Here are just some of our Green Councillors' Achievements in the past year.
Click here to download a summary
Combating Climate Change
With the Government in Westminster failing to take the action needed to meet the scale of this challenge, Green Party councillors and members stepped up to take local action to curb climate breakdown.
At the South West Green Party Summer Conference in July 2019, Eleanor Combley, Leader of Bristol Green Councillors, presented Cllr Carla Denyer with the Clarence Barrett Award from LGA Independent Group for the "Outstanding Achievement 2018-19" – in inspiring and driving Bristol City Council to declare Europe's first ClimateEmergency on 13 November 2018.
By October 2019 Green action across Britain had pushed more than half of all local authorities to declare a climate emergency, creating a mechanism to hold local authorities to gold standard climate action. Their action is part of a national Green Party campaign, which aims to see every council in England and Wales declare a climate emergency, in response to the UN’s warning we have until 2030 to take positive action limit climate catastrophe.
Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party who won a climate emergency declaration from Lambeth Council where he is a councillor, said:“Greens are setting the gold standard on climate action. The local people stepping up to lead where the Government has failed on climate action, are a source of hope for us all. The UN has made clear we have a limited window of opportunity before 2030 to limit climate breakdown, but the Government is twiddling its thumbs. I am incredibly proud of all Green Party councillors and members taking real climate action - it's time for Westminster to follow our example.”
Below are just a few of the latest examples of what Green Councillors are achieving regarding climate action:
In Norwich, Green Party’s Paul Neale, at January’s City Council meeting,secured a unanimous vote from all parties to build future council housing to the highest possible environmental standards. This shows what a strong Green presence on the council can achieve. Back in 2014 he had set the ball rolling by getting the council to consider building houses to these specifications. This culminated in the award-winning, PassivHaus standard council houses being built at Goldsmith Street. Paul Neale, councillor for Nelson Ward, said: “I feel that after a journey of six years the council should now commit to always building to the highest possible environmental standards not just explore it, or worse go back to the old ways. These construction levels achieve wins all round: for tenants facing fuel poverty; for the council by reducing rent arrears; and for the environment by helping tackle the climate crisis.”
In Stroud, where a Green Councillor chair the Environment Committee and is leading on the Council’s Climate Change Plan, Greens have gone even further and managed to secure the backing of other parties for approve the inclusion in the Draft Local Plan of a requirement that all new developments be carbon zero as well as a policy to encourage use of land for renewable energy projects. “https://www.stroud.gov.uk/media/1071163/item-6-appendix-a-draft-local-plan-2019_compressed.pdf
Cllr Sue Roberts is the Chair of the South Oxfordshire District Council’s Climate Emergency Advisory Committee and recently presented this report to her council. This committee is overseeing the design and procurement of net zero new council offices, and has commissioned baseline reviews of the council’s and district’s energy use and carbon emmissions. The Plan for the coming years includes: retrofit our council-owned buildings forenergy efficiency and renewables, whilst helping home-owners and landlords to dothe same; to undertake feasibility studies in order to make wise investments inrenewables, to reduce single-use plastic and promote plant-based diets; to move to low-carbon travel; to encourage behaviour change and low-carbon action in thewider community and in business, including through providing baselines and strategies for change; and to develop schemes for the recovery of nature.
At only her second council meeting, Nicola Day got Peterborough City Council to declare a climate emergency. Since then, she’s been working very closely with both council officers and Extinction Rebellion to make links between protest and opening up local democracy and has just been shortlisted for the 'Environmental Women in Peterborough Awards for 2020' by Women In Peterborough.
Even only two Green Councillors can have a big influence if they form a Group. Having a Green Group of two councillors on Arun District Council has ensured the Group Leader has a key role in shaping council strategic policy: this has resulted in climate change being an overarching priority, and the appointment of a Sustainability Manager, a high level post working across the council to achieve Net zero by 2030.
Promoting Equality and Justice
The first two Green Councillors to be elected onto Swale Borough Council, in 2019are now part of the ruling Administration with alliance partners Labour, Liberal Democrats and Independents. Since being elected they have campaigned for zero tolerance of racism on the council and the Council has now introduced a requirement for all councillors to undertake high quality diversity and equality training so that the Council will never again be brought into disrepute by individual councillors’ public support for racists.
In January2019 Green Councillors in Richmond won cross-party support for a motion calling for a Living Wage for all council employees. The motion welcomed the fact that the London Living Wage is already paid to all directly employed staff and noted that a condition of them becoming an Accredited Living Wage Employer is to develop a plan to extend the London Living Wage to staff working for contractors. The Council agreed to develop a costed plan with a view to ensuring all future contracts allow for the London Living Wage within the lifetime of the contract. The Council hopes that these actions will promote a greater take up of the London Living Wage across all borough employers.
In her speech proposing the motion at the full Council meeting on Tuesday 22 January, Deputy Green Group Leader, Andree Frieze, said: 'Just this week, Oxfam announced their inequality report in which they show that the world's 26 richest people own as much as poorest 50%. It is entirely clear that rather than wealth ‘trickling down’ into the upturned palms of the 3.8 billion poorest people on the planet, money is funnelling upwards into the grasping hands of an intensely privileged, gilded few. As a council we cannot sit by and let the poor and vulnerable face increasing inequality, particularly when that inequality is happening right here in our own borough."
Supporting the most vulnarable in our communities
Lambeth Green councillors have been working hard to tackle homelessness in the borough: In 2020, the successful Living Rent motion to protect tenants proposed by Becca Thackray, calls for the power to establish and enforce local rent controls to be devolved to Lambeth Borough Council. The motion also commits the council to publish an annual ‘Lambeth Living Rent’ for the private rented sector and to implement a private landlord licensing scheme to clamp down on rogue landlords.
Green councillors in Lambeth also developed a Homelessness Charter which has been adopted by Lambeth Council. The Charter includes a bill of rights including the right to housing, the right to use public space and the right to sanitary facilities.
In December 2018 a scheme, championed by Green Councillor Maggie Allen, to prevent vulnerable care leavers from paying council tax up to the age of 25 ws agreed by Solihull Council. Coun Allen delivered a moving account of her own personal experience as a foster carer, reflecting on the story of an abused seven-year-old boy.
She said: “This is the story of just one looked after child. All stories are different, but the theme is the same. Neglect and abuse. These are children more vulnerable than our own. And many of them don’t have the emotional health to be independent at 18 and manage their own money. The sanctions available for council tax debt are severe, to exempt them until they are 25 is a small and affordable thing we can do to make things easier for them. Looked after children are our children and they are not to blame for their circumstances.”
Although Councillor Allen’s original motion was voted down by the Tories, a compromise was finally agreed which included a commitment to lobby the government to issue statutory guidance which will exempt all care leavers, nationally, from council tax up to age 25 and to call on the government to provide funding to compensate for the loss of council revenue arising from exemptions.
Ending dependence on polluting fossil fuel
Arun Green councillors presented a motion leading to West Sussex County Council being challenged to divest from its fossil fuel pension funds (part of Worthing Climate Action Network campaign).
Lancashire County Councillor Gina Dowding is encouraging the county’s £5bn pension fund to take into account ethical as well as financial factors and has persuaded it to sign up to the United Nations Charter Principles for Responsible Investment.
Kirklees's three Green Cllrs managed to get approved a groundbreaking provision that said any applications to drill for hydrocarbons (including fracking) in their district, would have to demonstrate as part of their planning application how they would have ‘net zero impact on climate change’. The justification for this policy is based on Government pronouncements supporting the Paris Climate Agreement.
Working with Labour and Lib Dem councillors as part of a "Rainbow Alliance", Stroud Greens have helped Stroud District Council to become the first Council in Europe to become carbon neutral in that carbon dioxide emissions from its operations have been outweighed by the reduction in emissions from energy efficiency measures and renewable energy installations it has put in place. Green Councillor Simon Pickering, chair of the committee, said: “This is a tremendous achievement, which has been delivered through a multi-pronged strategy focused on households, businesses and community buildings, as well as reducing the council’s own operational emissions. We have brought in over £36m investment into county allowing us to create jobs, cut heating bills and, of course, reduce carbon emissions. It’s been a win-win approach to tackling climate change, helping households and stimulating the local economy.
As part of keeping its own house in order, council buildings have seen significant solar panel arrays installed, lighting upgrades, and insulation and air tightness improvements. On top of these has been a programme of behavioural change encouraging staff to become more energy efficient. Village and community halls have also received funding to make them environmentally friendly and businesses across the district have also taken part in initiatives to help them reduce their emissions. However, the greatest contribution by far comes from the council’s work with households: through the Gloucestershire Warm and Well Partnership, advice and support to households on energy efficiency projects saved 2,468.6 tonnes of CO2 (75% of the carbon savings).
changing the culture of politics : collaboration
Green Councillors now form part of the Ruling Administration on 17 Principal Authority councils - as well as over 10 town councils - where they work collaboratively with councillors from other parties to run the Council under various different power sharing arrangements. This is often the result of months of hard work to build positive relationships and trust.
As just one example: with two Green Councillors for the first time ever on North Devon District Council, the Lib Dem Leader offered Green Cllr Netti Pearson the role of Lead on the Environment. Making her learning curve as a new councillor even steeper, she has been working cooperatively with the Lib Dem Lead for Climate Change and is part of the Council’s Climate Action Team. As a big believer in participatory action, Netti has been encouraging the rural parishes in her District to work together to address the Climate Emergency: she instigated a well-received climate emergency workshop for parishes in October and has organised a climate action week in March aimed at getting parishes across the district offering workshops, drop-ins, films etc in order to get the wider public engaged and informed.
For most of our Green Councillors, each successful motion to council - including those listed here - required working collaboratively with councillors from other parties to get them to back the motion.
In Kidlington and in Bicester, Greens and Lib Dems are working together to bring ‘Grown Up Politics’ to the forthcoming district council elections on 2nd May. Ian Middleton is standing again in Kidlington East, where he came a close second the Conservatives last year. In Kidlington West the Liberal Democrats will be standing candidates in two seats. Neither party will be standing candidates against each other and will be endorsing each other’s respective campaigns. All three candidates have pledged to work to forward the aims of both parties if some or all of them are elected. They are campaigning for :
- A stronger and more effective opposition to the Conservatives’ unhealthily large majority on Cherwell District Council;
- Continued opposition to Cherwell DC’s plan to build 4,400 houses on the Green Belt in Kidlington, Yarnton and Begbroke to meet Oxford City’s housing needs. They want to ensure that any houses that are built should be genuinely affordable and aimed at local need;
- Strong opposition to the Conservative’s plans for an Oxford to Cambridge Expressway especially with regard to it’s environmental and air quality impacts;
- An end to Conservative cuts to local services and their failure to maintain local roads, cycle paths and pavements, schools and health facilities.
Green candidate for Kidlington East, Ian Middleton, said: “At a local level our two parties still agree on most key issues and we hope to build on the successes of last year’s campaign for both of us. Far more continues to unite us than divides us at this crucial time for our community.” Liberal Democrat candidate for Kidlington West, Katherine Tyson, said: “We want to work with the local community to make our area a better place to live. We will stand up for local needs and campaign for the infrastructure needed to support development.”
In Bicester, Green party candidate for Bicester East, Robert Nixon, will campaign alongside Independent Cllr Nick Cotter to provide a stronger voice for the people of Bicester at Cherwell District Council on issues such as improvements to public services which vulnerable residents rely on. Robert and Nick will both be campaigning for:
- A stronger and more effective opposition to the Conservatives’ unhealthy large majority on Cherwell District Council and Bicester Town Council;
- Stronger environmental building standards for new developments, improvements to local health services and transport links;
- Cherwell District Council and Bicester Town Council to declare a climate emergency.
Green Party candidate for Bicester East, Robert Nixon, said: “I am in agreement with Nick on many issues and we intend to practise “grown up politics” in order to elect a wider range of voices to Cherwell District Council and Bicester Town Council. We will be more representative of the diverse political views of the people of Bicester. We have many issues and policies that unite us. I am thrilled to be working with Nick in the interests of the town.” Independent candidate for Bicester South and Ambrosden and current Bicester Town Councillor Nick Cotter said: “Our town is under huge pressure in regard to residential and warehouse developments. I know that Robert, if elected would be a great campaigner working with me for the benefit of all the people of Bicester.”
A recent by-election result in nearby Haddenham and Stone saw the Green party overturn a large Tory majority with over 50% of the vote, perhaps indicating a shift in public feeling towards the need for something different.
Stroud Greens entered a five-year power sharing deal with Labour on their District Council between 2011 and 2016. This was renewed after 2016 elections. One of the conditions of the deal was to move to a committee system with key decision-making meetings to be in the evening. After the five years, the council's annual independent survey revealed the highest ever resident and business approval rating of the council services since records began 14 years ago. Stroud Greens have encouraged Conservative ("opposition") councillors into cross-party meetings with officers to discuss difficult decisions, ending previous habits of closed-door decisions by a single-party cabal followed by confrontational "show" meetings.
Reducing Waste to Landfill and encouraging recycling
Green councillors in Burgess Hill, Mid Sussex, have set up a Repair Cafe, to launch on 15th Feb. The Repair cafes will result in less waste to landfill, will be a great place for people to get to know each other & reduce loneliness, and will help low-income households get gadgets mended and to value and learn from the skills of the older people doing the repairing.
In Worcester, Cllr Neil Laurenson persuaded Worcester City Council to install public drinking water fountains in the city centre. Following a Green Party motion in July 2018, the city council agreed to stop using single-use plastics and has been working with Plastic Free Worcester.
Back in 2016 Stroud Greens were instrumental in introducing a new food waste recycling scheme for households. In the first two weeks, 60 per cent more food waste than expected was collected. The waste food goes to an anaerobic digester (below) which turns it into methane for use in the national gas main while and the digestate is used for fertilizer on farmland. By 2018, the Council had cut the amount of waste is was sending to landfill by half. In 2019, under Green Leadership of the Environment Committe, the council won a national award for being the highest performing council for recycling in the south west, and with residents throwing away the least amount of residual waste in England.
Cllr Simon Pickering, Stroud
Green councillors in Exeter gained unanimous support for a motion pledging Exeter City Council to become a ‘single-use plastic-free’ authority by the end of 2018.
According to recent research, eight million metric tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the world’s oceans each year, endangering marine life and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that by 2050 the weight of plastic in the oceans will exceed that of fish. There is also a growing understanding of the risks posed to human health by toxic chemicals present in plastics.
Councillors agreed to make Exeter City Council a ‘single-use plastic-free’ authority by the end of 2018, including an end to the purchase and procurement of SUPs through the ECC supply chain and ending the sale and provision of SUP products, such as bottles, cups, cutlery and drinking straws, in council buildings. The Council will also investigate the possibility of requiring pop - up food and drink vendors at council events to avoid SUPs as a condition of their contract.
The motion, proposed by Green Councillor Chris Musgrave, also commits the Council to work with tenants and operators in commercial properties owned by Exeter City Council to support the phasing out of SUP cups, bottles, cutlery and straws and re-usable and affordable food containers are available for sale in public markets and to work with festivals organisers to create policy in which single-use ‘disposable’ plastic cups are replaced at all city festivals with reusable or deposit scheme cups. The aim is that ultimately this will become a condition for obtaining a licence for large scale events.
Cllr Musgrave said: “Councils can play an important part in the fight against the eight million tonnes of plastic waste that end up in the world’s oceans each year. Exeter does well at recycling some plastics through its Materials and Reclamation Facility operation, but much plastic doesn’t get recycled, is totally unnecessary and hugely damaging to our environment. This motion gained cross-party support. We can now make Exeter single-use plastic free. We must do all we can to prevent our children inheriting a world where the weight of plastic in the oceans exceeds that of fish.”
Ending the use of toxic herbicide
In the London Assembly, Caroline Russell it was passed unanimously.
In Brighton and Hove, Greens obtained an agreement with the ruling Labour council to end the use of Glyphosate – the weedkiller thought to cause cancer.
The three Green councillors on Lewes District council have persuaded the council to trial a pesticide free alternative and are running a campaign to push for a ban.
Glastonbury Greens managed to implement what is thought to be the country's first ban on chemical herbicides (for use on council owned areas). They introduced Foamstream, an eco-friendly herbicide as a replacement. You can see a video about it here
Cutting car dependency
In Suffolk in november 2018, the campaiginign group, Save our Meadows, which was set up and supported by Green County Councillor Robert Lindsday, has won a four year battle to stop a bypass being built over water meadows outside the market town of Sudbury. Councillor Lindsay said
"It is great news that Suffolk County Council have realised, at last, that the damage from a bypass built beautiful, tranquil countryside, used and loved by thousands of people, will far outweigh any supposed benefits. What is needed now is a fresh, holistic look at the transport situation in Sudbury. There are not enough buses linking Cornard with Sudbury, there is virtually no bus service to the health centre built on the north side of town and there are not enough buses linking towns people with the main employment centre on the east of town. A huge proportion of people driving to Sudbury are driving less than one mile distance. Using £10m as a seed fund, we could draw up a plan to make the town a beacon for walking and cycling and public transport. We should prioritise road space for bus lanes, cycle lanes and pedestrians, encouraging more people to leave their cars at home.”
Mid Suffolk District councilllor Rachel Eburne battled for six years to get super fast broadband for residents of her Suffolk village Haughley Green where many residents had internet services equivalent to dial up. The move importantly reduces car dependency for residents of villages by allowing them to work and shop from home.
Edinburgh Greens consistently backed schemes which improve walking and cycling in the city - and developed the first "towpath code" for the Union Canal.
Getting Council Finances in Order:
A Green Councillor on Edinburgh City Council suceeded in getting the Council to end Contraversial Loan Agreements which have been costing the Public Millions of Pounds.
In October 2019, following an inspiring presentation at the AGC Summer Conference by Debt Resistance UK, Scottish Green Councillor Gavin Corbett proposed to Edinburgh City Council that they exit from its punitive LOBO loans which have meant the Council paying 8% interest at a time when they could have taken out loans from the Public Works Finance Board at only 2% interest.
for the full story see https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/14782/analysis-how-edinburgh-said-no-lobo-loans-and-why-it-matters
Standing up for residents against the developer's bulldozers
Lambeth Greens joined residents of a sheltered housing block campaigning against the Labour-led council's plan to demolish it and sell the site to developers. As a result of the actions in Green councillor Scott Ainslie's ward, Labour shelved demolition plans for that block and other sheltered units in the borough.
The success of Lambeth Greens' sheltered housing campaign led to residents of other council-owned housing estates facing the bulldozer asking for Lambeth Green Party's help. Cllr Ainslie forced the council to publicly scrutinise its decision to demolish Cressingham Gardens - a large estate in Lambeth. This bought the residents time to build a legal case to seek and win a judicial review. Residents have overwhelmingly voted for a retro-fitted refurb and to stay in their homes. Labour, who nearly lost an important by-election to the Greens, appear to have backtracked on demolition plans.
Safer streets for people
In Kirklees,a successful bid for public realm funding by Green Party Councillors resulted in traffic calming at Cross Lane in Newsome, which the community had long campaigned for
York Greens secured the first 'trial' 20mph residential street in York that ultimately led to a citywide scheme. They also secured a 20mph limit outside two local schools in spite of it being on a trunk road. Stroud Greens have implemented area-wide 20mph limits across much of the town and further afield as well as introducing innovative traffic calming measures. In the London Borough of Lambeth, the Labour-led council introduced a borough-wide 20mph limit after years of Green campaining.
Protecting the Countryside
Stroud District Councillor Norman Kay sits on the Management Board of the beautiful Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) where he’s been working for several months with a colleague from Cotswold District Council to convince the Board that it should reappraise its policies towards land management and its support for renewable energy installations in the light of the climate emergency.
Expecting an uphill battle with resistance to change from the farming and other interests on the Board, they were pleasantly surprised at the support when their motion calling for a greener role for AONBs, action to restore biodiversity and a more active role generally, was unanimously approved.
Specific proposals are now being put together. At present the Board claims it is not averse to PV and similar energy projects provided they are small scale – on domestic roofs or in less than half a hectare, and sited in out-of-the-way places and it does not support wind power higher than 25 metres and not in prominent places. In reality it is quite restrictive. Norman also wants a change in farming practices with the AONB encouraging sustainability and less use of fertilisers and sprays and a more encouraging attitude towards renewable energy within the AONB.
Norman says “ Thus far we find that we have been pushing against an open door. However we anticipate resistance against any significant changes to life styles or action which affect people’s pockets.We are glad nevertheless to have helped open up the discussion and to help move the AONB towards more sustainable initiatives.”
During their election campaign in May 2019, two new Green councillors on Swale Borough Council heard a strong message from constituents that they want to see change, especially to cancel plans for large housing estates in the countryside. Since being elected, they have campaigned against inappropriate housing developments in the countryside and. Swale Borough Council has now announced a new priority for affordable homes to meet local need and close to transport links. Building large estates in the countryside is no longer a priority. A new local plan is being developed to reflect these new strategic goals
In January 2020 in Lewes, Sean McLeod has got Southern Water to take action on sewage spills which have been a common occurance at a local nature reserve for the past 12 years. The water company promised a deep clean of the area, a new monitor to alert them more quickly to blockages in future and more regular checking. They also agreed to a Community Engagement Day to educate the public about the cause of the blockages, which is people putting inappropriate items down down toilets,and to work proactively with the public to avoid future occurrences.
On Thurnby Parish Council, Leicester, Melanie Wakley has been working since last March to get permission to plant a wildflower verge in her village. As a Parish Councilor she thought this would be quite easy, but apparently it isn’t! The final stages were completing a consultation at Christmas by knocking on doors of houses near to the verge and then meeting a representative from the local County Council and filling in more paperwork until she has now finally got permission. Melanie is now in the process of engaging local people in the project by holding a ‘preparation’ session and then a ‘planting’ session.
On Bicester Town Council, Robert Nixon - after campaigning on it since November 2018 - finally persuaded Network Rail to carry out a two day litter cleanup operation on their land. He said “It's an area of my ward that has been in a terrible condition for as long as I can remember. This is a huge win for residents especially given that an officer told me "Oh you'll never get them [Network Rail] to do that" and residents told me the former Tory MP had never been able to sort it for them” Robert also got the council to add a new litter bin in the area and since then has had so many positive comments from residents about it. Robert added “It seems like a really small thing but it means so much to local people especially because that path is used as a main walking route to the town centre by a large area of my ward.”
Whilst opinion in the town and amongst councillors remains divided, with many some preferring the deathly 'bowling green' approach to verges, Shrewsbury Town Councillor Julian Dean won local support for some patches of wildflower planting as a trial. It was then a matter of pushing this through layers of bureaucracy to get the unitary authority to change it's specification to the town council who actually do the work... but with the help of a keen officer in the Countryside team in Shrewsbury, the plan is going ahead this spring. The next step will be to gather pictures of supportive residents... and call for a Countywide policy change.
Before he was elected a councillor, Paul Woodhead at Cannock Chase Green Party launched a petition which gained over 11,000 signatures to stop the council selling off green spaces. This forced a debate at Full Council which resulted in a unanimous decision not to sell. Several community groups are now involved in the shaping of green spaces in their localities.
In the town of Frome, Somerset, Mendip District Council wanted to sell off an island of green space with a school on one side and houses on the other three. The three Green councillors led by Shane Collins persuaded the council to change its mind, instead leasing it back to the community for kids to play and parents to meet after school.
Worcester's two Greens devised a city plan with the other parties which highlights the need to enhance the City’s biodiversity and to source renewable energy. A biodiversity working group has been formed. They also secured a ban on the use of snares, which cause unneccessary pain to animals, on Council-owned land.
Community right to build
Stroud Greens, who co-administer the council, won the first 'Community Right to Build' order in the country which was approved for the town of Nailsworth, allowing a local Community land Trust to build 10 new affordable houses for rent which will not be subject to right to buy .
Promoting Mental Wellbeing
In 2019 Green councillors in Lambeth successfully lobbied for Lambeth Council to sign up to the Time to Change Employer pledge which commits the council to put in place evidence based interventions and support for the mental health and wellbeing of their employees.
Lewes District Council appointed one of its Green Councillors to be its Mental Health Champion after the Greens persuaded the Council to commit to positive action to promote good mental health, tackle discrimination and support those with mental health difficulties across the area.
Greens are working to save City heritage
Green councillors in Sheffield have been working to save the Old Coroner’s Court on Nursery St, an attractive building opposite the Nursery St Pocket Park after a developer gave notice of his intention to demolish it in August 2018 and clear the land to build flats.
The issue has opened up the debate about the protection of what is left of the heritage in the city centre.
The court is an attractive and balanced building that lends a sense of calm to the area – no doubt something that was intended when family of the deceased had to attend the official courtroom of the coroner. However, it is not a listed building. When Green Councillor Douglas Johnson raised his concerns with council officers in the planning department and with heritage campaigners, he found out that the formal powers avalable to the council to protect heritage are very limited. So he then talked directly to the developer about his concerns and discussed the opportunities for a sensitive development of the area. As a result the developer agreed to withdraw his application to demolish the building and to have a fresh look at what could be done with the site.
The work with heritage campaigners has led to Green councillors asking the council to give further protection to the heritage of the Castlegate area, so that the forthcoming development there will preserve the remainder of the historic heart of the city.
Greens are protecting libraries
In March, contracts were signed to secure the future of the local library in Wivey, Somerset, marking a new beginning and the end of a long campaign to save the library from closure.Green Councillor David Mansell of l, worked tirelessly with the Save Wivey Library Group, the Town Council and the Wiveliscombe Area Partnership to negotiate with the County Council who will part-fund the library
In July 2018 Reading Green Councillors supporting local resident campaigners, suceeded in challenging Labour's proposed cuts to library services with the result that Palmer Park Library will remain open to the public on Saturdays.
Commenting on Labour's u-turn on cutting weekend opening at Palmer Park library, Green Party councilor Rob White said: "Well done to the library anti-cuts campaigners, especially Dave McElroy – who handed in the over-600 signature petition to save Reading libraries. He spoke well about the importance of libraries. "Following pressure from the petition which Green Party councillors have been supporting I was pleased to see Labour change their mind and propose not cutting the Saturday morning opening of Palmer Park library. Unfortunately, the other cuts to libraries, which Greens oppose, remain – a reduction of almost 10 hours at Central, cutting evening opening at Palmer Park and shaving off a few hours at each of the other libraries. It was therefore a bittersweet evening, but we will keep working to prevent further cuts to libraries and build the hours back up."
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