Dozens of Hertsmere residents took to the streets of Borehamwood on Wednesday evening to demonstrate that they had ’No faith in our Council.”
Organised by an alliance of organisations and supported by Hertsmere Labour, the march brought the town centre to a standstill as bystanders and drivers applauded the marchers led by a red tractor and float.
The placards clearly demonstrated their concerns: From the green belt to NHS and bus cuts, through to container homes and closures of a bowls club and car park.
Hertsmere Borough Council have been as the centre of a number of controversies over the last year, and residents’ patience has finally snapped.
Across the Borough people have been let down by the Tory-controlled administration and Tories have had to pay back thousands of pounds after wrongly using Elstree Studios and irregularly claiming expenses and closing down democratic debate on it.
When the march arrived at the Civic Centre, they were welcomed by the opposition Labour Group who had been prevented from joining the march by the late scheduling of an extraordinary Council meeting.
Holly Karl-Weiss from Barnet Alliance for Public Services urged residents to organise themselves and come together to avoid Hertsmere becoming like Barnet, where most services have been outsourced and residents have little say.
A message was from played from the mysterious Hertsmere People’s Liberation Front offering their solidarity and a speech from Joe Hunter, the community journalist, who has been banned from the Council chamber for recording meetings was read by his sister.
Councillor Michelle Vince made an impassioned speech highlighting many of the issues facing the Borough, including the closure of a Post Office forced by the increase in rent by the Council and the container homes which homeless families are expected to live in and overlook existing residents.
The speeches concluded with Labour Group Leader, Jeremy Newmark saying: “We no longer have faith in the leadership of this council and we are working collaboratively with the Liberal Democrats to oppose it and see decent investment in Council services. Opposition is working with people like you.”
“With the hard work of councillors and brave staff at the Council and Elstree Studios, we were able to expose that Council Leader, Morris Bright and Councillor Paul Morris were using the Studios as a political slush fund.”
Many of the protestors continued to the Council chamber to observe the proceedings.