What are your plans for 2015, Debby?

© Mim Saxl Photography, www.mimsaxl.comHappy New Year, everyone.

Twelfth Night has passed, and we are solidly alive in 2015. I’ve been taking a look at my priorities for the year, and thought I’d share them with you. (Is it true, do you think, that if you make a  commitment public, you are more likely to keep it?)

I’ve been plagued by a persistent lung infection, which is finally relaxing its hold on me. I can tell I’m getting better, because I had enough energy to post things on my blog today. 🙂

There are some of the things I plan to devote time and energy to this year.

  • The main thing is my campaign. I’m up for re-election on the 7th of May, and since it is also a general election, local Lib Dems need our supporters to turn out to vote. I need YOU to vote for me.
  • Did you know that people who are registered to vote by post are something like 8 times more likely to vote that people who have to show up at the polling station on the day? So if we contact you to ask you to register for a postal vote, that’s what’s behind our thinking.
  • If I’m re-elected, most of the things I’ll do from May 2015 relate to my job as your district councillor, and my role as Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats at the Vale of White Horse District Council.
  • Doric have appealed their planning refusal. The planning inspectorate says they received the appeal docs, but haven’t yet validated them. Once they have, the Vale will be notified, and they will let us know the process and deadlines. Best guess of people in the know at the Vale is that there won’t be a hearing until after the election. So between now and then, I will be actively working for better collaboration between the Vale administration and local people, to get a better plan for Botley.
  • The Local Plan 2031, which proposes to build hundreds of homes in the Oxford Green Belt, is under consideration now by the Secretary of State. I objected, along with my Lib Dem colleagues, to building on the Geen Belt without a proper review of the full Green Belt by the different authorities affected. The Lib Dem Group also objected to the section in the plan that relates to Botley. It used Doric’s plan to define the Botley Central Area, and it continued to define Botley as a ‘district centre in the context of Oxford City’ (when there is really no such thing). A decision is not expected until after the election.
  • If the Lib Dems gain control of the Vale (winning 20 of the 38 seats in the re-warded district), I’ll have a different responsibility to what I have now in opposition. So in reality, everything depends on the election outcome. My job as your district councillor continues if I win here in the new ward called Botley and Sunningwell. And my job on the council changes if the Lib Dems gain control.
  • So for the 17 weeks remaining, I’ll help residents with planning matters and continue to help in other areas where I can.
  • And other than that, my main focus is the campaign. I’ll work for my own re-election and to see my Lib Dem colleague Emily Smith elected as the other District Councillor for Botley & Sunningwell.  (Who knows who our opponents will be!)