Local Election Manifesto 2019
Local Election Manifesto 2019

Introduction

Whilst the decision to merge Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole into one new Local Authority has not been popular here with everyone, Labour wants to make the new council work in the interests of the many, not the few, here in Christchurch and across the conurbation.

Over the years our Tory-led council and MP became arrogant, complacent and tired – largely because they have not had to face any real, effective opposition. You can change this. If you think a new council needs a fresh start, then give Labour your vote and give a real voice to local people. We will listen to you, and work for you.

Our local Christchurch manifesto covers some of the areas you have told us needs the most attention, like the steady decay of the High Street and local transport.  We believe we have the energy and ideas to put these things right, for the benefit of everyone in our beautiful town.  It is essential that, as Councillors, we give you a strong voice on the new combined council, and that is our promise to you, above all else.

Below are some of our ideas and promises on different topics to deal with the issues you said you face, but this is by no means exhaustive.  If you would like further information, please contact us on secretary@christchurchlabour.org or message us via our Facebook page

Local Transport

After speaking to local residents it is clear there are many issues depending on where you live, your income level, etc.  Congestion is a massive issue in Christchurch, and with that brings increased air pollution

  •  Bus routes should be increased in areas like Burton and Highcliffe.  We will demand a consultation be conducted, so the people are given a voice in these decisions.
  • We believe bus services should be transferred to public ownership in time, and run for the benefit of the public, not for shareholders.
  •  We believe that Christchurch would benefit from free car parking in the town centre car parks. This would help local workers, increase business in the High Street, and benefit our small business owners, whilst increasing tax receipts for our Council.
  • Labour will investigate the options of a new bypass and put forward a list of measures to alleviate current issues, e.g. a viable park and ride service.
  •  We will work across the whole conurbation and beyond for more joined-up thinking in relation to transport policy to improve movement and better plan ahead.
  • We will demand that all future housing developments that may adversely affect congestion levels locally MUST include forward planning assessments and mitigation options as standard.
  •  We will investigate the feasibility of electric charging points in the town centre to encourage less reliance on fossil fuels and decreased levels of air pollution.

Housing

Christchurch is one of the most expensive places to live in the South West, with average house prices approximately 12 times the average wage. This makes owning a home virtually impossible for local people, and for young people especially.  We desperately need the provision of truly affordable homes for sale and rent, otherwise, we will never encourage families and younger people to live and stay in this area.

  • Labour will argue for social and council housing to be built, that once served the needs of local communities so well.
  • We support the Labour policy of taxation on second homes and will look at ways of discouraging the purchase of new homes for this purpose locally.
  • We believe that if building on the greenbelt is an absolute necessity, then it must be for social or keyworker housing only.
  • We will call for a review of brownfield sites and options of redesignation to increase housing developments options, before any new development on flood plains, or greenbelt takes place.
  • Nobody should be homeless on our streets here. Homelessness is a disgrace.  We will ensure there is a place for every person who needs a roof over their heads and provides access to services to deal with their issues.

Local Environment

Every year there are complaints of bins overflowing, poor road surfacing and a lack of flowers and other decoration that makes Christchurch ‘a pleasant place to live’.  The fact that the Borough Council decided to hoard your money instead of spending it on our town cannot continue

  •  Labour will consult you, the local people, on what areas you believe require further investment to improve the quality of life for everyone.
  • We will work alongside local event organisers to ensure increased demand is met with an appropriate level of service, to empty bins for example.
  • We will enter the ‘Town in Bloom’ competition again, and invest in our town and local communities to make them beautiful again.
  •  We will investigate the employment of beach wardens to help educate local people and visitors to keep our beaches clean for the enjoyment and pleasure of everyone.
  • We will push for clean-air zones around Christchurch and publish the findings quarterly in a plain-speaking understandable way.
  •  We will ensure that each area is treated with the same respect and receive the same level of service like any other.
  • We will increase the number of dog bins, and properly maintain them, to help keep our environment and open spaces clean, tidy and hygienic but animal-friendly.

Families and Young people

Christchurch must be just as an attractive place to live and stay for families and young people as it is for our older generation. We cannot keep seeing our family members leave the area because of a lack of housing and opportunity locally, nor suffer the associated search for high spec jobs that forces people away from this area.

  •  Working with local communities, Labour will look to set up Youth Clubs and associated facilities to bring young people together and provide a different type of learning for those who need it.
  •  Too many families are having to use our foodbank in Christchurch.  The foodbank does a wonderful job but should not be needed.  We will work with charitable services like the food bank, the Pantry and soup kitchen to better understand local needs and how we can alleviate the pressure on them by providing the services a local Council should deliver.
  • We will encourage schools to share their facilities (where they do not already) for local communities to use to come together and to help decrease social isolation.
  •  We believe in supporting families, and will look at setting up social education in ‘the basics’ such as buying and cooking food, dealing with money/bills, using the internet etc.
  • We will lobby the Council for funding to set up a Sure Start centre in Somerford to support local children and families in their earliest years.
  •  We will speak to local schools and colleges to assess barriers to Higher Education and Apprenticeships, then champion solutions to allow young people to gain the qualifications they want and need to make their way in life.
  •  We fully support the Labour Party policy for free bus travel for U25s.
  • We fully support Labour Party policy for votes at 16 and would seek to enfranchise voters using technology and set up pilot schemes for this where possible.
  •  We will call for a ‘creative zone’ to be established where young people can come together and access superfast broadband and other technological facilities to encourage creativity, communication, and business development.

Health and Social Care

We have a higher than average proportion of over 65s living in this area, and also of those living with dementia.  We must recognise these facts and make sure we have early access to first-class services for every community. We must understand what the future looks like for our area and how we can plan ahead to ensure that the health and welfare of our residents will always be at the centre of our decision making

  • We must push our Council and Government to properly fund our NHS and local GP services.  Constant cuts will not provide better services
  • We will work with local GP practices to better understand how to reduce waiting times, and encourage the use of technology where possible
  • We will ensure that funding for social care is appropriate and ring-fenced from any future cuts.  We cannot accept any further funding cuts in Christchurch
  • We recognise the need to support people when they need it most, and Labour will also ensure mental health care is properly funded and ring-fenced
  • As with Labour in Poole fighting the closure of Poole A&E which will put a strain across our area, we will fight any decrease in service provision locally and across the conurbation, as we recognise the effects this has on us all.

A Labour representative for Christchurch will be your eyes, ears, and voice for everything that needs to happen in your community.  When elected, we pledge to hold monthly ‘surgeries’ for all local residents to come and address us personally to discuss concerns, or just find out more about what is happening in the new Unitary Authority.  You deserve a strong voice, and your Labour Councillor will provide it.

We commit to honesty, integrity, and openness.  When you ask us a question, we will answer.  For too long ‘politics’ in Christchurch has become a dirty word due to poor standards and a lack of transparency.  We understand this and will show that you can have local Councillors who stand up for you and represent your beliefs and values.  Give us the chance to prove it.  Vote Labour, we can do better, we will do better.

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