Its almost ironic that 2012 ends as much of it has been. Wet and raining with flood risk in many places across the country. It has been the year of floods (and the Olympics) and government has seemed 'all at sea' on how to respond. When many homes are becoming increasingly uninsurable it failed to come to an agreement with the Association of British Insurers to address the situation. As floods affected roads and infrastructure councils, which were already cash strapped , found themselves further out of pocket . In terms of flood prevention (or at least not making things any worse than they are at the moment) the government delayed the introduction of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems on new developments, seemingly as part of their 'roll over and tickle my tummy' approach when dealing with the Home Builders Federation.
Green Party wise 2012 has been a very successful year locally. We defended Newsome very successfully against a concerted Labour campaign aimed at unseating me which must have been funded way beyond the legally allowed expenses limit. In Kirkburton Robert Barraclough won our 2nd seat in that ward taking us up to 5 Greens on Kirklees. There were lots of individual acheivements and improvements made by Green Party Councillors in the communities we represent, which makes me pleased at the positive role we play in local politics. Personally the role the Green Party and Kirkburton Parish Council played in helping the Keep Shelley Pyramid campaign win their battle to save the middle school system I believe showed us at our best. The threat of a Parish Poll and Shelley Principal agreeing to abide by it was the endgame of a very successful community led campaign. It was great to get so many positive messages from people and one person saying that they 'no longer resent paying their Parish Precept'. The Parish Council has become a much more outward facing body linking strongly with schools and community organisations through the 1000 fruit tree project. I am also really pleased we have finally been able to transfer ownership of Shelley Village Hall from the Parish Council to Shelley Community Association. A frustrating process for all concerned but now sorted thankfully. In Newsome Ward a number of projects have come together through careful juggling of a range of funding pots, and thanks to Councillor Julie Stewart-Turner for her work on managing our limited local budgets. We saw Springwood traffic calming finally happen, the resurfacing of Templar Drive, new parking bays at Dawson Road, a new surface to the rear of Orchard Terrace. None of this was easy to acheive with the tighter budgets we are dealing with but dome nonetheless.
What has troubled me during 2012 is the many personal recessions people are suffering and that life is being made more difficult for people on low incomes as a direct result of government policy. 2013 will be even worse for many low income households