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  • Article: Jan 15, 2019
    By Robert Court

    Observing the Brexit saga unfolding in Parliament, you might have thought that it seems almost like a pantomime. Here is an outline of the plot…

    The Country has voted to Take Back Control and become a Brexit Island. The Blue Queen has tried to implement the Country's decision. But many of the Blue Princes and Princesses are unhappy with the Blue Queen's plan and are in open revolt against her, because they say we would not be a True Island. The problem is that everyone somehow forgot that if the Country has a Land Border, it cannot be an Island. So how can you have a Land Border with no Border Controls, while at the same time Taking Back Control? The Blue Princes expect the Blue Queen to come up with a solution, but what is their Plan? After over two years of deep thought, they have no Plan. Meanwhile the patience of Blue supporters wears thin, especially because many of the Blue Princes like Davis, Boris and Moggis are devoting most of their energies to plotting to depose the Blue Queen and replace her.

  • Buxton Rd Ashbourne (Peter Dobbs)
    Article: Jan 14, 2019
    By Peter Dobbs

    A few months ago an estate agent, extolling the virtues of Ashbourne, Derbyshire as a place to live, praised the air quality of the town. It is instructive to reflect on how they might have decided that Ashbourne air is 'good to breathe'.

    It seems that all sources of information that purport to tell you about air quality rely on figures supplied to DEFRA (headed up by Mr Gove). The collection of such data in the Derbyshire Dales is the responsibility of the local authority - Derbyshire Dales District Council.

  • Sue Burfoot by Hall Leys Park toilets kept open by Matlock Town Council
    Article: Dec 17, 2018
    By Peter Dobbs and Martin Burfoot

    The Play Area toilets in Hall Leys Park Matlock were proposed for demolition at the end of the summer season, along with several others, by the Conservative run Derbyshire Dales District Council, despite the thousands of visitors who visit Matlock every year.
    Peggy Edwards, a former well loved Liberal Democrat councillor, ran a campaign to provide the facility partly by public subscription, with the Council providing ongoing maintenance, but sadly they have not kept them in good order in recent years. Cllr Sue Burfoot (above) had the support of Lib Dem colleagues, as well as another 8 councillors in seeking to overturn the decision to demolish, with a 'call in' to the full Council. But it was all to no avail, as the huge Tory majority rubber stamped the original decision to close. Of course, there would have been additional costs associated with demolition, refurbishing the pool apparatus part of the toilets building and installing and removing a Portaloo, so we wonder just how much money the Council expected to save by such a cynical move. Matlock's two Conservative councillors voted for both closure and demolition !

  • Victoria Court Flats derelict
    Article: Dec 12, 2018
    By Peter Dobbs

    This derelict eyesore, vandalised and partially burnt out was once a hospital in the attractive market town of Ashbourne in Derbyshire. Known then as the Ashbourne Victoria Memorial Cottage Hospital, it opened its doors in 1897 and was an imposing building on Buxton Rd., Ashbourne, next to St John's church. An Ashbourne landmark, there were even postcards issued as illustrated here; After closing in 1962 it was sold and eventually ended up in the hands of a landlord who let it out as flats, calling it Victoria Court Flats. Unfortunately this landlord, like many others, has failed to maintain the property, instead allowing it to become unfit to live in. Some have ventured inside to show just how grim it has become - see here for photos of the inside.

  • Cllrs Sue Burfoot & Dave Elsworth at Crown Square
    Article: Dec 8, 2018
    By Martin Burfoot

    Town Cllr Dave Elsworth has spent the past two years or more trying to convince planners and highway engineers that the new housing developments off Chesterfield Road, especially the huge Gritstone / Pinewood Road site will inevitably create gridlocked local roads, including roads which converge on Crown Square, not to mention the public health impacts from air pollution.

  • Matlock GP surgery
    Article: Dec 8, 2018
    By Martin Burfoot

    Matlock's GPs are n ow warning us all about the threat to future health care provision, given the serious impacts of unsustainable new housing developments in Matlock and Tansley. The Wolds Action Group recently approached local health care professionals due to growing fears about overstretched facilities.
    In response, our doctors say that building 100s more houses without the capital investment required to cater for them will inevitably add even more pressure to our creaking healthcare structure. So far, no extra money has been provided for GP practices, but even when it is it will be inadequate, so we will see queues for GPs getting longer.
    While private developers are making profits of many £millions, any Section 106 agreements will be nowhere near enough to solve the problem, and will only be one-off payments, so the Government also needs to provide capital funding for a new health centre to serve Matlock and Tansley.

  • Affordable homes in Matlock
    Article: Dec 8, 2018
    By Martin Burfoot

    Most developers seem to be doing their best to avoid building the affordable homes required in our new Local Plan, by pleading poverty, all because of the cost of mitigating problems such as ground contamination or surface water flooding. This should not be tolerated, but developers exploit loopholes and local councils are rarely backed by the Tory Government when developers appeal against any refusal of planning consent. Councils also seem reluctant to challenge developers on such important matters, before planning consent is granted.Another problem is that for the last two years the District Council appears to have spent only a small proportion of their Section 106 receipts on new affordable housing schemes in the Dales, even though Matlock has done better than other places. It seems obvious that building such houses was much easier in the past when local Councils found sites and built their own houses, with much better control than at present. Surely the time has come for our Tory led Government to delegate house building powers to councils once again.

  • Sue Burfoot by controversial tree stump
    Article: Dec 8, 2018
    By Martin Burfoot

    You wouldn't believe the fuss about replacing the long since felled Horse Chestnut tree which used to dominate the Smedley St crossroads close to All Saints Church in Matlock.
    The long suffering Civic Association, along with County Cllr Sue Burfoot just want to get a replacement tree planted, preferably with a small area of paving or grass around it. However, red tape has held up the process for several years, with our Tory so called 'Enterprising County Council' insisting on doing all the work itself, at a cost of over £13,000, but paid for by the Town Council, Civic Association and perhaps community grant funds. Please note that not one penny was ever coming from the County Council ! We think most of the work, if not all of it, like supplying and planting the tree, could be done a lot more cheaply by a local, specialist firm and save everyone a lot of money. This is a case of 'Do what we say…and pay for it as well' ! Despite the intervention of Cllr Burfoot, a senior Tory Councillor has now rejected a compromise scheme. How long will it be before this eyesore becomes a traffic hazard?

  • Robert Court by trees with rosette
    Article: Dec 6, 2018
    By Robert Court

    Liberal Democrat members have recently selected Robert Court to contest Derbyshire Dales for the Lib Dems at the next General Election

    The editorial team caught up with Robert to ask him some questions.
    Robert, what have you done in your life so far? I started out as a physics teacher in London, later being headmaster of Birkdale School, Sheffield for 12 years.
    Do you live in the Dales? Yes, for the last 20 years. And my wife and I love it here.
    Why this move into active politics? It is about feeling I needed to do something rather than just moaning at what I saw happening. I am not a career politician but at a difficult time in our nation's history I want to try to provide a voice for those who have been quietly forgotten.
    By "difficult time" you mean Brexit? Exactly right. Self-interested feuding in the Conservative party has made the EU negotiations a great deal harder. There were many lies and deceptions in the Referendum campaign, and the country voted Leave without knowing what the final deal would be. Whether it be good deal, bad deal, temporary deal or no deal, the democratic way forward should be another vote by the people.
    What outcome are you hoping for? That we stay in the EU and help to reform it from the inside. If we leave, it is the most vulnerable in our community who will suffer the most. Somehow too, we must reunite as a country and heal all the painful divisions that have opened up.
    And after Brexit is resolved? Most importantly, we must give our young people hope for the future, in particular for jobs, affordable housing and a sustainable planet.
    Why should anyone vote for you? The Liberal Democrats offer a responsible but radical alternative to the other two main parties, both of which are alarmingly divided and dominated by extremist ideologies. And I believe that I personally have the skills and experience to be an effective representative at Westminster.
    Surely a Lib Dem will never win Derbyshire Dales? Never say never! Our candidate once came within 101 votes of defeating the present MP. If you like what you read here, don't just vote negatively to keep the other lot out. Abandon the old politics and vote positively for me to be your MP.

  • Wolds Farm site no houses
    Article: Dec 6, 2018
    By Martin Burfoot

    Tory hypocrisy knows no bounds ! Matlock FOCUS readers will know that only the Liberal Democrats have consistently opposed the District Council's Local Plan and some of its 'greenfield' housing site allocations, including the very contentious 415 dwelling Gritstone / Pinewood site at Wolds Farm, which many residents believe is completely unsustainable. A idea of the proposed development can be viewed here.
    District Council Tories voted for the allocation of this site in the Local Plan. Therefore, to distribute a leaflet in parts of Matlock claiming their opposition to the Wolds and other greenfield development in Matlock is completely disingenuous.
    The Wolds site had previously been considered by a committee to be unsuitable for development but later overturned by the full Council. Is this a case of dereliction of duty?

Articles from LibDemVoice.org

The opinions expressed in these articles are those of the individual authors and do not represent the position of Derbyshire Dales Liberal Democrats.