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Cllr Mione Goldspink's article for "The Flyer", January 2021

February 14, 2021 8:23 PM
By Mione Goldspink in The Flyer, January 2021

Local Matters with Mione Goldspink January 2021

The startling news about the Old River Lane project was announced last month. The District Council has carried out a financial re-assessment and has come to the conclusion that the figures for a 500-seat Theatre do not add up, and that the project is simply not viable. I and my Lib Dem colleagues are greatly relieved to hear this admission, as we have been questioning both the public support for the project and also its financial viability ever since we were elected in May 2019. I am very angry that the Town has had a huge, monstrous, multi-storey car park imposed on it at Northgate End, in order to clear the way for the theatre which will now not be built. I feel a mixture of relief, anger and anguish.

I supported the Lib Dem/Labour/Green Party Petition to the Council to Halt the Old River Lane Project. The third part of this Petition asks the Council to carry out a Full Public Consultation in order the find out the views of the community on the development. This request still stands, and I think there is now a real opportunity to find out what the residents of the Town would actually like to see on this site. (It is still the Causeway Car Park at the moment). Could we have something which would really benefit the whole community, and be financially and environmentally sustainable? The revised suggestions of a Cinema will need to be examined very closely, as some of the predictions for cinemas in general are not encouraging. So, I am calling on the Council to set up a Proper Public Consultation, with open questions, and run over several weeks, as soon as possible.

As we start the New Year, we are all desperately hoping that 2021 will be better than 2020. We are pinning our hopes on the Vaccine,- hoping that everyone will accept it, so that we will all be protected. It is tragic that so many people died before their time in 2020, and more people are still dying - devastating for family and friends. It is troubling that so many businesses have struggled and so many jobs have been lost. It is worrying that children and young people have had their education so badly reduced. But now, with vaccines to help, we can begin to rebuild. I hope that the Government will give financial support to the self-employed people who were excluded initially. I also hope that the Government will give better, long term funding to Local Councils so that they can provide the services which the Community needs. I think particularly of funding for Social Care. Local Councils need adequate Government funding in order to pay all our Social Workers, Carers and Care Home staff proper Living Wages, and in order to employ enough of these essential people to deliver a proper, adequate service. The Covid-19 Pandemic has taught us many lessons, and one of these is the value of our Social Services and Care Workers - they should be held in high esteem and paid accordingly.

I wish everyone a Better and More Hopeful New Year.

Mione Goldspink

email: mionegoldspink@hotmail.com

East Herts District Councillor

Lib-Dem Group Leader, EHDC.