Blog

Taxpayers Benefit From Bexley’s Biggest Recycling Project.

Bexley’s taxpayers are seeing an annual saving of over £2m following the move by the London Borough of Bexley into the Civic Offices at 2 Watling Street – far more than envisaged in the plans.

The “Bexley First” project saw the disposal or renting out of the four previous Civic buildings, and the relocation of all council staff onto the new site at no cost at all to taxpayers.

Now the reductions in running costs are delivering annual savings DOUBLE to what was initially planned.

It also helped bring a famous Bexley site back to life, as the building was the former home of the Woolwich Building Society.

Prior to the move into Watling Street in 2014 the Council was split across four buildings, with departments split across those sites too. As well as the costs of maintaining four aging buildings, it wasted a lot of money and time with staff having to move back and forth between offices.

Leader of Bexley Conservatives, Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, said: “This was rightly described as Bexley’s biggest ever recycling projects, bringing back into life a well-known Bexley landmark as well as creating a new home for the Council.

Instead of staff being split across four different buildings, spread across the Borough, we all work together as a strong team.”

The project was completed a no cost to taxpayers at all, with the costs being funded from the disposal or renting out of the former sites. Alongside this, the project has led to the creation of hundreds of new homes across the Borough, including behind the Civic Offices.

The project was – of course – opposed by Labour Councillors, who voted against reducing the Council’s running costs.

Instead they demanded a brand new building be created from scratch, with no new housing provided. The cost of their proposed new building was £25million!

Labour cited Newham as a shining example for the Conservative administration to follow.

That Labour Borough undertook what was supposed to be the same plan as Bexley but instead of costing their taxpayers nothing, it ended up costing them £111m!

Newham spent £97million buying the building, and a further £18.7million refurbishing it – including having five light bulbs fitted which cost £1800 each.

A Bexley Conservatives spokesperson said: “Only a Labour Council would turn a project which was supposed to not cost taxpayers anything into a project that wasted £111million! And here in Bexley, Labour were telling us we should be spending £25million instead of saving taxpayers £2m a year.

It is the same story everywhere – Labour waste the public’s money, Conservatives save the public money.”

BzWY3bGIMAAgwA2
Bexley’s Civic Offices save taxpayers £2m a year and were opened by Boris Johnson when Mayor of London. 

Coming this winter – 200 new street trees!

This winter, Bexley’s Conservative Council will launch a new street tree planting programme.

200 new trees will be planted on residential roads across the Borough – and from winter 2018, the number of new trees planted will double to 400 a year, every year.

The new street trees planting programme is part of the Bexley Conservative budget that is ploughing substantial resources into making Bexley even cleaner and greener.

However, as every Labour Councillor voted against the new street tree planting programme, this policy is at risk.

A Bexley Conservatives spokesperson said:

“This street tree planting programme has been welcomed by residents across Bexley, and we cannot wait to get planting. But every one of Bexley’s Labour Councillors voted against planting new trees.”

Labour Councillors did not just vote against the budget, their supporters actually turned up to the Budget Council meeting waving placards to protest about planting new trees!

The spokesperson added:

“This means there is a very clear choice for Bexley’s residents in May 2018 when they decide who will run their Council for the following four years. A choice between a Conservative Council that will be planting hundreds of new trees every year, or one run by Labour Councillors who would stop the programme completely.

Bexley’s Conservative Councillors are implementing a series of policies to make our Borough cleaner and greener and plant hundreds of new trees, all opposed by Labour Councillors who seem to think the only point of trees is to rip them down and turn into placards.”

cold-snow-black-and-white-road
Bexley faces bleak mid-winters if Labour Councillors win control of our Council as they voted against planting new street trees.

 

The Beach has come to Belvedere

A new and innovative playground at the heart of Belvedere has opened!

The Belvedere Beach is a new playground which is accessible to all, with features for children with disabilities and special needs.

The fantastic opening day saw children queuing with their families around the block as the midday opening drew closer.

Prior to that, a special event organised for children nominated by their school, children supported by local charities and winners of a competiton joined the Mayor of Bexley for the formal ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Belvedere Beach project has been conceived and delivered by Bexley’s Conservative administration, and the final go-ahead was made by the Cabinet last November.

Speaking on the opening day, Cllr Peter Craske, who led the project, said: “18 months ago this was just an idea on a piece of paper and now it is here. The look of joy and excitement on the faces of the hundreds of children who came rushing in was amazing to witness. I am so proud to have created this unique playground.”

Work to build the site started in March and was completed in time to open for school holidays.

IMG_0837
The playground during construction
A Bexley Conservatives spokesperson added: “Labour created a Splash Park that only operated for three months a year, and was always breaking down, so was actually open even less than that. It cost a fortune to operate, and no initial budget was set aside to pay for it.

We have created a playground that is open all year round, where families can spend time together at any time of the year. It is also financed properly with a kiosk operating all year round as well which will fund the running costs.”

Over a dozen Conservative Councillors from across the Borough supported the opening day, all enjoying the sight of young people enjoying themselves on the beach.

 

Huge investment in local services unveiled by Bexley’s Conservative Councillors

With substantial investments for highways and public realm, your Conservatives have unveiled a new mid-budget programme to make Bexley look even better.

The Bexley Conservative Council’s Cabinet have unveiled a surprise package of enhancements to improve the look of the Borough at their meeting on 11th July.

The additional monies will enable the current highways maintenance programme to be doubled.

New new litter bins, additional grass cuts, and refurbishments for railing and fencing at parks will also be taking place in the coming months.

The funding will also enable much needed improvements at Hall Place to be carried out, just three months after the historic site returned to being run by the Council, as well as programmes to promote libraries and stage community events.

The Cabinet also confirmed that plans that had been considered for changing waste collections and reducing street cleaning cycles have been permanently ended.

Bexley’s Conservative Councillors and MPs work as a team for residents

Cllr Don Massey, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, said: “We have delivered the strategy endorsed by residents at the ballot box, and because of that we have a strong budget that has delivered a surplus. This means we are able to increase the resources for core council services. Only by managing our budget well and in line with our principles has this been possible.”

Leader of Bexley Conservatives, Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, said: “We have worked hard to deliver our strategy. We always said that if we stick to our plan we would emerge from the financial challenges far more strongly than other Councils, and we have done that. Having delivered as promised, we can now invest in our frontline services, improving highways and parks, and making our Borough cleaner and greener.”

In March, the Conservatives Council budget increased resources for cleaning town centres, protected street cleaning work, created a new budget for planting street trees and to introduce a new street cleaning machine.
EVERY Labour Councillor voted AGAINST these plans.

New agreement clears way for number 96 to run to Darent Valley Hospital.

Residents living in the London Borough of Bexley look set to be able to travel by bus direct to Darent Valley Hospital after the Conservative run Bexley Council successfully lobbied Transport for London and Kent County Council to enable the number 96 bus route to use a section of the Fastrack bus Lane between Dartford and Bluewater.

The agreement means that the number 96 bus will be able to serve Darent Valley Hospital, which is used by patients from Bexley.

The announcement comes at the start of National Catch The Bus Week (3 July 2017) and the Conservative Leader of Bexley Council, Councillor Teresa O’Neil OBE, said:

“This is fantastic news for Bexley’s residents and a great way to celebrate National Catch The Bus Week.

Conservatives in Bexley have campaigned hard for the number 96 to stop at Darent Valley Hospital and this agreement paves the way for this to happen.”

Discussions will now take place with the bus operator Stagecoach and the Council will be working to secure a service to the Hospital as soon as possible.

Cllr O’Neill added: “Thousands of people from Bexley rely on using services at the Hospital but patients and their families have had difficulties travelling there without a direct bus service. The introduction of a direct service to the Hospital will be welcomed.”

Re-elected Conservative MPs meet with Council Leader

The Leader of Bexley’s Conservative Council has met with the returned Conservative MPs for Old Bexley and Sidcup and Bexleyheath and Crayford.

Cllr Teresa O’Neill, OBE, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP and Rt Hon David Evennett MP discussed a range of issues, including some of the successful achievements that were highlighted during the General Election.

These included unemployment being at its lowest rate for over 40 years and the support from residents for the recent Council budget increases for cutting grass, cleaning streets and improving roads and pavements. There was praise for the emergency services for their swift action in dealing with the terrorist attack at London Bridge.

During the meeting, there was a discussion about the horrific fire in Kensington, and Cllr O’Neill was able to set out some of the action taken by the Council to confirm with the Borough’s housing associations that all the appropriate risk assessments and fire safety checks were in place.

It was also noted that London Borough of Bexley staff had been providing help and support to the local council as they dealt with the many consequences of the awful incident.

Bexley Conservative Council’s zero tolerance of litter louts is having an impact.

Your Conservative Council’s zero tolerance of people who chuck litter, fail to clear up their dog’s mess or fly tip has seen over 3,000 litter louts issued with fixed penalty notices since last November.

Cllr Peter Craske, the Conservative Cabinet Member for the Environment, welcomed this news.

“Like many, many residents we are sick to death of a small minority of people just chucking away their litter on the highway or in parks and ruin our Bexley. People should dispose of their litter in a bin or take it home to dispose of. I am pleased we have particularly issued penalty notices to people who spit on the highway, a disgusting practice.

“So many residents and businesses have been in touch to welcome this initiative, and they can see the impact it is having.”

Businesses in town centres have already observed a dramatic reduction in the litter left around at the end of the trading day.

Cllr Craske added: “Bexley is a fantastic place to live. I cannot believe anyone would oppose a zero tolerance of littering, and take the side of litter louts. I would note that clearing up discarded litter or flytipped materials also costs taxpayers additional money, as this mess has to be cleared up on top of the street cleaning and bin emptying that already takes place.”

litter-bin-banner

Recently, the Courts have ruled on cases where people had refused to pay the penalty – and the data shows 60% of those people lived outside of Bexley.

Alongside this enforcement pilot, your Conservative Council has also reinstated the litter collection beats that used to exist as part of this year’s budget.

Manifesto pledge to cut number of Councillors delivered in full.

Your Bexley Conservative Councillors have welcomed the formal passing of legislation in Parliament that will cut the number of Cllrs in the Borough.

Read the legislation here

The pledge to cut the number of Councillors was made in the Bexley Conservatives 2014 local election manifesto, and has now been delivered in full – as has every other manifesto commitment since being elected to run our Council in 2006.

It means from next May there will be 30% fewer Councillors to represent much larger wards.

boris-1200_jpg_gallery

The entire process was conducted by the independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England, and all residents and political parties had the opportunity to comment and make suggestions.

This sits alongside the freezing of Councillors allowances that has been in place since 2009, and Bexley’s Councillors are the only group in the UK to propose a reduction in numbers – and to do so voluntarily.

The policy to reduce the number of Councillors was formally agreed at the meeting of the Full Council on 23rd July 2014, with the following motion:

RESOLVED – This Council resolves to call on the Boundary Commission, as the relevant authority, to start the process to review the number of Councillors and the Ward boundaries to allow appropriate representation to best support our residents.

Every Labour Councillor voted against this motion.

image

 

Budget for Bexley’s future agreed – £340million to be invested in local services for local residents.

Bexley residents will see £340million of investment to provide local services for local people during 2017/18.

This follows the decision taken at Budget Council on 1st March to approve the budget plans.

Among the key plans in the Budget are:

  • A new budget line to provide a weekly deep clean for the main town centres, and a monthly deep clean for smaller town centres – until now, none of the Borough’s town centres receive a deep clean at all
  • An additional £135,000 to fund projects to keep our community safe
  • The help and support to ensure 6,000 vulnerable adults can continue to receive the care they need
  • An extra £300,000 for repairing roads and pavements
  • A new budget line to plant and maintain new trees across the Borough – with 200 new trees to be planted during 2017/18
  • Retaining the existing three weekly cleaning cycle for residential roads – scrapping the previous plan to reduce the cleaning schedules
  • Ensure 43,000 children continue to be educated in some of the best rated schools in the country

clean-green-logo

Speaking after the debate, the Leader of Bexley’s Conservative Council, Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, said:

“This Budget will see £931,000 invested every day to ensure our great Borough of Bexley continues to have a bright future.

Because we have managed our finances properly and implemented the strategy we set out in the 2014 election campaign, we are able to emerge from this difficult time for all local government with our finances on a firm footing.

While other councils continue to cut services, we are now able to put more resources into a wide range of services.

I would like to thank the many residents who have been in touch with colleagues and me to say how much they welcome these new resources which will help make our Borough cleaner and greener.”

Astonishingly, after not being able to come up with a single budget proposal of their own, all Labour Councillors in Bexley opposed the plans.

A spokesperson for Bexley Conservatives said: “We would say to residents who live in wards with Labour Councillors who have voted against plans to clean our Borough more often – hold them to account. They have let you down.

When you see your own road being cleaned every three weeks – remember, the policy of your Labour Councillors is to cut the number of times your road is cleaned to only six times a year.”

 

Who supported a cleaner and greener Bexley – and who didn’t.

On Wednesday, 1st March, your Bexley Councillors made the biggest decision of the year – setting the Budget for 2017/18.

The budget was passed and will see £340million invested in providing local services for local people.

Libraries, cleaning streets, repairing roads, caring for adults and children in need of our help, keeping our community safe, schools, planting trees and many more services will be funded from £931,000 a day, and every household in the Borough receives double back in services than they pay in Council Tax.

After what has been a difficult time for local councils across the UK, Bexley’s Conservative administration has delivered what we promised in 2014 – to deal with the situation calmly and strategically and ensure we emerge from this period in a strong position.

While many Councils up and down the country are still slashing services, in Bexley, we have been praised by residents for getting on with the job.

Our budget proposals this year include a raft of new spending plans, to improve front line services.

Every Councillor’s vote on Wednesday night was “roll-called”, meaning every Councillor had to say whether they were FOR the budget proposals, AGAINST them, or whether they would ABSTAIN.

These are just some of the new key budget proposals put forward by your Conservative Councillors, and a note of how Councillors voted.

Waive burial preparation fees for all persons under 18.

VOTED FOR – ALL CONSERVATIVE COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

VOTED AGAINST – ALL LABOUR COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

ABSTAINED – ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

Provide resources to ensure 6,000 vulnerable adults continue to receive the care they need.

VOTED FOR – ALL CONSERVATIVE COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

VOTED AGAINST – ALL LABOUR COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

ABSTAINED – ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

Introducing a new budget to plant and maintain new trees across the Borough

VOTED FOR – ALL CONSERVATIVE COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

VOTED AGAINST – ALL LABOUR COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

ABSTAINED – ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

Introduce a weekly deep clean for our main town centres for the first time ever

VOTED FOR – ALL CONSERVATIVE COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

VOTED AGAINST – ALL LABOUR COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

ABSTAINED – ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

Increase budget for community safety by £135,000

VOTED FOR – ALL CONSERVATIVE COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

VOTED AGAINST – ALL LABOUR COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

ABSTAINED – ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

Scrap previous plans to reduce cleaning of residential streets

VOTED FOR – ALL CONSERVATIVE COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

VOTED AGAINST – ALL LABOUR COUNCILLORS, ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR

ABSTAINED – ONE UKIP COUNCILLOR



clean-green-logo