Glastonbury & Street Green Party

Glastonbury elects 3rd Green Mayor!

On Tuesday, 9th May 2017, Cllr. Emma George became the 318th – and third successive Green – Mayor of Glastonbury!

Out-going Mayor, Cllr. Jon Cousins, proposed his Deputy for the position as the final motion of his Mayoralty, telling the assembled Councillors and members of the public:  “It is with great pleasure that I propose Cllr Emma George for election to the role of Mayor of Glastonbury.  I feel that the election of the current Deputy Mayor to the highest office is something that is both seemly and worthy.”

Out-going Mayor, Cllr. Jon Cousins, proposes Cllr. Emma George as his successor.  photo: Claire Herbaux, Central Somerset Gazette.

Seemly because as Deputy Emma has been a great support to me in my year of office.  Joining me on many Civic Occasions, and representing Glaston admirably and capably when I could not.”

Worthy because time and again she has show real leadership and professionalism with regard to the Council’s business.”

May I remind Councillors of how she negotiated favourably with Weedingtech; has worked diligently on helping to develop the Youth Council; has worked closely with the Police and One Team to help address anti-social behaviour in the town; has chaired with great skill the Town Centre Working Group, and supported the various projects and campaigns that have evolved from this forum.”

Her contribution to the Council’s Staffing Committee and as Chair of the Communications Committee reflecting the expertise and experience in these related industries.”

Finally, I would like to say that the role of Mayor demands that we rise above the petty divisions of politics to represent the whole community; to truly encapsulate the role of First Citizen.”

This is something that Emma has fully achieved in her capacity as Deputy Mayor.  And so, without further ado – I recommend that this Council elects Cllr Emma George as the 318th Mayor of Glastonbury.”

Emma’s nomination was seconded by Conservative Councillor Steve Henderson.  There were no other nominations, and Emma was elected Mayor by a unanimous vote.

The new Mayor of Glastonbury reads the ‘Declaration of Acceptance of Office’. photo: Claire Herbaux, Central Somerset Gazette.

In her acceptance speech, she said: “I will make sure to do my best to represent you all.  Jon is a hard act to follow. He has been an absolute pleasure to work with.”

I know I am heading into this year with great people around me.”

A first for Glastonbury!
Emma’s first act as Mayor was to preside over the election of Liberal Democrats Councillor Denise Abbot as Deputy Mayor; a first for Glastonbury – as the positions of Mayor and Deputy Mayor have never been held by two women during one Mayoralty before!

Cllrs. Emma George and Denise Abbott enthroned as Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Glastonbury. The first time that two women have sat at the top of table in the Council Chamber! photo: Claire Herbaux, Central Somerset Gazette.

As the third Green Mayor of Glastonbury, Emma follows Cllrs. Jon Cousins (2016-17) and Denise Michell (2015-16); a major achievement for the Green Party’s members and supporters in the South West.

General Election announcement

Our local Green Party members from the Sedgemoor, Mendip Hills, Glastonbury and Street branches have voted not to stand a candidate for the Wells Constituency in the forthcoming ‘snap’ General Election on 8th June 2017.

A party spokesperson stated today: “Last-minute efforts to forge a workable alliance have not borne fruit – during which process the decision not to stand a candidate was taken.

Hope that our position would informally support an ‘alliance tactical vote’ arose from strong feeling among the majority of local Green Party members for removing the Conservative MP in Wells.

The vote, however, was not unanimous, and there was a healthy, broad spectrum of opinion – from those who wished to stand a candidate, to those who did not wish to support any alliance, to those who felt the Green voters should vote tactically if they wish.”

Somerset Election Results!

In a day and night full of drama, the Green Party won its first seats on Somerset County Council.

Formerly held by the Liberal Democrats, Martin Dimery secured a stunning victory for the Green Party in Frome East with 983 votes; with another victory for the Greens in Frome West: John Clarke took the seat from former Independent Cllr Derek Tanswell with 987 votes.

John Clarke and Martin Dimery who won the first Green Seats on Somerset County Council

However, by far the largest Green Vote went to Green Mayor of Glastonbury, Cllr Jon Cousins – who received a massive 1,196 votes.  However, this was not enough to win a seat in the unique ‘double’ Glastonbury & Street Division.

Jon Cousins said after the result was announced, “We know from the verification of the ballot papers that only a handful of voters in Street voted for me – the incredible result is that over 1,100 people voted Green in Glastonbury!  This is a phenomenal vote.  It is higher than the vote that won Green seats in Frome.”

Jon Cousins received the largest ever vote for a Green at County level!

If Glastonbury was a single Division, Somerset could arguably have three Green Councillors returned this morning.  We need to ask the question:  Have the people of Glastonbury been disenfranchised by the cynical, politically motivated creation of this double Division?  I suggest that to anyone looking at the situation from outside, it could appear to be outright gerrymandering – the result of which means that no one in Glastonbury is now represented by a Councillor from Glastonbury…”

On a positive note, I would like to thank everyone who voted for me.  1,196 votes is quite possibly the largest ever vote for a Green at County level in Somerset.  Thank you to all those hard working members and supporters of the Green Party in Glastonbury.  Together, we are a flourishing, strong, and stable political voice for the Common Good.”

Full results will be published on the Mendip District Council website, HERE:

Vote Today, the 4th of May!

Voting in the Somerset County Council Election, 4th May 2017.

The Greens Can Win This Election In Glastonbury & Street!

The Glastonbury & Street Green Party Candidate is Glastonbury Town Councillor Jon Cousins.

You can vote for up to two Candidates.  However, to give Jon the strongest Green vote, you can – if you wish – just vote for him only.

A single vote for Jon is completely acceptable, and will be counted.

HOW TO VOTE?

You do not need your Polling Card to vote, but you must be Registered as an Elector.

To find which Ward you are in, you can see a Glastonbury and Street Ward Map HERE.

The Polling Stations are open from 7 am until 10 pm.

WHERE ARE THE POLLING STATIONS?

Situation of Polling Stations for Glastonbury and Street:

Glastonbury Town Hall, Magdalene Street, Glastonbury, SOMERSET BA6 9EL
Polling Station 26, for Glastonbury St. Benedict’s Ward
Register Numbers beginning with AI

Glastonbury St Edmund’s Community Hall, Windmill Hill, Glastonbury, SOMERSET BA6 8EW
Polling Station 27, for Glastonbury St. Edmund’s Ward
Register Numbers beginning with AJ

Glastonbury United Reformed Church, The Meeting Room, High Street, Glastonbury, SOMERSET BA6 9DZ
Polling Station 28, for Glastonbury St. John’s Ward
Register Numbers beginning with AK

Glastonbury Town Hall, Magdalene Street, Glastonbury, SOMERSET BA6 9EL
Polling Station 29, for Glastonbury St. Mary’s Ward
Register Numbers beginning with AL

The Whithys Communal Hall, 24 The Whithys, Street, SOMERSET BA16 9PL
Polling Station 30, for Street North Ward No.1
Register Numbers beginning with BF

Street United Reformed Church, Orchard Road, Street, SOMERSET BA16 0ER
Polling Station 31, for Street North Ward No.2
Register Numbers beginning with BG

Street Wessex Hotel, Wessex Suite, High Street, Street, SOMERSET BA16 0EF
Polling Station 32, for Street North Ward No.3
Register Numbers beginning with BH

The Victoria Field Social Club, Victoria Field, Leigh Road, Street, SOMERSET BA16 0HB
Polling Station 33, for Street South Ward No.1
Register Numbers beginning with BI

The Victoria Field Social Club, Victoria Field, Leigh Road, Street, SOMERSET BA16 0HB
Polling Station 34 Street South Ward No.2
Register Numbers beginning with BJ

Brookside Primary School, The Community Room, Brooks Road, Street, SOMERSET BA16 0PR
Polling Station 35, for Street West Ward
Register Numbers beginning with BK

Full details on Mendip District Council’s Website HERE.

Our Election Broadcast 2017

 

On May the 4th, Vote for REAL CHANGE

County Council Candidates

The Green Party have launched their Mendip District campaign for the Somerset County Council Election, with more seats contested than ever before – and candidates personally endorsed by Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP.

Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas MP.

The Green Party’s leader said: “Voting Green gives you the chance to elect councillors who will fight your corner, and stand up for your interests.  We know that Greens can win in Frome and in Glastonbury & Street – and that by doing so and working with other parties we can make a huge difference.  So if you want councillors to work tirelessly for your community please vote Green on 4th May.

Green Party spokesperson, Mendip District Councillor Shane Collins said “Our candidates provide an opportunity for voters to oppose the cuts, defend services, protect green spaces, and our environment.  Through working with our three Mendip District Council Councillors and our many Parish and Town Councillors, the Green Party can ensure Mendip’s towns remain vibrant.

Green County Council candidates for Frome, L-R: John Clarke, Martin Dimery, and Pepita Collins.

On 20th April, there will be a free public meeting at the Cheese And Grain, Frome, where Independents for Frome Town Councillors Peter Macfadyen, Mel Usher, and Jean Boulton will join the Green Party’s District Councillors Shane Collins, Des Harris, and Stina Falle, and the Green’s County candidates to discuss ‘How Frome can thrive as a green town in Somerset’.

Jon Cousins, Green SCC candidate Glastonbury & Street.

In Glastonbury & Street, the Greens have selected hard-working Town Councillor and Mayor of Glastonbury Jon Cousins as their candidate, who said he was honoured to have been chosen, adding: “For years the Tories have taken their hold of Somerset for granted.  But with the County Council £22million in debt, and Children’s Services in ‘special measures’ following the 2013 and 2015 Ofsted inspections – judging the overall effectiveness of arrangements for the protection of children ‘inadequate’ – we need to send a message that their complacency is not good enough.  The Greens can win in Glastonbury & Street.  We are a voice for real change, and represent real opposition to the disastrous Tory cuts in Somerset.

The Greens are standing nine candidates across the Mendip District, including: Jon Cousins in Glastonbury & Street, John Clarke, Martin Dimery, and Pepita Collins in Frome, Peter Harlow in Shepton Mallet, David Hine in Mendip Hills, Paul Crummay in Wells, Jono Ekin in Mendip Central & East, and Theo Simon in Mendip South.

Theo Simon, Green SCC candidate Mendip South.

The election takes place on Thursday 4th May, and polling stations will be open from 7 am to 10 pm.

A361 Campaign Update

The improvement of traffic conditions on the A361 has been a priority for the Greens in Glastonbury, including sending out a Speedwatch team to check traffic speeds and engaging the services of Campaign to Protect Rural England in an HGV survey, a process which is on-going.

Green Councillor Lindsay McDougall – who has been closely involved with the campaign which calls on Somerset County Council Highways Department to reclassify the A361 through Glastonbury, imposing a maximum weight limit of 7.5T, and removing its freight route designation – said recently, “We are campaigning for a zebra-crossing in Chilkwell Street and received a site visit from Somerset County Highways…  without a positive result, therefore, Glastonbury Town Council attempted to go to the Ombudsman on this matter.  Unfortunately, the Ombudsman have turned down the request, as they don’t deal with councils…

Cllr. MacDougall confirmed that testing for NO2 (Nitrogen dioxide gas) is going ahead in Chilkwell Street: “The Town Council is now ordering five £10 NO2 kits from cleanairuk.org to test the air quality along the road.”

“Mendip have tested air quality at the Rural Life Museum roundabout at the top of Bere Lane, but the air quality is potentially worse where the buildings are close to the road on both sides and provide a ‘canyon-like’ effect – where the fumes cannot disperse so readily. This is a recognised environmental effect on roads, and that’s why we feel Glastonbury Town Council should conduct our own tests.”

Mendip currently claim the air quality is within legal limits, which is questionable, particularly in these places – at the Rifleman’s pub and then around where the new houses were built right next to the road!

In the meantime, Glastonbury’s Green Councillors have been informed that – in the search for long-term solution to the congestion on the A361 – the Department of Transport are currently in discussions about undertaking a feasibility study for an up-grade of the road system across mid-Somerset!

Watch this space!

Green Mayor & Deputy Open First Accounts With Last Bank Standing

When all the High Street Banks deserted Glastonbury, our amazing community got organised and campaigned against the closures; calling for one branch to remain – a ‘Last Bank Standing’.

That call, and all the hard work that went into the flash mobs, petitions, publicity, and protests has been answered.

The Nationwide Building Society moved one step closer to opening their branch this week when Phil Goodridge-Reynolds, the new Nationwide branch manager, helped Glastonbury Mayor Jon Cousins and Deputy Mayor Emma George open the first current accounts in the run up to the branch opening.

Green Mayor, Jon Cousins said, “As Mayor of Glastonbury, I am absolutely delighted to join Deputy Mayor Emma George in opening the founding current accounts with Nationwide’s new Glastonbury branch.”

The Nationwide recently posted: “When the people of Glastonbury asked for a bank, it was a building society that answered and we’re looking forward to opening our new branch in the summer.”

Our new Glastonbury Nationwide will be located at 3 High Street, and work has now begun on designing your branch, which is expected to open by this summer.”

Leading the new Grade II listed Glastonbury branch is Phil Goodridge-Reynolds, branch manager and his newly recruited Customer Representatives; Rachael Butt, Adam Leitch and Sonia Love, who are now ready to accept new customers.

If you’d like to open a current account, you can do so online HERE
You can also book an appointment in Glastonbury Town Hall.
Just call 0800 554 1590 (Monday – Friday 9.30 am – 5 pm, or Saturday 9 am – 3 pm).

Nationwide are also offering Glastonbury residents the chance to share £200 when they recommend one of Nationwide’s current accounts to a friend!  For more information click HERE

Time for CHANGE

Can there be any residents who were not shocked and dismayed when Somerset County Council’s £22m overspend was revealed in September 2016? This disgraceful situation is compounded by opposition County Councillors saying the County could even declare itself bankrupt by the end of the financial year in April 2017!

The state of the County Council’s (in)capacity to manage its affairs is surely reflected in the level of service and protection it provides to families and children – with Children’s Services in ‘special measures’ following the 2013 and 2015 Ofsted inspections judging the overall effectiveness of arrangements for the protection of children “inadequate”.

If this were not enough, for many of us, there are daily reminders of the cuts implemented by Somerset in their attempt to claw back on budgets; perhaps the most immediate being the impact of the recent cuts and changes to the County’s bus services… and, what a shambles that has been!

Shouldn’t we be embarrassed to watch the current administration – seemingly incapable of keeping to their decisions; with one eye on the County Council elections in May – scrabbling around to find emergency funding to help cover the costs of the 67 service following the outcry from residents of Wookey Hole, Wells, and Burnham-On-Sea when the service was initially cut?

WebberBus in Burnham-on-Sea by Geof Sheppard – Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The County Council says it spends around £1.6m subsidising bus services across the county, but the huge pressure on all its budgets means it cannot afford to continue to fully support the services we need. Here in Street and Glastonbury, with so many of us reliant on the bus service, we’ve witnessed upheaval and several changes over the past year to the 29, 54, (3)75 and the (3)77 – with the withdrawal of the 55, following the collapse of WebberBus.

Glastonbury’s Mayor, and frequent bus user, Cllr. Jon Cousins recently commented: “Due to recent cuts the bus service on Sundays and Bank Holidays is limited or non-existent on some routes. There’s no bus service to and from Taunton at any time on Sundays! Evening services have also been reduced. In addition, it seems as though Wells Bus Station has now become the default destination if travelling to Street or Glastonbury from Bristol, Bath, or Shepton Mallet.

Adding: “It sometimes feels that I’m the only Councillor in Somerset who ever catches the bus. Indeed, I’ve never seen a fellow Councillor on any the services I’ve used in the last 15 years… The fact that Councillors don’t use public transport must certainly account for the reason why there’s no direct bus service from Glastonbury to our nearest train station at Castle Cary!

One thing is for sure, if those Councillors responsible for determining the bus subsidies actually had to rely on public transport to travel around, then we’d have a best bus service in the UK!

The loss of bus services affects access to a whole range of other services. According to a recently published report*, 51% of households in smaller rural areas do not have access to a regular bus service – and Government cuts are forcing councils like Somerset to slash spending on services by more than £27m, which impacts hardest on the young, elderly, and disabled people.

Glastonbury and Street Green Party understand that the bus service is absolutely vital for many people, and we believe it is time for a change. Be it simple improvements, such as clear, easy to understand, up-to-date information on local services being available at all bus stops or common sense approaches, for example – more bus stops with seating and shelter, or making it policy that local transport users must be fully involved in decisions on service levels. And surely, it should be expected that there would be provision of regular bus service to most villages and towns from their nearest station…

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If you would like to see a real change on Somerset County Council, then vote for the Green Party candidate in the County Council elections on Thursday, 4th May 2017.

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* Rural England Report: ‘State Of Rural Services’ [17th January 2017].