The Liberal Democrat Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor has launched a petition calling on changes to government planning laws. The Mayor wants to see the government give councils more powers to reject inappropriate development as well as the powers to insist on improved infrastructure, such as new schools, doctors surgeries and improvements to public transport.
The Mayor also wants to see an end to the controversial rule of Permitted Development, where office blocks and other industrial buildings can be converted into housing without planning permission. This is the rule that led to the government given approval for windowless flats at Wellstones in the town centre, despite the council rejecting the scheme.
The Conservative government have tripled Watford’s housing targets, targeting the area to help it deliver its commitment made at this election to building 300,000 new homes a year.
A spokesperson for the government said last week that ‘“Watford……refusing proposals and hoping homes are built elsewhere is not an option”.
The Liberal Democrats have doubled their first share in Watford at the same time as Hertfordshire gained its first ever Liberal Democrat MP.
The Liberal Democrats increased their vote share in Watford by 7%, with both the Conservative’s and Labour losing vote share to the party. In next door St Albans, Daisy Cooper gained the seat from the Conservatives, winning by a majority of over 6000 votes and increasing her vote share by 17%.
This is the first time St Albans has elected a Liberal MP since 1905.
Liberal Democrat run Watford Borough Council has declared a Climate Emergency at a meeting of its Full Council tonight. Scientist and Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate Cllr Ian Stotesbury presented the motion which was agreed unanimously.
The motion committed the council to helping to make Watford by 2030 and coming with an action plan to help make the town more sustainable. This is in addition to projects to reduce air pollution, create a new On Demand Bus Service and bike hire scheme as well as new solar panel installation programmes.
The Watford Liberal Democrats have surged to a record local election win in May.
The Liberal Democrats won 10 out of the 13 seats and also won 55% of the vote, way ahead of their Labour and Conservative rivals. This was a 11% increase on last year.
The Liberal Democrats also increased their vote share in Holywell, Leggats and Vicrage wards, making them the clear challengers next time round. The party also held Callowland and Central with increased majorities, despite a negative Labour campaign.