A Pre-Election Blog

Hitchin North County Councillor, Judi Billing, will be contesting the seat again in the upcoming elections in May 2017. Here, she reflects back on some of the things she and other Labour colleagues have achieved, as well as looking forward to the work still to be done.

 Judi with one of the new speed signs on St Michaels Road


As the only Labour County Councillor in Hitchin, surrounded at County Hall by a sea of Tories, it is sometimes hard to make inroads into the worst of their policies. You know, those ones to do with negligent highway maintenance, isolating communities with no support for public transport, and allowing education to be taken over by academies and free schools with the threat of grammar schools on the way.

But the County Labour group is active and vociferous in holding the Tories to account. And in our local communities we are able to make a considerable difference to many people. Specifically in Hitchin North that has meant:

  • supporting families with children with special educational needs to ensure that they got the best possible education for their children when the county council wasn't even listening to them


  • making sure that ALL of Common Rise was resurfaced when the County Council tried to get out of doing parts of it for ridiculous reasons


  • persuading the education services to bother about a group of families in the Purwell area who currently have no priority for any local secondary school.  From next year Highfield school will take applications seriously as the nearest school for those who want to go there.


  • fighting for the right of the Priory School to expand as it wants and needs to do to ensure that there are sufficient Hitchin places for those who want a mixed school for their children


  • finally introducing a 20 mph zone in some of our most densely populated and dangerous streets - still awaiting implementation which is taking forever!


  • using my locality budget to support the continuation of the Family Matters group when the County Council abandoned Homestart, helping Smarty's Day Nursery to expand and providing a crossing patrol in Strathmore Avenue when the County Council would no longer pay for it.


  • introducing solar speed activated signs in Strathmore Avenue, Old Hale Way and St Michaels Rd to encourage drivers to slow down in our residential areas


  • demanding action to change the layout of a roundabout in Periwinkle and Water Lane where previously there were accidents reported virtually every week.

There is of course still lots to do, and these are just a few examples of what we've achieved.  But being in opposition is massively frustrating and I've had to work hard and find creative solutions to some problems. However it is never, ever, hopeless.

Judi Billing
December 2016

Showing 4 reactions

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  • Jacqueline McDonald
    commented 2016-12-10 11:10:59 +0000
    Thank you Judi for your response. That’s really good to know that you will still be fighting hard to get this crazy policy reversed. There were numerous complaints received from Oughton residents during the recent Oughton by-election campaign about Councillor Barnard in his role as a County Councillor and how he has failed to respond to numerous requests and emails from Oughton residents, in particular issues regarding street lights that had been out for over a year and unsafe paving in the notorious unsafe alleyway between Milestone Road and the Bedford Road. To be fair to you Judi you’re one of the few County Councillors who doesn’t just talk the talk. Best wishes for your forthcoming campaign. Jackie McDonald.
  • judi billing
    commented 2016-12-05 08:24:25 +0000
    Hi Jackie – for the three years that I have been a county councillor we have argued long and hard about the madness of turning off streetlights where people feel unsafe and frightened. We will continue with this campaign because I believe that the new system of individually adjustable streetlights which we suggested and is being rolled out should make it incredibly easy to change how this is done on a light by light basis. The things I put in my blog were things I was able to do as an individual but this stupid streetlight policy is a bit of a Tory obsession and one where you really need to approach your County Councillor David Barnard and ask him to act on behalf of Oughton residents. I’m not sure how often he does that
  • Jacqueline McDonald
    commented 2016-12-04 16:06:18 +0000
    Judi, one of the biggest single issues that came from voters during the recent Oughton By-Election was the street lights going out at night which alarmingly seems to be getting earlier and earlier. Many shift workers have to walk from the Hitchin railway station through the town in unlit streets feeling unsafe and vulnerable. Will you be pressing HCC to have this wholly unacceptable decision to turn off the lights from Midnight until the early hours reversed? Good luck with your forthcoming election campaign. Jackie McDonald.
  • Hitchin & Harpenden Labour posted about A Pre-Election Blog on Hitchin & Harpenden Labour's Facebook page 2016-12-02 11:54:30 +0000
    A Pre-Election Blog from Cllr Judi Billing