Wyre Forest Labour welcomed the news that Bewdley Councillor Philip Edmundson has rejoined the Party and in his own words has done so in order to "return home to my political roots" and to help fight "increased poverty, social inequity and imbalance".
Philip is currently Deputy Mayor of Bewdley and an Assistant Head Teacher in an inner city Birmingham School. He is passionate about doing all he can to safeguard public services like health, social care, education and transport, which he says are endangered by the Conservatives and which only Labour can protect. Philip also believes that part of the agenda, and Labour agrees, is working with local traders and businesses to ensure a prosperous future for Bewdley, in turn Wyre Forest, and to help make all of our High Streets vibrant.
Stephen Brown said "It's great news that Philip has come home to Labour to join us in our campaign for a fairer society. Importantly too, we need to remember that working with local business is critical in creating a prosperous future for us all, and Philip has some great ideas in this area. Having someone of Philip's calibre come onboard is excellent, it openly displays the fact that Labour is a good Party to join if you care passionately about and want to help create a better world. Philip is in good company as we are now the biggest Party in Britain, the biggest Party in Europe, and have doubled our local membership in 18 months. We look forward to working with Philip and expanding our influence in Local Government to improve the lives of people in Bewdley and beyond".
On re-joining, Philip said, ‘The time has come for me to return to my political roots. Labour is the only political movement in the country that will ensure that post BrexitBritain will not become one of self-centred, free gain for the few and increased poverty, social inequity and imbalance. We have to safeguard as much as we can locally, essential health, transport and social care services that are constantly endangered by our Conservative led district and county councils. Labour is the only party with the appropriate care, consideration and commitment to do so. Over 100 years’ experience of fighting for the people of this country and never before has a strong and united party been needed by the people of the Wyre Forest or Worcestershire.’
As a Town Councillor for three years and completing his second year as Deputy Mayor, Philip believes that listening to and working with the community is essential in making Bewdley better.
Philip is leading the Town Council through the Neighbourhood Plan, a localism based land use programme that will see a democratised approach to land use and planning within Bewdley. It is running its second public consultation and is looking at going to final referendum in May 2018.
Philip believes that Bewdley and the Wyre Forest needs to:
- Maintain and continue to strengthen facilities and community hubs, such as the medical centre, the library and the leisure centre, as well as public recreation and open spaces
- More connection between the Councils and the community groups and trusts, with a view of more cohesive working practices – remembering that we are all in this together
- Supportive relationships with traders and local businesses - the town needs them to do more than survive - they need to succeed
- Developing more strategic and thoughtful approaches to traffic, highways and parking - Bewdley is for residents, businesses and visitors - shared spaces need to be developed to allow for more considerate road use.
Philip loves the great outdoors too; walking, cycling, hill climbing and fishing his way around the county whenever he can.
When Diamond Buses first announced that they would be running an additional service between Kidderminster and Stourbridge my initial reaction was – good, perhaps we will now have a 30 minute service. No such luck!
Timetabling the service to run 10 minutes prior to the existing 125 service does nothing to enhance the service and is of no benefit to passengers. All it does is poach the passengers from the 125. This could have a detrimental effect on the 125 service which is long established and also runs onwards to Bridgenorth via Highley.
This is an example of bus services being run to suit the bus companies, not the travelling public. A consequence of having an unregulated bus service.
It was my understanding that local Transport Authorities have a responsibility to encourage the use of public transport in their area so that people get out of their cars to reduce congestion and carbon dioxide emissions. Something which a genuine 30 minute service between Kidderminster and Stourbridge would do. The travelling time whether by car or bus is similar and if you go by bus there are no worries about parking!
The question one needs to ask is – what involvement, if any, has there been with the Transport Authorities? I suspect little. So come on Worcestershire and Centro – negotiate with the bus companies to get a 30 minute service on this route.
So what about the future of bus services? Local Transport authorities can and should be doing more to regulate the bus services so that they genuinely meet the needs of the community. All it needs is the political will. Transport for London has complete control over public transport in Greater London, with the bus companies contracting for the routes at a fixed price. There is no reason why this model could not work in other parts of the country.
In my recent county council by election campaign, I expressed the view that current government policies are dismantling the fabric of our communities in Worcestershire. In its modest way, the Vale Road, Stourport saga makes my point.
The district council’s sale for housing of most of the car park here will mean the loss of public toilets and necessary parking spaces at the upper end of town.
If you voted Conservative in recent elections, you have got what you voted for, the privatising of a community asset and the loss of valued services.
If you did not vote, you allowed Conservative policies to triumph. You have no right to complain.
To the rest of the Stourport electorate, I say:
Had Labour been elected to power, the Vale Road saga would never have happened, because the public toilets would have remained open.
Jill Hawes, Labour Spokesperson for Mitton Ward