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Mione Goldspink's article for the Flyer, November 2015,

December 13, 2015 10:34 PM
By Mione Goldspink in The Flyer, November 2015

November 2015

Local Matters with Mione Goldspink

So, now we know! - The District Council has bought back the Causeway Site for £19.5 million, having sold it 6 years ago for £7.35 million. This is the site off the Old River Lane which includes the Council Offices, the Waitrose Car Park, the Causeway Car Park and now Charrington's House. Even allowing for the complications of this deal, with various freehold and leasehold arrangements on different parts of the site, this seems to be a very bad deal for the tax payers of East Herts. We are now required to foot the bill for this ill-advised venture.

Having paid the price for the Old River Lane site (I do not feel comfortable with the name being changed to the "Bishop's Quarter" - it is as if the Tory Councillors want us all to forget the history of the site), the Council Leaders say that they will consult with residents about any future use or development. One suggestion which has been offered is to build a large Medical Centre, which could be used by both the Town's GP surgeries. Another suggestion is to convert the old Council Offices into flats for affordable rents. These could be rented out mostly to local people on the Council waiting list, with possibly with one or two being reserved for Syrian Refugees.

I am really pleased that the District Council has agreed to play its part in welcoming Syrian Refugees under the Government Relocation Scheme. This will mean East Herts housing and helping 10 people per year for the next 5 years, so it is only a small number, but at least it is a start. There was a public meeting on the 8th of October, hosted by "Churches Together", and at which I spoke, which was very well attended by Christians and non-Christians. There is obviously a great feeling of good will in our community and a real wish to help people who are suffering in the humanitarian tragedy which is happening in Syria and neighbouring countries. If anyone would like to join the Hertfordshire network to help the Syrian Refugees, please email me. This network has active groups in Hertford and St Albans, and now in Bishop's Stortford. We will be raising funds for the UNHCR as well as offering practical help. "Churches Together" are also opening a Winter Night Shelter for the homeless of Bishop's Stortford at the end of November.

A local tragedy, which could have had far worse consequences, was the fire at Bishop's Stortford College at the end of September. Fire broke out in the middle of the night in the Robert Pearce Boarding House, but all 23 students and the staff got out safely. The building was destroyed, and the students lost all their belongings and school work, and the staff lost their homes, but they are all safe and alive. It must have been a terrifying experience. I have great admiration for them all, and for the Firemen who were called to the scene.

After all these serious matters, I am now going to Rhodes Centre to see the play "Abigail's Party" for some relaxation!

Mione Goldspink. (Chairman Bishop's Stortford Liberal Democrats).

email: mionegoldspink@hotmail.com