“We will not be gagged” says Liberal Democrat leader Cllr. David Franks.

The two Liberal Democrat directors on the board of the Council owned airport company have resigned saying they have been told they are not allowed to publicly criticise decisions of the board with which they strongly disagree.

“We have consistently opposed and voted against plans to build on Wigmore Valley Park and to make Ashcroft Road & Wigmore Lane major access routes to the airport,” says Cllr. David Franks. “We are also seriously concerned that not enough is being done to deal with the effects of air pollution on the health of thousands of children attending schools near the airport and the flight paths.”

“Now, we have been told lawyers say we are not allowed to publicly disagree with and criticise the decisions with which we have a sincere and serious concern unless the Labour members of the board agree that we may do so. This is a situation with which we cannot and will not live. We will not be gagged so we have both resigned from the board with immediate effect.”

The text of their resignation letter is as follows:
“You know we strongly disagree with the decision of the board to build on Wigmore Valley Park. You know we strongly disagree with the decision of the board to make Ashcroft Road and Wigmore Lane major access routes for the airport. You know we are not satisfied enough air quality monitoring is to be undertaken to establish what needs to be done to protect the neighbouring residents and particularly the health & wellbeing of the thousands of children who attend schools near the airport and/or the flight paths. You know that we are concerned that not enough work is being undertaken to reduce noise pollution.

Now, you are saying your lawyers say we are not allowed to publicly disagree with and criticise the decisions with which we have a sincere and serious concern unless the Labour members of the board agree that we may do so. This is a situation with which we cannot and will not live.

Please note my resignation from the board of London Luton Airport Limited with immediate effect and register my resignation with Companies House.

I have discussed this situation with my Liberal Democrat colleagues, and they have decided that they will not be nominating a replacement candidate for the board. This means all decisions henceforth will be made by Labour and Tory councillors and I will be free to criticise them as much as I feel I need to. Please acknowledge receipt of this.”


Human Rights Day 2018

Human Rights Day takes place annually on the 10th December commemorating the establishment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with this year marking its 70th anniversary. 

The declaration is a document that establishes the equal dignity and worth of every person. It is available in more than 500 languages making it the most translated document in the world, marking its global importance.

Human Rights Day recognises the success of the document whilst realising that the documents promise is yet to be fully realised. There are countries around the world where these rights are not observed, leaving people at great risk. It is important that we stand up for the rights of those in these countries as well as our own rights. Human Rights Day helps to raise awareness of human rights and their importance, whilst putting pressure on non-abiding countries to make a change.

The Liberal Democrats recognise the importance of the International Declaration of Human Rights and fully support the document, realising its relevance now as much as ever.

The events can be followed through the hashtag #StandUp4HumanRights.


“Labour Councillors tell us children need somewhere to live,” says Liberal Democrat leader, Cllr. David Franks. “But children also need somewhere to play. A congested town like Luton needs its parks and green spaces.”

Claiming that Luton’s Labour Council has already built on far too many of the town’s parks and green open spaces Liberal Democrat members of the Overview & Scrutiny Board are sending a recommendation to the Council’s Executive Committee that a clause specifically seeking to avoid building on any more parks & green open spaces should be included in the Council’s official housing strategy document.

“Labour Councillors tell us children need somewhere to live,” says Liberal Democrat leader, Cllr. David Franks. “But children also need somewhere to play. A congested town like Luton needs its parks and green spaces.”

“The Labour Council has built on parks and green open spaces at Manor Road; Roebuck Close, Farley Hill; Bradley Road; Thirlstone Road; Falconers Road; Abbotswood Road; Butely Road; Wigmore Lane and is already planning to build on Wigmore Valley Park and the much-used green area at Wandon Close. When will they stop? When every blade of grass has been concreted over?”

The recommendation will be discussed at an Executive Committee meeting on Monday 10th December.


 

“The plans need a major rethink if we are to avoid a massive hit on the quality of life of thousands of Luton residents. The plans must change.”
– Liberal Democrat leader, Councillor David Franks.

Whilst supporting the expansion of London Luton Airport, Liberal Democrat councillors have some very serious concerns about the way the expansion is being planned. As Cllr David Franks, Liberal Democrat leader on Luton Council explains, “The plans need a major rethink if we are to avoid a massive hit on the quality of life of thousands of Luton residents. The plans must change.”

A briefing note produced by Liberal Democrat councillors claims there is no need for the new access road to swallow up almost the whole of Wigmore Valley Park, it could follow the airport boundary instead. It is not necessary to sacrifice the park to gain access to Century Park and Terminal Two.

The briefing note also says the plan proposes a link into Eaton Green Road which will make Ashcroft Road, Wigmore Lane, Lalleford Road and Eaton Green Road itself major access routes to the airport and this is not acceptable.

Cllr. David Franks explains, “We have voiced these concerns at meetings many times and will continue to do so. The Council, and its airport company, cannot be allowed to get away with a plan which unnecessarily blights 20% of the town.”



 

“And, Labour councillors have the cheek to look surprised when people say Luton Council consultations are a sham.” – Cllr. David Franks, Liberal Democrat leader of the opposition, Luton Council.

49%* of the people who responded to Luton Council’s own consultation exercise said moving to fortnightly black bin collections would have a big impact on their family but the Labour Council is to do it anyway. The bin in which people put food, nappies, continence waste are to be collected only once every two weeks.

“Hundreds of people have contacted Liberal Democrat councillors to protest and many have said responding to Council consultations is a waste of time because they have already made up their minds what they are going to do,” says Liberal Democrat councillor David Franks, “And Labour councillors have the cheek to look surprised when people say Luton Council consultations are a sham.”

“Even families who never fill their black bin are concerned about the smell, flies from rotting food left for a minimum of two weeks. With the hot summer we’ve just enjoyed there must be real health concerns.”

The Council claims that fortnightly bin collections will lead to less waste being taken to landfill but Liberal Democrat councillors say there will not be less waste, it will just lie around smelling for longer and that’s why they opposed the move from the start.

 


* Based on the following data from the survey: Very or fairly big impact 49%. Very little (but some) impact 34%. No impact 13%. Don’t know 3%

Full survey results are available via this link.