In 2024, I want to see a renewed focus on the issues that matter to residents, delivering a fair deal for everyone in York. Climate change is the largest external threat to York, our country, and our planet. We have seen frequent flooding of the Ouse this winter, which puts into perspective how urgent this crisis is. Liberal Democrats want to see real action on the climate crisis and we need to continue doing our bit locally. For example, during the local election campaign, we set out our ambition to plant a tree for every resident in the Community Woodland that is being established in west York.
The cost-of-living crisis has worsened living standards in York. The Lib Dem-led administration developed an Economic Strategy that seeks to create more high-wage, high-skill jobs in York, encourage inward investment, and use that growth to target support for those most affected by falling living standards. The council now needs to get on with the delivery of that plan. It is vital that York is seen as being open for investment, and I was very disappointed to see LNER’s ambitious plans to transform the station portico rejected by the council’s Planning Committee recently.
The council needs to deliver on major projects that will help our city thrive. We have recently seen many of the elements of the Castle Gateway project shelved, and it is vital that the impetus that the York Central projects now has – after years of talk and no action – is not lost. York Central will deliver 2,500 homes, and I am committed to working cross-party to ensure that York’s Local Plan is finally adopted so that we can get on with building the housing that York needs, with as much of it as possible being genuinely affordable.
More work needs to be done, working with the NHS, to help fix mental health services in York. Liberal Democrats ran on a manifesto at the council elections to deliver more mental health hubs in York, building on the success of the community mental health hub at 30 Clarence Street. We want to see this ambition delivered by the new administration.
Public transport in York is key to keeping our city moving. We need to make best use of the millions of pounds of Bus Service Improvement funding secured by the previous Liberal Democrat led administration, and I would like to see the money that has been redirected to the Council from the canceling of HS2 used to secure the future of under-threat bus services and to reverse some of the cuts that bus operators have made in recent years.
The Liberal Democrat led administration protected and expanded York’s libraries, and we will do all that we can to ensure that in 2024 these vital community services are protected and enhanced.
I believe that local residents are best placed to make decisions on issues that affect them. So Lib Dem councillors will continue to campaign for ward budgets and local estate improvement funding to be reinstated to enable communities to deliver on their priorities for local infrastructure and other services.
Liberal Democrats in York wish the best for the new Labour administration. We hope they succeed in delivering on residents’ priorities