South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats announce their top team to take on the Conservatives

The Liberal Democrats have unveiled their shadow cabinet on South Gloucestershire Council following their Annual General Meeting last night.

Newly re-elected group leader, Claire Young (Frampton Cotterell) said: “I’m delighted in our new frontbench that we have a great balance of experienced returning councillors and new councillors bringing fresh ideas. I know that this will be a really dynamic team who will do a great job of holding the Conservative-run Council to account.”  

Along with Cllr Young, also returning to the shadow cabinet are Maggie Tyrrell (Thornbury) as Deputy Leader and Shadow Executive Member for Adults and Public Health, along with Mike Drew (Yate North) who stays on as Shadow Executive Member for Corporate Resources.

Adrian Rush (Chipping Sodbury & Cotswold Edge), who returned to the Council after defeating former Conservative Cabinet Member Rob Creer earlier this month, will lead for the Lib Dems on Planning, Transport and Strategic Environment. While Louise Harris (Dodington), who joined the Council last year after her by-election win will take on the Community Services and Tourism brief, which covers services as diverse as libraries, leisure centres and recycling collections.

Two first time councillors, elected in May, will also take on shadow cabinet roles. UWE student James Arrowsmith (Stoke Park & Cheswick), who at 23 is the youngest member of the Council, will take on the Children & Young People’s portfolio. While lecturer and former teacher, Jayne Stansfield (Thornbury), becomes the new Lib Dem lead member for Schools, Skills and Employment – and will lead the fight against Conservative SEND cuts and chronic underinvestment in local schools. 

        

The full set of Lib Dem lead members, is as follows:

Shadow Cabinet:

Leader and Shadow Executive Member for the Local Economy and Devolution: Claire Young

Deputy Leader and Shadow Executive Member for Adults & Public Health: Maggie Tyrrell

Shadow Executive Member for Corporate Resources: Mike Drew

Shadow Executive Member for Children and Young People: James Arrowsmith

Shadow Executive Member Schools, Skills and Employment: Jayne Stansfield     

Shadow Executive Member for Community Services & Tourism: Louise Harris

Shadow Executive Member for Planning, Transport and Strategic Environment: Adrian Rush

Committee Leads:

Co-chair of Scrutiny: Maggie Tyrrell

Lead member on Health Overview & Scrutiny: John O’Neill

Lead member on Spatial Planning and Strategic Sites Delivery: Mike Drew

Lead member on Development Management: James Arrowsmith

Lead member on Regulatory: Tony Davis

Lead member on Public Rights of Way & Commons Registration: Pat Trull 

Lead member on Audit & Accounts: John O’Neill

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Lib Dem delight as Council results point to winning back Parliamentary seat

South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats have been celebrating after boosting their share of council seats to 28% (up 5% on 2015) and defeating two Conservative frontbenchers. The Conservatives narrowly clung on to control of the Council with a reduced majority but notable election casualties included Conservative Cabinet member for Resources, Rob Creer, and Conservative Chair of Health Scrutiny, Marian Gilpin. Both lost their seats to new Lib Dem councillors.

Leader of the Lib Dem Council Group and Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Thornbury & Yate, Claire Young said: “I am delighted by these results. We were the only party to increase both our number of councillors and share of the vote. I am particularly pleased to be joined by seven new Liberal Democrat councillors. The Lib Dems now hold 17 out of 61 seats in total, including 16 out of the 20 seats in Thornbury & Yate constituency – putting us in a strong position to take back the seat from the Conservatives at the next General Election.”

The number of votes cast for each party in Thornbury & Yate constituency was:

Liberal Democrats: 14,174 (55%)
Conservatives: 9,699 (37%)
Labour: 1,396 (5%)
Independents: 340 (1%)
UKIP: 330 (1%)

Claire Young added: “This result is a clear warning to the Conservatives that local residents are sick and tired of being taken for granted while the Tories fight among themselves and neglect public services. If they don’t get a grip and start putting residents and services first, then I believe that the Conservatives will lose the constituency and the Council next time round.”

There was good news for the Lib Dems outside of their traditional strongholds too, with James Arrowsmith winning Stoke Park & Cheswick ward in Filton and Bradley Stoke constituency. At 23, James will become the youngest member of the Council. James said: “It is truly an honour to be elected to represent all the people of Cheswick Village and Stoke Park. I have already held my first residents’ advice surgery and I will continue to stand up for local people over the coming four years.”

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Lib Dem health campaigners welcome X-Ray news

Lib Dem campaigners have welcomed news that X-ray services will be available at Yate Minor Injury Unit (MIU) during weekends and Bank Holidays from later this month. 

Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Thornbury and Yate Claire Young said: 

"When it was announced that the MIU would be open 8am to 8pm seven days a week from April, we challenged health chiefs about the lack of X-ray services at weekends. We kept pushing and are delighted that they have now agreed to offer X-rays on weekends and Bank Holidays during the busier periods of the day from later this month." 

Cllr Ruth Davis (Lib Dem, Yate Central) said: 

"We've long argued that weekends are some of the busiest times for minor injuries, especially for people playing sport. It's great news for people in the Yate area that they will now be able to get an X-ray at the weekend."
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Our reaction to Conservative MPs’ irresponsibility on indicative Brexit votes

Lib Dem candidates have branded South Gloucestershire’s Conservative MPs “completely irresponsible” over their voting on eight Brexit options last night. 

Luke Hall (Thornbury and Yate, Conservative) and Chris Skidmore (Kingswood, Conservative) both voted to reject all eight options presented to MPs – while Jack Lopresti (Filton and Bradley Stoke, Conservative) voted only in favour of a No Deal Brexit with no agreement and against all seven other proposals.

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Planning Inspector says no to Alveston Apartments

Councillors Maggie Tyrrell and Shirley Holloway are celebrating with local residents since hearing the news that a planning application has been turned down on the site of Alveston House Hotel at the junction of Alveston Hill and the A38. Site owners had wanted to replace this landmark building at the entrance to the village with a three-storey development of apartments.

Cllr Maggie Tyrrell said “We’re so relieved that the Planning Inspector who heard the Appeal on this application agreed with local people that such a development was wrong for this site. It would have been a very urban look on the edge of the village, with apartments built right to the edge of the site, dominating the corner and completely changing the rural character of the area. The decision to turn the application down was absolutely the right one.”

Cllr Shirley Holloway added “The owners of the hotel have told local people that they now intend to keep the hotel running. I do hope that they can make a success of the business and that local people will support them in this enterprise. We really don’t want to be faced with another planning application like this last one.”

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