Claire Ward
Watford Labour Party

270 St Albans Road, Watford WD24 6PE

Claire Ward Labour MP for Watford

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Labour's Legacy to Watford

Andy Head describes what Labour did for Watford when it was in control of Watford Council.

"All local authorities get things wrong sometimes and make mistakes. And Watford’s Labour Council made too many in recent years. But over 30 years Labour built a far better town than the one it inherited from the last Conservative administration. That Tory council that tore down Cassiobury Park gates, built the ring road and failed to invest in affordable homes and the community. Labour's legacy is enormous and below are a few of the things we now take for granted, that only happened because of a Labour-run Town Hall."

Prosperous and well-run town
  • No Council debts – all loans from past years were paid off by Labour
  • Built a portfolio of Commercial Property that generates £3 million a year to spend on improving the town
  • Planning that delivered thousands of new jobs to replace those lost in the print and engineering industries

Action on transport and mobility
  • Created a network of cycle lanes praised by Friends of the Earth
  • Introduced a pedestrian strategy to make it safer and more appealing to walk around the town
  • Provided free bus travel for pensioners and the disabled
  • Got a bus station at Watford Junction Rail Station
  • Developed a comprehensive bus network – now destroyed by Tory privatisation
  • Introduced residents parking schemes
  • Promoted and supported the campaign to retain Sunday services on the Abbey Line
  • Actively backed the Croxley Rail Link with planning gain money
  • Got the County Council to plan a lorry link to take juggernauts of off Tolpits Lane
  • Pedestrianised the town centre, removing cars and choking fumes
  • Campaigned for the M1 link road that has reduced through traffic from residential streets in North Watford
  • Initiated and led the South West Herts transportation study that resulted in traffic calming schemes across the borough

Action on the environment
  • Invested in green initiatives, the Watford Energy Agency, borough wide recycling of paper, metal and glass
  • Set up in 2003 the green waste scheme now so successful
  • Introduced dog wardens, dog waste bins and heavy fines for dog owners who let their animals foul public space
  • Obtained new countryside park at the Lairage in West Watford, now part of the Colne Valley Linear Park, and nature reserves in Cassiobury and Leggatts
  • Protected Watford's Green Belt from housing and commercial development
  • Gave grants to local schools to improve their school environment
  • Established an Allotments Strategy that will protect these valuable and productive green lungs
  • Campaigned and delivered a high quality in town shopping centre that saved hundreds of acres of Hertfordshire countryside from becoming another Brent Cross
  • Refurbished town centre using high quality traditional paving
  • Brought our Parish Church back into the High Street by removing ugly buildings
  • Developed new market facilities and town centre affordable accommodation in Charter Place
  • Preserved historic buildings in the High Street and gave them new life
  • Created six conservation areas across the town
  • Ensured that polluted land at the gas works, battery works and at Local Board Road was decontaminated and not simply capped in concrete when new developments were built

Action for our communities
  • Free school milk to replace money lost in mean Tory government cuts
  • Meals on wheels service for housebound people
  • Supported the Hospice and Watford New Hope Trust
  • Funded the Citizens Advice Bureau; Relate; the Samaritans; the Women’s Centre and Town Centre crèche
  • Massive support for community groups, from pre school playgroups to luncheon clubs for older people
  • Purpose built advice centre in the middle of the town
  • West Watford Information Shop, nursery and crèche
  • Introduced Area Committees and supported residents and community groups across the town

Action on housing
  • 5,000 new affordable homes for those who could not afford to buy their home
  • £millions spent on improving older council properties – all homes have replacement windows, replacement roofs and central heating, rewiring and new bathrooms in estates across the town
  • Sheltered housing blocks for the old and vulnerable
  • £millions spent on private sector housing grants – making sure that Victorian terraces provide modern living and did not become candidates for slum clearance Safer, stronger communities

Safer, stronger communities
  • Town Centre CCTV, supported the Police to detect and solve crime and challenge anti – social behaviour
  • Refurbished town centre car parks that eliminated car crime
  • Alleyway gating schemes, bringing security and deterring burglary
  • Alarm systems for the vulnerable – making sure they can raise the alarm in times of distress
  • Improved lighting and security in car parks and alleyways
  • Provided attendants in public loos to ensure high standards of cleaning and an environment free from loiterers
  • Door entry systems protecting communal areas from abuse in blocks of flats and maisonettes
  • Introduced park wardens across the borough
  • Provided a women’s refuge to protect women and children from violence and intimidation
  • Supported those facing discrimination
  • Invested in ethnic community support that has delivered a multi-racial community without the tensions and distrust evident in other towns
  • Pedestrian safety schemes across the borough
  • Smoke alarms in council properties
  • Invested in public health programmes, including a massive public education campaign on the new threat of HIV

Action for culture, leisure and play
  • Leisure facilities for all the family, cinema, bowling, swimming and active sport
  • Two adventure playgrounds where youngsters can run off their energy in a safe environment
  • Over £2 million spent on children’s play equipment in parks across the town
  • Watford Museum opened and historic artefacts and paintings collected
  • New community facilities opened at the MRCC, Centre Point, Irish Club, Woodside Bowls club and Bill Everett centres
  • Partnerships with the private sector to enhance facilities such as the scheme that kept the Assembly Halls open as Watford Coliseum
  • Leisure Card introduced providing discounts to residents and ensuring poor and vulnerable have access to sport and fitness facilities
  • Support for community fireworks display at Cassiobury Park
  • Busy Bees activity programme for the over 50’s
  • Supported the Carnival and started the universally acclaimed Rainbow Festival
  • Holiday play schemes for local children, bringing safe organised play across the borough
  • Community access to the once private West Herts Golf course
  • Kept the Palace Theatre alive, which is now thriving
  • Ensured a full programme of annual Town Hall classical concerts
  • Introduced Mobile Library Service – now run by the County Council
  • Cassiobury Park paddling pool - the best public park in the region
  • Huge investment in tree and seasonal planting, improving our parks, urban landscape and bringing colour and pride to the town. Watford once had immaculately maintained verges and roundabouts now sadly neglected since 2002

There are many things that I can do as your MP, and some that I cannot.

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