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Letter to Editor: Harlow Alliance Party thanks residents

Politics / Thu 9th May 2024 at 06:28am

Dear Editor,

AS leader of the Harlow Alliance Party (HAP), I write to thank the nearly 1000 residents who voted for HAP in the four Wards we contested in last week’s elections.

In the six years since the Party was formed a number of observations have been noted by HAP members whilst out and about talking to residents. The most common of which was one of apathy towards voting and this was evident once again last week when more than seven out of ten did not vote. When HAP was formed in 2018 it was hoped that by providing an alternative to the two main Parties, more residents would come out to vote. Sadly, this has not been the case. The second observation perhaps even more worryingly is the fact that young people are even less inclined to vote.

Having listened to residents, our election pledges included the creation of Neighbourhood Forums where residents could meet council officers and councilors at regular intervals. By creating closer links and helping to create policies and services, more residents may be inclined to become involved and in turn to vote at election time.

Calls for change to the present “first past the post” system must surely have got louder following the Conservatives retaining control of Harlow Council. The fact is, that of those that did vote, more people voted for Parties other than the Conservatives, indeed overall more voted Labour than Conservative.

It will be interesting to see what becomes of the pledges made by the Conservatives between now and when the next local elections take place in two years’ time.  For example, will I still be shopping in Marks&Spencer at Brookfield or will I be able to do this in Harlow?

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3 Comments for Letter to Editor: Harlow Alliance Party thanks residents:

Kim Oconnor
2024-05-10 08:20:20

Thank you for all the good work you all do.

lostinthemiddle
2024-05-10 09:57:26

While HAP do a fantastic job holding the council to account and have tremendous expertise in housing, if they want to hold a seat on the council they do need more substance. Even the green party had a stance and wide ranging policy positions on a number of issues, whereas HAP had housing, green spaces then it kind of trialed off to public toilets etc which felt like making up the numbers. Equally the campaigning tactic was very negative, the Tories and Labour are bad thus vote for us. It's not a convincing argument, especially when the campaign materials were littered with spelling mistakes. We need strong local democracy and parties like HAP offering credible alternatives, but HAP do need to be a bit more polished and have views on more than just housing, green spaces and toilets, what we will get from them if they get a seat on the council. Keep up the good work on the good areas, just give us more reason to vote for you

Nicholas Taylor
2024-05-10 19:40:50

lostinthemiddle, back in April HAP, following meeting many residents during the last year or so, we set out the parties pledges, which went into far greater detail than many of the wishy washy misleading statements from the other Parties. 1) We believe that residents and the Council need to form closer links and creating Area Forums would enable residents to hold the council to account and become active in the policy making process. 2) Housing does play a big part because we believe that the recent removal of up to 2500 housing applicants is wrong and so is removing applicants wishing to move from a flat to a house. 3) We want the council to be far more active in promoting the towns many wonderful facilities, just take a look at what other councils do. 4) Saving the towns green spaces from development will be a benefit for generations to come. 5) Bus services need improving and as a start we would resurrect the Bus Users Group in order to get a better view of what users want to see changed. 6) Visiting shopping centres brought up the issue of the lack of public toilets from both young and old, who clearly felt this was an important issue so it got on our list. 7) We do believe the "Levelling up" up money granted to the Council is going to be largely wasted. We cannot look back now but we can learn the lessons from the past and we would hold the council to account in the future. An early draft of one of our leaflets did unfortunately get printed and hit some letter boxes but was quickly rectified. Other issues which we have on our agenda having asked questions of councillors include the lack of tree maintenance and the painting of council houses, but there was not room on our leaflets for these. On another note, it was as a direct result of Alan Leverett of HAP asking questions of councillors that residents living in the flats at Sycamore Field finally got hold of a copy of the report about the safety of the building.

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