Lynne Featherstone MP stands up for local sorting offices

Harringay Cllr David Schmitz, Haringey Lib Dem Leader Cllr Richard Wilson, Lynne Featherstone MP, and local activist Viv Ross outside Hornsey sorting office on Tottenham Lane, N8.Lynne Featherstone MP and local Liberal Democrat Councillors met with Royal Mail officials today, in response to the organisation’s plans to close and relocate local sorting offices.

The Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood argued strongly against current reorganisation plans, which would make it harder for residents to collect their parcels and registered post. The MP also pushed for local collection points to be retained in the N8 area, and across the borough.

The N6 and N4 area will also be affected, with the services at the current offices in Holloway and at the Harringay Arena being relocated to an industrial estate in Upper Holloway.The plans, which affect 25,293 addresses, include the closure of the Hornsey office on Tottenham Lane. This office, which serves the entire N8 area, will be moved to Holloway. As a result, residents will have to make longer and more expensive journeys to collect their undelivered parcels.

Following the announcement, Lynne Featherstone and the Haringey Liberal Democrats launched a petition to save the local sorting offices and services. Over 1000 residents have already registered their support for the campaign.

Following the meeting, Haringey Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Richard Wilson said:

“It is unacceptable that Royal Mail expect N8 and N4 residents to travel all the way to Holloway to collect parcels.  Residents are seriously unhappy and over 1,000 have already signed our petitions.

“Royal Mail should listen to its customers and continue to provide and free and convenient local collection points, if it wants people to keep sending parcels through its service.”

Commenting, Lynne Featherstone MP said:

“This issue is incredibly important to local residents. If the current plans go ahead, there will certainly be more losers than winners. It is vital that Royal Mail takes another look at these unfeasible plans.

“The Haringey Liberal Democrats and I are fighting hard to save the sorting offices and keep services truly local. I encourage all residents to sign the petitions, to show royal mail the strength of feeling on this issue.”

You can join the hundreds of people who have already signed the Hornsey sorting office petition by visiting: http://campaigns.libdems.org.uk/parcelhornsey

Or if you use the Green Lanes delivery office, you can sign this petition: http://campaigns.libdems.org.uk/parcelgreenlanes

Lynne Featherstone MP stands up for local rail services

Lynne with Councillor David Schmitz and local campaigners at Hornsey station

Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, today submitted a response to the Thameslink Consultation. The Local MP stressed the need for any future franchise to ensure that Harringay and Hornsey stations receive the full benefit of increased service levels.

The consultation asks for views on the future of the Thameslink franchise, and will directly affect railway services at Bowes Park, Alexandra Palace, Hornsey, Harringay and Finsbury Park. Due to high public interest, the consultation was extended until today, September 14th.

During the consultation period, the Liberal Democrat MP wrote to thousands of local households, informing them of the consultation. Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone also conducted a survey, which asked residents their opinions on local rail services.

In her submission, the local MP expressed her support for the submission of the Haringey Liberal Democrat Group. Also included in the submission were the results of the MP’s local survey. The survey asked residents for their opinion on

potential changes to services. Of the 280 respondents, 95.7% expressed support for the local Liberal Democrat’s campaign to oppose service reduction.

Commenting, Lynne Featherstone MP said:

“I am very glad that the Government is making a massive investment into transport here in London, and particularly up to £6billion on the Thameslink service.

“It is important, however, that stations such as Hornsey and Harringay also benefit from investment. In my submission, I am standing up for the many constituents who support the Lib Dem campaign against service reduction.

“Now the consultation has drawn to a close, I will be contacting the bidders and arranging meetings to make sure they are aware of the strength of opinion in Hornsey and Wood Green. I’d like to thank everyone who responded to my survey.”

Liberal Democrats launch campaign to stop cuts to older people's services

Lynne Featherstone MP speaking to concerned luncheon club users at Abyssinia Court last FridayTo help fight for older people’s services, threatened with closure by Haringey Council, local Liberal Democrats have today (Monday 24th) launched a campaign against the cuts.

The campaign follows visits last week to luncheon clubs and care homes in Haringey by leading Liberal Democrats.  Lynne Featherstone MP and Stroud Green Councillor Katherine Reece on Friday 21st January listened to concerned luncheon club users at Abyssinia Court, one of the services threatened with closure. The Weston Park club-users are fighting to save their treasured service, which puts on activities like exercise classes, bingo and outings in the local area.

Cllr David Schmitz (Harringay ward) also visited users of Willoughby Road day centre in January 2011.

The Labour Council announced in December 2010 that the Haven and Grange Day Centres, Abyssinia Court, Willoughby Road, Woodside House and Irish Centre Drop-in centres as well as Jackson’s Lane Luncheon club would be cut to save £425,000, representing just 0.2% of the £182 million in central government funding the Council will receive next year.

To help to put pressure on the Labour Council to halt the closures, Liberal Democrats have today launched a petition. Local residents can back the campaign by going to the following site:

http://campaigns.libdems.org.uk/saveolderpeoplesservices

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“I understand that the Council need to make tough decisions following reductions in government funding, which takes Haringey’s share back to the 2007 grant level.

“But that does not mean it needs to make such drastic cuts to frontline services like luncheon clubs. Having spoken to many older people this weekend, I know how precious and treasured these services are.

“The Council needs to take a good hard look at its own backroom spending before cutting life lines like the Abyssinia luncheon club.”

Stroud Green Councillor Katherine Reece adds:

“For many elderly Stroud Green residents, the Abyssinia court luncheon club is a true lifesaver. It’s a place where they can meet other local residents, keep fit and have fun. For many of the club-users I spoke to on my visit, it’s the one time of the day when they get out of the house.

“Surely taking away this life-line, which gives amazing value for money, is madness, and risks having big knock-on effects to the local NHS. This is just not joined-up thinking.

“Please sign our petition and help support our campaign to halt these plans now!”

Lib Dem leader thanks local people for largest ever Lib Dem vote

While local Liberal Democrats were celebrating the big increase in Lynne Featherstone’s majority in the General Election, there was disappointment that the party did not manage to take control of Haringey Council, which remains under Labour rule.

Lib Dem local candidates in the Hornsey and Wood Green constituency polled even higher than Ms Featherstone overall, but it wasn’t enough to make the crucial handful of gains that would have put an end to 40 years of Labour control of Haringey Council, dubbed the worst council in London.

Ms Featherstone’s majority over Labour almost trebled, as voters endorsed her five years as MP. Lib Dem council candidates in 21 seats romped to victory, and there was delight as the party held its two seats in Harringay ward, that were recounted on Friday afternoon.

Lib Dems also expressed satisfaction that hard working candidate David Schmitz easily retained second place in the Tottenham constituency – and secured a seat on Haringey Council. However, the results were not enough to secure the extra seats needed in the Wood Green area, where the party narrowly lost out to Labour.

There was also delight among local Lib Dems that two of their former friends and colleagues, Stephen Gilbert (former Fortis Green councillor) and Duncan Hames (former Tottenham candidate) were both elected to Parliament in the West Country.

Lib Dem Leader Robert Gorrie comments:

“While there is disappointment in not winning control of Haringey Council, I’d like to thank local people for the largest ever Lib Dem vote in the borough. And I’m delighted that Lynne Featherstone has won such a ringing endorsement from local voters.

“With no other parties coming close to wining any seats on the Council it again falls to the Lib Dems to provide the opposition that is the real force pushing this council to improve. With Labour winning with just 39 per cent of the votes, they will certainly have to listen.”

Featherstone and Schmitz candidates in most important ever election in Haringey

“It’s a privilege and a joy to serve this community”. Those were the words of thanks from sitting MP Lynne Featherstone, who was formally adopted this week as the Liberal Democrats’ candidate for the Hornsey & Wood Green constituency.

Sarah Ludford MEP and Brian Paddick, former Lib Dem candidate for London Mayor, were guest speakers at the packed event in Hornsey Bowling Club, which also adopted local campaigner David Schmitz as the party’s candidate for Tottenham.

The elections in Haringey are predicted to be a very close contest between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, with local Tories out of the race. Ms Featherstone is defending a 2,395 vote majority over Labour, and elections for Haringey Council are on a knife edge between the two parties. The Conservatives have no elected councillors and finished a poor third in both the Parliamentary seats last time.

Ms Ludford described Lynne as, “a local treasure for Haringey and a national treasure for the party,” reminding the audience that she had been labelled a ‘Saint’ by the Daily Telegraph for her exemplary record over election expenses.

Brian Paddick, a former senior Met Police officer, welcomed the party’s policies to boost policing in Haringey, with plans for more out-of-hours police cover. Welcoming the adoption of David Schmitz as candidate for Tottenham, Mr Paddick stressed the need for a second Lib Dem MP in the borough.

Commenting after the meeting, Lynne Featherstone said:

“I want to thank everyone who has supported me over the last five years, and I am looking forward to the campaign. I will continue to fight for local people and for services in Hornsey and Wood Green, working for local residents, fighting for fair funding for our schools and putting a stop to threats to our local health services. And in David Schmitz, Tottenham can also have a Parliamentary champion who will fight hard for residents.”

Adopted!

We had our formal process of ‘adoption’ this week – when LibDems gather to nominate and second the proposals for Parliamentary Candidates for both Hornsey & Wood Green and Tottenham.

Sarah Ludford, MEP and Brian Paddick (ex Deputy Commissioner in the Met and our London Mayoral candidate last time out) came and said wonderful things about me (modesty prevents me repeating them here) and about David Schmitz – our candidate in Tottenham.

It was good fun – and David made the wittiest and funniest speech I heard in a long time. Sarah and Brian were obviously very complementary – and I rounded off the evening with a rallying type exhortation to action.

The ‘buzz’ in the room was really good – and everyone is excited at the prospect of the election ahead.

I ran a campaign a couple of years ago – called ‘make mine a double’ with a picture postcard on which I am pointing at two green boxes for recycling. Before my campaign – Labour Haringey would only ‘allow’ one per household. Obviously we succeeded – and now we can all have two or more!

But the point of mentioning this now is that with both a General Election and Council elections on May 6 – we’re all aiming to make the elections a double too – by winning both! Make mine a double!

Labour Leader's brush-off for Tottenham road safety campaign

Local Liberal Democrats have expressed concern at the refusal by the Labour leadership of the Haringey Council to support a petition to improve a dangerous crossing in Green Lanes, Tottenham, near Ducketts Common.

A question put by Cllr Karen Alexander (Harringay Ward) to the leader of the Council last week asked whether the Council would support the petition. In answer, Cllr Claire Kober replied at the Full Council meeting, “I find the request the most perplexing question I’ve been asked all night, you know, no, this is not about petitions, this is grown-up.”

Cllr Alexander (Harringay ward) comments:

“There is nothing childish about local residents working to get Haringey Council to remove a death-trap to which hundreds of children are exposed every day when they go to school. It would have been helpful if Haringey Council had supported our campaign. We would stand a better chance of receiving funding, that Haringey Council says it has applied for, if we can show the level of local support for the necessary works.”

Tottenham Liberal Democrat chairman, David Schmitz, who lives near to the junction and who has spearheaded the campaign, adds:

“This petition has gained enormous support from people of all political parties. We now have about 250 signatures, and the number is constantly rising. It is disappointing that Cllr Kober is mocking a campaign that people in her own party have supported in the past.”

Cllr Carolyn Baker (Harringay Ward) adds:

“Petitions are the traditional way of showing just how strongly local people feel about an issue. For the Labour leadership to be so dismissive of the campaign shows just how hopelessly out of touch they are.”