Local elections review: Conservatives pledge to make 'a great place to live even better'
Following the Indie's month-long coverage of the May 2 local election campaign for town and district councils in Bishop's Stortford, we asked the parties to reflect on their performances and look to the future after a vote which saw the Conservatives' absolute control of the town council reduced from all 18 seats in 2015 to 11 this time, with 5 Lib Dems and 1 Labour member. On East Herts Council, there are 40 Conservatives, 6 Lib Dems, 2 Labour and 2 Green Party after the Tories' 2015 50-seat clean sweep was consigned to history.
Cllr Alastair Ward-Booth, who stepped up from town to district council, comfortably winning a Silverleys ward seat, said on behalf of the Conservatives: "Over the coming four years we will continue to pursue our vision of making a good place to live even better, and we will work with the opposition when they come up with good ideas.
"We will continue to introduce a number of active measures to tackle the problem of air pollution in our town. It's good that air pollution at the Hockerill junction has recently fallen, but we recognise there's still work to do.
"We've introduced charging points for electric vehicles to make their use practical and will continue to promote them over the next four years. We've also introduced a new taxi licensing policy to encourage the use of electric taxis and take older, more polluting taxis off our roads, and will be taking steps such as installing rapid chargers for use by taxis. There's also an electric vehicle promotion event in the pipeline.
"The district council runs an annual Clean Air Day campaign and works with local schools to promote walking to school. We will continue this valuable initiative.
"The district council is rewriting the Air Quality Supplementary Planning Document, consulting with groups such as the Bishop's Stortford Climate Group, that will oblige developers to include mitigation measures to improve air quality.
"The Conservative-led town council has rolled out the commuter 'Stride and Ride' scheme and, if successful, we hope to expand this service to help save commuters money and take cars off our roads at peak times.
"We will continue investing significantly in Bishop's Stortford for the benefit of all residents.
"The new leisure centre at Grange Paddocks will replace an ageing facility with a state-of-the-art gym and fitness studios, new pools, improved football changing areas and 3G astro pitch. The new leisure centre will be built alongside the current facility to minimise disruption during the build.
"We will continue to invest in regeneration of the Old River Lane site, replacing the aged and ugly Charringtons House with a new focal point for the town centre. We will continue to work in partnership with the Rhodes trustees and the town council to create a new arts centre to enhance our town's cultural offering. The plans also include a new library for the town, building on an excellent facility for residents.
"We will continue to work hard for the residents of East Herts and deliver on the promises we made in our local elections manifesto to invest in Bishop's Stortford, making a great place to live even better."