Our councillor's annual report

20 July 2016

Our Green Councillor in St Albans, Simon Grover, works hard all year round for residents of the ward he represents and for the district as a whole.


Every year, he reports back with a summary of his activities, to give you a taste of what he's been doing.


Here's this year's report!

SUMMER REPORT 2016 – CLLR SIMON GROVER

 

Events and meetings

Meeting with police at SADC to hear about ASB issues and arrests at Charrington Place.

 

Met residents at Gt Northern Pub to discuss CPZ consultation and flooding problems.

 

Helped Sopwell Lane residents clear the ‘green oasis’ near the The Goat Pub. Also suggested to Roger Morton that they register the space as a local asset. Also got Council to take away the green waste created.

 

Went to 10 Downing Street visit with Caroline Lucas and other top Greens to deliver a petition.

 

I’ve attended various Group Leader meetings and consultations, as leader of the Independent & Green group. Also negotiated two Tory Councillors to join Independent & Green group, which briefly had 4 members and now has 3 members.

 

Arranged for Natalie Bennett to speak at our event in St Albans, and chaired the event – huge success.

 

Went to final workshop day of Sustainable St Albans Week. Pursuing the idea of a low carbon plan for St Albans.

 

Went to AGMs of Friends of Victoria Playing Field, and Transition St Albans.

 

I initiated and attended a meeting with Hightown Housing Association, officers and local councillors, on anti-social behaviour at Martin House.

 

Meeting with Catherine Ross and Tim Pryce of the Carbon Trust, about developing a Carbon Reduction Plan for the Council.

 

Committees

 

I was on the City Neighbourhoods Committee until May this year. I have now been appointed to sit on Herts Sustainability Forum, as the Council’s representative.

 

Scrutiny committee

Examined and spoken on many issues, including:

  • Continued to grill Govia/Network Rail.
  • Grilled executives from Luton Airport – got good press coverage for that
  • Raised questions on air pollution and the proposed Business Improvement District, both of which have had good press publicity

 

Continued my membership of the scrutiny sub-committee on the Christmas and main markets.

 

Full Council

Spoke at Full council on many issues, including:

  • banning sale of fur at markets in St Albans
  • against freezing Council Tax
  • in favour of saving the Green Belt from development
  • the rise in hate crime
  • the motion of no confidence in our MPs

 

Proposed motion on fossil fuel divestment.

 

Written questions on divestment, and the future of allotments.

 

Syrian refugees

I continued to have meetings with officers and councillors about the Syrian Refugees relocation scheme.

 

In September I started petition on Syrian refugees, which quickly reached 1,500 signatures and won a lot of press and radio coverage for this issue. I helped the local party gather signatures for this in the city centre.

 

Spoke at Herts Welcomes Syrian Families event.

 

This spring, first two refugee families arrived. Another one at least is expected later in the year.

 

Planning

Spoke against Ziggurat application at planning meeting.

 

Visited exhibition on city centre redevelopment plans, and another on plans for flats in Grosvenor Road.

 

I called in an application that threatened the Buongiorno Italia deli. The application was eventually rejected by the planning inspector, saving the deli for now at least.

 

Objected to application from Harpenden Road nursery to fell a row of yew trees. Application was withdrawn.

 

Called in to committee applications for:

  • nine mews houses in St Peters Street
  • home in London Road
  • home Belmont Hill
  • home in Stanhope Road

 

Helping individual residents

Work for individual residents has included:

 

  • Helped a resident in a substandard council flat to get moved to Harpenden
  • Wrote letter for an asylum seeker in my ward
  • Helped with noise complaint in Art School Yard

 

Renewable energy

Discovered that my renewable energy budget has provided solar PV panels at three leisure centres. A total of 90kw capacity, enough to power 20-30 homes all year round.

 

I approved a trial of LED lighting at Council offices, with a possible £50,000 project to change all lighting at Council. Money comes from my £200,000 solar carports budget, which became unachievable after government cuts to solar subsidies. I suggested that remaining budget be used for new museum and gallery. I’ve met officers to discuss this and will be meeting again with officers about this.

 

Electric taxis:

  • Went to launch of Electric Blue Taxi charging station. The scheme has since expanded.
  • Meeting with Mark Calnan of Electric Blue, to catch up with where they are. Contacted Larry Heyman at Thameslink to ask for reduced fees for electric taxis at station rank. Larry said he thought they could do something.
  • Discovered that electric car charging points use is up four times on last year, in fourth year of rapid growth.

 

Finally…

I ran for re-election – successfully!






Regional News

National News

 

Sign up for updates

Find out more