Tories up to their old tricks

In a fraught Town Council meeting on Monday 30th November, Conservative councillors voted to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of ex Labour councillor Amy Bourke-Waite with a Conservative party member.

There were four applicants for the vacancy: Cathy Brownjohn, Brian Bylett, Dave Carter and King Mills.

Cllrs Ruth Brown and Carol Stanier said that they had voted for Brownjohn as she was the replacement for ex-Cllr Bourke-Waite, as nominated by the local Labour party. Cllr Stanier said “The residents of Palace ward voted for two Labour councillors in May 2018 and now they have none. This appointment does not reflect the wishes of the public and is an insult to democracy”.

The Lib Dem councillors were told previously that the local Labour party had agreed with the town council Conservative leadership that the Conservatives would not stand a candidate against the Labour candidate. In the spirit of co-operation the Liberal Democrats also agreed not to stand a candidate and to support the Labour one.

Bylett has previously spoken on behalf of the local Conservative party, stood as an unsuccessful Conservative party candidate and is a current party member.

The event is a bizarre rerun of the events following the resignation of UKIP councillor Paula McGlynn in 2016, in which the Conservative majority appointed a Conservative councillor in place of a UKIP one, making front page news and causing outrage locally. Cllr Ruth Brown said “I am outraged that they have again co-opted a Conservative to a Labour seat. They have demonstrated that they have no respect for the electorate and cannot be trusted.”

Graeme Fell elected as Chair at our AGM

Graeme Fell

In our AGM on November 16th 2020 we elected the following members to our committee:

Chair – Graeme Fell
Treasurer – Bill Sterland
Secretary – Liz Beardwell
Membership Development Officer – Bryony May
Webmaster – Tom Perry
Vice Chair – Carol Stanier
Press & Publicity – Alex Prosser-Snelling
Social Secretary – Ruth Brown
Data Officer – Emma Squire-Smith

Closure of Morrisons store

We have just heard that Morrisons plan to close their Royston store on 25th October 2020. We are saddened by this decision, which we as County, District and Town Councillors, and as local campaigners, have done everything in our power to prevent. We believe this closure could adversely affect the whole town centre and in particular those people less able to travel for their shopping. Our thoughts now are with the current employees, who we hope will find new jobs quickly in the local area.

Zoom councillor surgeries

Our Councillors are available to meet residents remotely in our Zoom councillor surgeries, where we welcome questions, comments or suggestions on any local issues. From 5th September onwards, they are held monthly on the first Saturday of the month at 11am.

The meetings are hosted by County Councillor Steve Jarvis and the Zoom meeting ID is 828-7170-6730 (no password is necessary). You don’t need a Zoom account to join the meeting on a computer/tablet. To access from a smart phone you need to install the Zoom app. Please join us, we’d love to meet you!

Statement on recent Twitter comments surrounding the Royston Museum

Black Lives Matter. Royston Liberal Democrats reject all prejudice and discrimination based upon race, colour, religion, age, disability, sex or sexual orientation and oppose all forms of entrenched privilege and inequality. We do not celebrate historical figures that have strong associations with slavery or oppression of any sort, and will work via democratic means to remove any racial or other prejudices within our local society.

We do not advocate criminal damage. We strongly believe that any removal or modification of statues, memorials, or other exhibits should be performed in a consensual way, by the owners of the items and taking into account societal changes since such memorials were produced.

We uphold the right of council staff, as anyone else, to hold and express their own personal opinions via their own personal channels. However this does not mean that we agree with or endorse those views. Any views that express criminal intent should be investigated by the appropriate authority.

Where somebody is accused of an offence we believe that it is an important principle that they should have the right to a fair and impartial investigation.

Town Council is suspended

Royston Town Council decided at its Extraordinary meeting on 23rd March 2020 (draft minutes are available here) to suspend many council functions, including regular meetings. All necessary decisions are being made by two councillors and the clerk. Virtual meetings are now permitted by law, and many parish councils locally are holding meetings in this way. However, so far there have been no virtual meetings of Royston Town Council and none are scheduled, though we have been told that options are being investigated.

We believe that regular meetings with a full complement of councillors and public participation should be reinstated virtually as soon as possible and we will continue to push for this to happen.

Royston Liberal Democrats are committed to democracy and transparency at every level of government.

Consultation open on local community health services

Our local NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is asking for your views on community health services.

Section 11 in the questionnaire allows you to share your ideas and is an opportunity to suggest an NHS Health Hub on the Royston hospital site. The Royston Community Health organisation has suggested that this could have nurses, physios and GPs and could have a care home with room for people who are rehabilitating after being in hospital. But this will need strong local support in order for it to happen.

Click here to have your say.

Local Transparency page now live

On our Local Transparency page you can now find recordings of recent public meetings of Royston Town Council.

We have uploaded these to allow more people to learn what occurs at council meetings and to facilitate a greater level of transparency and accountability in local government.

Please let us know if you have any feedback.

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