

Conservatives                   FOR

Labour                               AGAINST

£19million for Erith regeneration

Conservatives                   FOR

Labour                               AGAINST

 

We’ll be fighting a positive campaign and have signed a clean campaign pledge – will others make the same commitment?

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Conservative candidates seeking office at May’s local election have all signed up to a pledge to fight a clean campaign – and are calling on all candidates standing in May to do the same.

The pledge commits all Conservative candidates in Bexley to campaign in a respectful manner, including on social media; to abide by the Conservative Party’s Code of Conduct and to refrain from making abusive attacks on other candidates online, in literature or in person.

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A spokesperson for Bexley’s Conservative candidates said:

“Bexley’s Conservative Councillors have always only ever fought positive election campaigns in the Borough, focusing on our ideas and our vision for the future of our Borough.

Indeed, in the 2016 St Michael’s bye-election we were the only party contesting the election that ran a solely positive campaign.

By committing to this campaign pledge we are re-affirming that, and we hope all candidates standing in May will publicly agree to support the same commitments.”

Election campaigns are already highly regulated, with detailed requirements on campaign funding or the way literature is written.

What many people don’t realise is that the laws don’t just apply to candidates, there are also detailed laws and regulations for those not seeking election but who, nonetheless, will campaign for or against an issue, candidate or party during the regulated period of an election.

Known as non-party campaigners, the Electoral Commission sets out detailed guidance on the requirements for such campaigners or campaign groups.

Electoral law already states it is an offence for a candidate to make false statements about another candidate(s).

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Even more investment in council services unveiled – Cabinet sets out final Budget proposals building on success of last year’s work.

Bexley’s Conservative Cabinet has agreed its budget recommendations for 2018/19, which will now be debated at a meeting of all Councillors on 7th March.

The Budget sees funding increase across all services, including a 15% increase in funding for caring for vulnerable adults over the next three years, £38million for protecting vulnerable children and £7million allocated for traffic and transport projects.

Alongside this, budgets for maintaining parks and playgrounds, libraries and cleaning streets will increase substantially, helping ensure Bexley remains one of the cleanest and greenest Boroughs in London. There are no increases in car park charges.

The Budget calls for just a 1.9% increase in Council Tax.

Alongside this, there will be the Government’s mandatory 2% rise for adult social care.

Councillor Don Massey, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services said:

“In 2014, we stated clearly that if we implemented the financial strategy we set out then we would deal calmly with the largest change to local government funding in our lifetimes and emerge in a strong position.

That is exactly what we have done, and is why, while other Councils are still having to find savings we are increasing funding across services.

We have stuck to our long-standing commitment to only increase Council Tax when we need to, and by the lowest amount possible.”

Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, Leader of Bexley’s Conservative Council, commented:

“While there are still Councils struggling to balance their books, our successful long-term strategy means we are far ahead of other authorities and have a budget that is in surplus and which invests more funding in Council services.

It has taken a lot of hard work, for the second year in a row we are increasing resources and funding across the Council, to ensure we continue to deliver high quality services for the residents we serve.”

Last year, the Conservative administration launched a new street tree planting programme and purchased a new dep cleaning machine for our town centres – in addition, a further £1.1m was allocated to give key roads a deep clean, introduce larger litter bins in parks and open spaces and stage the Borough’s first ever Literary Festival.


Car parking charges are to be frozen under Conservative budget.

Alongside this a total of £4m was invested to keep our Borough’s highways in good shape.

A spokesperson for Bexley’s Conservative Councillors added:

“Don’t forget, Labour Councillors voted against all the budget increases we announced last year, even staging a protest opposing planting new street trees! They have opposed every single one of the value for money reviews that have seen services improve while costing less money.

Surely they will not vote against increasing funding for vulnerable adults by 15% or oppose increasing funding for cleaning our streets?”

Every single Councillor will have to vote FOR, AGAINST or ABSTAIN on the proposals at the Budget Council meeting on 7th March – by law, all votes must be publically recorded so all residents can see how their own Councillors voted on the different proposals.

Libraries are flourishing in Bexley!


While Labour Councils close libraries and cut funding, in Conservative Bexley our library strategy is really making a difference.

We are one of the few Councils to see library user numbers rise, and to see an increase in the number of items being borrowed.

We have just refurbished three libraries in three months, with more planned for the year ahead.

And we’ve staged out first ever Book Festival, which has been a huge success.


Our library in Crayford is now the home of the town’s Post Office – increasing library footfall by 87% in a month, a great example of the way we work in partnership with other organisations.

700 people visited Blackfen’s Library on one day to launch the Christmas celebrations. The Community Libraries at Bostall and Bexley have recruited new library users and now run a range of activities including a really popular film night.

It is a shame Bexley’s Labour Cllrs opposed this successful strategy.

But then, when they ran our Council, they closed libraries and in 2014 stated that all of the Borough’s libraries would be given “the chop”

Major improvements to NHS in Bexley

Bexley now has a world class Cancer treatment centre right on our doorstep, a new kidney dialysis unit and a modern Urgent Care Centre operating 24 hours a day.

After the Labour Government embarked on its closure of Queen Marys, Conservative Councillors have campaigned for new services for the site.

The Guy’s Cancer centre has two radiotherapy machines and 14 chemotherapy treatment chairs.

Bexley residents now benefit from having these treatments close to home and under one roof.

Patients needing kidney treatment can now use the 20 dialysis stations meaning outpatients appointments can take place here in Bexley, instead of having to travel back and forth to London for treatment.

It was Bexley’s Conservative Councillors and Members of Parliament who campaigned hard for these new services for Bexley residents.

Bexley’s Borough police command unit scrapped by Labour Mayor of London

Sign our petition here

The Borough’s Police Command centre is being scrapped and merged with those of other London Boroughs under plans published by the Labour Mayor of London.

This means an end to Bexley residents having a Borough police force; from 19th March our police force will be merged with Lewisham and Greenwich.

This announcement shows that the now scrapped plan to close Bexley’s police station was never serious, it was just being used as a distraction to divert attention from this merger plan.

Bexley has already lost 43 police officers since the Mayor of London took office and this announcement could have a dramatic impact on police response times for victims of crime in Bexley.

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Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, Leader of Bexley Council, said:

“Bexley has been one of the safest places to live in London for year after year because we all work closely as a community to support our police force and the officers who serve us.

Instead of a police force operating in Bexley for Bexley we will now have to wait in line for responses to incidents elsewhere, especially given how much higher crime rates are in Greenwich and Lewisham.”

By stark contrast, in places like Kent, Sussex and Surrey their Conservative Police and Crime Commissioners are increasing police numbers and investing in police stations.

Under Labour in London, police stations are closing and police officers are being reduced.

This decision by the Labour Mayor of London puts Bexley’s hard won achievement as one of the safest places to live in London at risk.

In the pilot scheme trialled in Havering, Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge police response times dramatically increased.

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A spokesperson for Bexley’s Conservative Councillors said:

“We have already lost 43 police officers since the Labour Mayor took office.

We urge all residents to join us in opposing these plans. Bexley is one of the safest places to live in London and has been for many years.

The hard work to achieve this risks being undone with a stroke of a pen, taken in City Hall by a Labour Mayor who has no understanding of Bexley and what matters to the people who live here.”

Join our campaign – Say No to Khan’s Cop Cuts here

We are standing up for Bexley.

Labour Mayor plans to impose tower blocks across Bexley

Bexley residents are being urged to respond to the consultation on the Labour Mayor of London’s plan for the capital.

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Under Labour’s plans, Bexley could look like the view from Lewisham station.

The proposals would increase Bexley’s housing targets by three times, with most of the land for new housing coming from small sites in residential areas, and in areas in town centres or by railway stations the housing target would increase by eight times to 865 new units a year.

The London Plan also proposes a presumption in favour of small developments – 25 or fewer properties – and many developments will not be allowed any parking at all.

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Following the recent public meeting held by the Mayor of London, one resident stated:

“Looking at these plans, it is clear that if anyone wants to know what Bexley would look like in the next ten years they just need to look out of the train as they go through Lewisham station.”

Councillor Linda Bailey, the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Growth, said:

“We have set out a positive strategy for growth for the next thirty years, which creates the right housing in the right places, and helps new businesses flourish and new jobs be created. This strategy is supported by all political parties in Bexley and is predicated on the development of new infrastructure to support it.

The Labour Mayor’s plans will put our strategy at risk &, instead of creating opportunities for our residents, we’ll be enduring the creation of massive high rise tower blocks on space the size of a garden & with no supporting infrastructure’’

Councillor Teresa O’Neill OBE encourages women in the London Borough of Bexley to stand for public office to commemorate 100 years since women were given the vote

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Councillor Teresa O’Neill OBE met with women across Bexley over the weekend encouraging them to get involved in politics and stand for public office in advance of the 100 year anniversary since Parliament gave women the right to vote.

We want to see more women in public life, and more women representing the Conservative Party at all levels.

That is why we announced £5 million to help celebrate this milestone and to encourage more women to engage in our democracy. It will fund activities in the cities and towns with strong links to the campaign for women’s suffrage, and allow local communities to apply for money to run celebratory events.

Theresa May and the Conservatives have a proud record of promoting women in politics. The first woman to sit in the House of Commons was a Conservative, and we were the first party in the western world to elect a female Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister co-founded Women2Win, appointed a female Vice-Chair to our candidates department to look at how we can get more female candidates and we are working hard in Government to give women greater financial security, ensure equal opportunities in the workplace – so there’s no glass ceiling – and are working to end violence against women and girls.

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Commenting, Councillor O’Neill said:

“It’s very rewarding to represent others, helping to solve issues and deliver change in your local area.  A record number of women were elected to Parliament at the 2017 General Election – but there is still a lot more work to do. 

I want to see more women in politics, and more women representing the Conservative Party at all levels. That is why I will be celebrating this milestone and using it as an opportunity to encourage more women to stand for public office.”

  • Councillor Teresa O’Neill OBE has been Leader of the London Borough of Bexley since May 2008 (nearly 10 years) & was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2015 for service to the community & local government in London (first sitting Bexley Councillor to receive an Honour).
  • She is the 4th Conservative woman Leader of a London borough in history and is the leader of the Conservative London Leaders at London Councils.

Learn more about being a Councillor

  • Parliamentary and political firsts for Conservative women:
  • 1919: First Member of Parliament to take seat (Nancy Astor)
  • 1970: Deputy Speaker of the Commons (Betty Harvie Anderson)
  • 1975: Leader of the Opposition (Margaret Thatcher)
  • 1979: Prime Minister (Margaret Thatcher)
  • 2010: Secretary of State for Wales (Cheryl Gillan)
  • 2016: Lord Chancellor (Liz Truss)
  • 2017: First female Muslim minister to speak at despatch box (Nusrat Ghani)
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Cllr O’Neill has led Bexley’s Conservative Council for ten years, having served as Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member before that.