Zoe's Blog

1 November 2016

 Mr Assistant Commissioner,

 My name is Zoe Smith and I live at 107 Derby Road, Abington, Northampton.  I have the privilege of being the Labour Borough Councillor for the Abington ward.

The Abington ward is adjacent to the very middle of the town centre in Northampton and the roads, the building styles, its people move seamlessly in and out of the Castle ward which makes up the town centre.  Abington has a well-developed sense of community with a number of active community groups operating. 

 There are faith groups which organise over the Castle, Abington, Semilong and St James boundaries which themselves have extensive family connections within them.

 The boundary with Castle ward is exceedingly porous as it runs up and down the many residential backstreets of the town.

 It has been quite confusing over a long period of time for local residents to work out who their elected representatives are. 

 The situation that has prevailed with the residents of the Castle ward and the residents of the Abington ward being served by two different Members of Parliament for some forty-two years.  I do believe that this arrangement has been and continues to be a problem for residents and elected representatives alike.  I am hoping that yourself Mr Assistant Commissioner will look closely at this to see if it can be remedied. 

 Having one Member of Parliament to respond to the diverse, individual yet very common needs of residents in Abington, Trinity, Semilong and Castle wards would certainly be a help.  Having the wards of Spencer and King’s Heath included would complete the picture and would create a proper Borough constituency with the whole of the urban core of the Borough residents being placed within it. 

 In an ideal world, the St James ward would be included in this arrangement, but given the restrictions that have been placed on the Boundary Commission this isn’t possible.  However the restriction and impracticality of moving the St James ward does not nullify the need for the other town centre wards being included with the Borough ward. 

 This is what has been missing from the town centre for over forty years. I know that you have a difficult task Mr Assistant Commissioner in deliberating on all this, but I am sure that you will place the needs of local residents first in any decision you make.

What I said to the Boundary Commission

1 November 2016  Mr Assistant Commissioner,  My name is Zoe Smith and I live at 107 Derby Road, Abington, Northampton.  I have the privilege of being the Labour Borough Councillor...

The tragic shootings in Orando

My letter to the Chron. 28th March

 Dear Editor,

 I am writing to express my concern about the proposed closure of 17 children’s centres  across the County. This is bad news for women, bad news for families and bad news for children. The children’s centres have played an invaluable role supporting new parents, growing families and stressed communities. We have over 20,000 families living in poverty in the County. We have a growing number of workers on zero contract hours. We have a growing number of the working poor who have to resort to using food banks!  We have growing mental health issues in our communities.

 

Why can’t the county see that their proposals will just make things worse?  Early support and early help stops acute need later on. A pound spent in the early years saves £100s being spent later on.

It is a false economy and it will hurt our families. 

 

No-one can bring up children in isolation. Children’s Centres are local, accessible and focussed on what parents and children need. Children Centre staff are highly trained and offer support for networking, self -help, parenting skills and a host of other things. They are good at supporting children who need that extra help. They are excellent at spotting troubled parents who need additional services.

 It is not good enough to say libraries can fill the gaps. Most libraries only have one paid worker who has to run the library, support volunteers, issue bus passes and blue badges and a whole variety of other tasks. They are not early years workers and they cannot take the place of trained early years staff.

Yours

 

 

Childrens Centres

My letter to the Chron. 28th March  Dear Editor,  I am writing to express my concern about the proposed closure of 17 children’s centres  across the County. This is bad...

On Monday I made this speech to the budget meeting at the Guildhall.

 

Thank You Mayor,

In our budget we are proposing to measures that would mean a greener and cleaner environment.

The first is pest control. We all know that rats are a serious environmental health problem. The Labour Group are not calling for a return to a universal free service, going back to the days when we employed a team of ‘rat catchers’ but rather establish a discretionary help those on benefits. We can’t sacrifice public health in this age of austerity and the most vulnerable people should be entitled to pest control. Perhaps Overview & Scrutiny could look at how this might be implemented.     

Second we need to do a pilot study in Park Ward about improving waste collection. In 2018 the Enterprise Contract comes to an end and we need to start planning for this. The present set up, with various boxes with no lids and bins, isn’t working. We need to try something new and so we propose to try ‘co-mingling’ where we have just three bins – recycled waste, non-recycled waste and garden waste.  

Thanks.

My speech to the budget meeting

On Monday I made this speech to the budget meeting at the Guildhall.   Thank You Mayor, In our budget we are proposing to measures that would mean a greener...

Labour_In_camapign.jpg

We had a great time in Abington Street talking to people about the EU. 9 out of ten said they wanted to stay in. This is good news for young people. This is good news for workers.

Campaigning for Europe

We had a great time in Abington Street talking to people about the EU. 9 out of ten said they wanted to stay in. This is good news for young...

Please see below the speech made by a resident of the Bouverie Estate to the full council on January 25th.

Good evening, my name is Lisa Bradshaw. I am a resident from Vernon Walk, Bouverie Estate, Northampton and I am here to deliver a petition from some residents to try and get Northampton Borough Council to work alongside NCC, Northants Police and residents to provide a solution to the parking issues.

Our estate is just around the corner from NGH, St Andrews Hospital and we also have Vernon Terrace primary school on the estate.  Staff and parents from the school and hospital park in our street from Monday to Friday, arriving from just after 7am and often stay until around 6pm. They block the footpath, the dropped kerbs, park on the yellow lines and in residents only parking bays and car parks which are owned by NBC.

We cannot park in our own street because of these people, carers can't park to make care visits, NBC workers cannot park to make repairs and very often we cannot get our rubbish collected because of the way people park. My neighbour who is in her 80's can't have her family visit her during the day as there is nowhere for them to park and this means she spends all day alone. A neighbour’s son works nights and when he arrived home from work at 8.45am last week he had to pay to park in the NBC car park behind the Spread Eagle public house, this is not fair.

There are two NBC car parks near our estate and they are empty day in day out. They are not being utilised so why can't NBC come up with an alternative for hospital staff or parents from the school to park in them instead?

Last year NBC gave planning permission for 3 one bed apartments to be built above a restaurant that backs onto our street despite knowing the issues that we already have with parking.

Myself and a neighbour went round collecting signatures from residents and the common response was that they had tried contacting NBC, NCC and the police but we're constantly fobbed off.

The customer service received from NBC housing officers is appalling. They are just not interested and I have had to complain to get them to actually respond to any queries.  There seems to be no accountability for staff regarding poor customer service.

We have inadequate signs to inform people that the car parks and bays on the estate are for residents and their visitors only. When I have requested better signs I am told that there's no money in the budget despite you handing over 10.3 million pounds to Northampton Town Football club which was agreed behind closed doors with no consultation or agreement from members of the public as far as I am aware.

I have also noticed that NBC have permits in place for the car park next to Vernon Terrace Community Centre so why can’t our parking bays and car parks have the same consideration?  A majority of residential areas around the hospital seem to be considered more important than our estate as they have lots of yellow lines and parking permits.

Local residents petition the council

Please see below the speech made by a resident of the Bouverie Estate to the full council on January 25th. Good evening, my name is Lisa Bradshaw. I am a...

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