Friday, 6 January 2012

Goodbye-election

A by-election is to be held in Sutton Council's Worcester Park ward, after Liberal Democrat Councillor Jennifer Cambell-Klomps resigned her seat to move abroad.

Ms Campbell-Klomps who lives on The Hamptons (which is much the same as living abroad, really - so why relocate) was elected in May 2010, toppling the incumbent Conservative candidate.

The by-election (which will cover just the one seat in Worcester Park ward) will be held on Thursday 16th February 2012.
 

33 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Anonymous said...

She did such a great job that I never knew she existed and I've lived in the area since 1988.

Anonymous said...

I would move abroad too if I lived on the Hamptons!!
It's not the life they were promised when they moved in!!!I live nearby and with the ”extented" bit of the Hamptons it's enough to make anyone want to move abroad!!I lived nearby there and I wish we could afford to move as the area has really gone down!!!

Geoff said...

Did she know in May 2010?

Rick said...

She won her election with an unwavering pledge and a promise to represent the interests of local residents...
Now, after getting elected, a Liberal Democrat has decided to pursue some other course of action...
It’s not exactly without precedent, is it?

It’s a REALLY wild guess, but I predict the next Lib Dem candidate is going to stand for election with both a determined pledge and a concrete promise to represent the interests of local residents…

Anonymous said...

Perhaps people on the Hamptons development (private side) have put too much pressure on her to block off public rights of way. Must get rather tedious and I'm sure she's not a fan of social divide.

Enter the Hamptons from Green Lane, near the school, by foot... You'll see a nasty big sign stapled to the gate. It warns of guard dogs and a police presence and states "no unauthorised access". Wake up residents; it's a public right of way. With threats of savage dogs, you're intimidating people with every right to use that land.

Worcester Park needs an injection of 20/30/40-something professionals.

Anonymous said...

20/30/40-something professionals want to live amongst other 20/30/40-something professionals.

The absolute last place they want to live is in a 20/30/40-something social housing experiment.

Maybe Councillor Campbell-Klomps has given up pretending this is going to change.

Anonymous said...

Yes, good point.

At the Hamptons outset, the older residents in the immediate area took the view that they'd either be dead or would have sold their houses before the Hamptons had an impact on the area - so they saw no point in complaining. I wonder how many are still trying to sell their tatty old Wates homes? And take your old bangers with you, please.

They should have raised their concerns again and again with the local authority. Just how many times have we heard "final stage of development"? But more houses have been built, with subsequently more social housing. (Not an experiment; the rules apply everywhere - if you build more than eight houses, a large percentage have to be social housing. Normally they have to be integrated - not put in a separate area as has happened on the Hamptons).

Fortunately I've never seen signs of trouble from the latter. And I suspect that the area's typical pre-Hamptons resident was brought up on St Helier/a south London estate (white flight?). There are plenty of rough over-60s about.

A link road should have been built between Lower Morden and the road near Green Lane school that goes to New Malden. With parking restrictions (no parking on highway), it'd have been easier to negotiate than the average road in Worcester Park. And what about the bus service St James's Homes promised between the north end of the Hamptons and the station?

I'm sure St James's have made lots of money from the Hamptons. Perhaps councillors/Sutton should contact St James's chiefs about financial help for local projects.

Anonymous said...

The Wates houses have been there for over 70 years. I wonder if the painted sheds will last as long.

Anonymous said...

How long before we start seeing evidence of Hampton's jaw?

Rick said...

I’ve a feeling the Wates houses will easily outlive the 'painted sheds', but time will tell. Certainly the painted shed councillor proved to be a very short-term investment!

I wonder, since this councillor stood for election, won and then decided to throw in the towel, how much is this forthcoming, one-off, unforeseen by-election actually going to cost?

And I wonder (particularly at a time when public finances are in such a state), who is the actual source of the cash supply, which is picking up the tab for this unforeseen cost?

Lastly, since Councillor Campbell-Klomps' voluntary actions have resulted in the need to incur the cost of a by-election, perhaps residents and the other councillors might like to reflect on who ought to pick up the bill?

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, I forgot this thread was about Cambell-Klomps ........ who was she again?

Jason J Hunter said...

The Hamptons in Worcester Park

Everyone who lives in Worcester Park is aware of the development at the end of Green Lane called the Hamptons.  There are both positive and negative comments from people that I speak to regarding this matter.  

The LibDems in Sutton, and Paul Burstow originally opposed the planning of this site, but due to the crazy planning process the final decision was made by a chap in Bristol.

 I hear all the time people asking about school places, doctors surgeries, traffic levels and how they are all going to be terrible now that all these new Worcester Parkites are arriving to live in the Hamptons. That all having been said The Hamptons is here to stay and we all need to work together to integrate the Hamptonites into Worcester Park.

I heard a rumour last year that St James who are the developers of the Hamptons promised to pay the sum of £258,000 into the local Primary Care Trust ie GP’s surgeries.  I wondered if it had yet been paid and if not when it was due to be paid so we can increase the capacity of the local surgeries.  I went off to investigate exactly where the money was.  And I found it!  Not only did I find out all the details of the initial £258,000 but I also found a little more as follows:

St James, as part of the planning agreement have paid just over £2 million into improving the following areas and there is another £1 million to come after the current phase is complete.  The individual investments are broken down as follows:

Education £1,174,000 - Green Lane Primary (xtra class), Extra class in each year at Cheam High)
Bus Contribution £780,000 - (S3 bus service improvements, more regular busses)
Traffic Regulation Order Contribution £5,000
Green Lane Traffic Calming £36,000
Road Improvement to Green Lane Primary School £50,000
Recreation Ground Footpath £5,000
CPZ Contribution £30,000
S106 Supervision Fee £10,000
Total £2,090,000

These sums have already been paid out by St James and are being invested in the relevant areas to help make Worcester Park a better place to live for all of us.

Further to the initial figures above, the following sums are also due to be paid, based upon the completion of the phase currently under construction:

Education £255,729
Health £258,000
Sport and Recreation £306,280
Sustainable Transport Initiatives £211,800
Total £1,031,809

I guess the message I am trying to convey with this post is that yes, some people were against the Hamptons being built, some people like it and use the public park on a regular basis, but however we all feel about the Hamptons and its residents it is now a part of Worcester Park and we all need to live together at the end of the day.

 I hope that those opponents of this site enjoy some of the benefits that the Hamptons brings and get to know our new neighbours.  The Hamptons looks like its here to stay, lets make them feel welcome. And encourage them to spend their hard earned in Worcester Park high street and give the local economy a boost.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that - and I'm glad that St James's are putting money into the community. Now let's ensure no more houses are built on the development.

The park and the extra access points are a positive addition to the area. But we must ensure that the park remains open to everyone. It is only due to a lot of hard work by myself that people can now walk from the north end to the south end.

If people have investment ideas - other than the generic traffic calming, etc - then I suggest they contact St James's.

The development makes the area seem tidier/more well-kept. The point I was trying to make about the 80-year-old Wates homes was that many look as if they haven't been touched in 80 years. The parking is insufficient for the amount of vehicles the average inhabitant seems to have - so the public highways have become a dumping ground for old rusty cars that never seem to go anywhere.

These people with little respect for their immediate area shouldn't go round criticising housing association residents.

Rick said...

Thank you Jason J. Hunter for a comprehensive breakdown of the contributions from St. James.

Whilst on the subject of finances, I phoned Sutton Council to ask the financial impact of an unscheduled by-election, resulting from Councillor Campbell-Klomps’ decision to relocate and pursue other developmental opportunities. I asked the following questions:

Q1. How much is this by-election going to cost?

Answer: “A four-figure sum”

They were honest enough to say they don’t know exactly – clearly holding a one-off by-election will cost rather more than the average cost of holding lots on the same day. However, a very rough estimate was in the region of single thousands of pounds.

Q2. Is specific funding provided for this by-election?

Answer: “No – it has to be paid from existing funds”.

All local councillors are obviously elected for a full term. Those that can’t commit themselves to public office for the full term are patently unsuitable to hold it. From Sutton Council’s perspective, this is an unforeseeable requirement, so no funding was ever requested and none has been, or will be provided.

Q3. So what is the funding source?

“Sutton Council’s contingency fund.”

As the election will have to be held and there is no new money from any other source, emergency funding would have to be drawn from Sutton Council’s contingency fund. As the name implies, this fund is meant for ‘real’ emergencies, rather than for an elected councillor’s change of heart, but obviously, elections have to happen.

Q4. And where does that money come from?

“Local authority funding”

Put simply, at the end of the day, this manufactured black hole will have to be filled by us local residents. To add insult to injury, Sutton Council believe Councillor Campbell-Klomps is moving abroad, so she will fail to make any personal contribution to the liability she personally has created.

Lastly, Sutton Council are unaware of any intention by Councillor Campbell-Klomps or Sutton & Cheam Liberal Democrats to fill the financial void she leaves behind.

Perhaps Jason J. Hunter can persuade the outgoing Councillor and/or her party or even St. James to reimburse the public purse from private funds? [As opposed to the age old sleight-of-hand trick of moving around and renaming existing public funds].

With a month to go before the by-election, as things have been left, the slogan “Voting Lib Dem in this ward cost you wasted £1,000s” promises to resonate around the Worcester Park ward and may seriously affect the outcome.

Anonymous said...

Rick,
Just for balance from the Kingston side of WP, I note that one of the Conservative ward Councillors for Maldens and Coombe recently did the same thing and resigned to move to America promting a by- election. So it's hardly an exclusive lib dem policy of irresponsiblity and shouldn't be made into a party political issue.
On the funding, it is an unfortunate waste but it's really just a drop in the ocean compared to the huge cuts that the Conservative led Government are inflicting on our local Councils. I would have thought that Councils would have a contingency fund to pay for by elections triggered by various circumstances such as death. Unfortunately democracy is expensive. Perhaps then we shoudl just abolish it to save money??

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jason – this is very useful as many people can be ignorant of the complex planning issues and often lazily just resort to blaming the Council for everything. I personally see the Hamptons as a positive thing for the area but there are a few remaining questions about how the money will be spent in order to accomodate the increased local population, that you may be able to answer:
On the health care, whilst it is good that a contribution has been made, how is that going to translate into improved healthcare in WP? Are they going to actually expand one of the local Drs to take on more patients because there are currently problems with getting registered with local Dr’s. Presumably the contribution will go to Sutton PCT (or whatever’s replacing it??), but the nearest surgery is Manor Drive which is in Kingston.
It’s great that funding has been used to expand Green lane and there is a clear link as it is right next door. But are you saying that they are also expanding Cheam High by a class using this funding? If so how will they ensure that children in WP can actually get a place there, as it is massively oversubscribed as one of few non selective schools in the area. Currently Cheam High admission criteria includes the below strange inclusion, albeit lowest priority. Not sure if this is related to the Hamptons funding or just related to a link with Dorchester School or a historical recognition by the Council of the lack of school provision in WP? If not related to the St James funding will they be increasing the places allocated to WP children in line with the expansion that that the Hamptons has paid for? If not then we’re not really benefitting from the funding as the new places will go to children living nearer to Cheam first.
“Up to 30 places to be allocated to children who live within 1.6 km (measured^ as the crow flies) from the junction of Ruskin Drive and Morningside Road in Worcester Park with those living nearer Dorchester Primary School, Worcester Park**, being given the higher priority.(**Distance from the school of the home is measured^ from the main highway entrance to Dorchester Primary as the crow flies).”

Jason I’m guessing you have reappeared on the blog because you intend to stand in the by election? Well it may be worth noting that any candidate who pledged to take action on the WP schools black hole issue would certainly get my vote.

WP Man said...

I noticed on her blog, that Jennifer Campbell-Klomps now gives her address as Surbiton http://jennifercampbellklomps.mycouncillor.org.uk/ unless I've missed the news about Surbiton gaining national independence, I don't think that classes as moving abroad ...

When will we know who the new candidates are?

Rick said...

Anonymous, your response suggests that standards of ethical and financial conduct of Sutton’s Lib Dem councillors are set by observing the worst that is known around the country and thereafter adopting it, with the justification ‘well, it is no worse than another councillor did in X’ – I hope an official Lib Dem source can confirm that this isn’t what’s going on…

And just to inject some balanced reality into your party-political smokescreen, our coalition Government only remains a Government and the “huge cuts” it is “inflicting on our local Councils” that you lament are only possible whilst it retains the full support of Westminster’s Liberal Democrat MPs. That includes both Sutton’s and Kingston’s, so if you feel as strongly about the issue as you claim, complain to them.

I feel strongly about Councillor Campbell-Klomps’ carefree, fly by night behaviour, but I know from comments on this blog that her response to criticism is to intercept and delete it, before it gets into the public domain. Essentially, her standard response seems to be to extend her middle finger in the direction from whence it came, so I have to do it here:

Her failure to deliver her election pledge, to represent residents for a full term, has directly triggered a paid for by-election. This is at the worst possible time - when council services are already stretched and being cut, as any Sutton councillor is only too well aware.

The phrases “unfortunate waste” and “it's really just a drop in the ocean” suggests you have either a naïve belief that council services magically appear overnight or (like Councillor Campbell-Klomps), you have a casual contempt for those of us left to pick up the tab for them. It’s intriguing that you happily accept wastage of local authority resources and avoidable council expenditure when a Lib Dem councillor causes them – interesting.

Ms Campbell-Klomps has voluntarily incurred a cost of as yet, unknown thousands, which I think either she or her party or both ought to cover, rather than pass their bill onto us, in the form of hard charging residents or force council savings against local services elsewhere.

And a 'contingency fund' is for emergencies – it’s not a 'slush fund', to absorb the costly private activities of ambitious 'here today, gone tomorrow' councillors. And like all other local authority spending, at the end of the day, it still has to be paid for.

With regard to Kingston, I believe some of Worcester Park falls within Kingston Council, so those residents may similarly wish to publicly question and challenge the conduct of their own elected former councillor, whatever the political affiliation. Good luck to those residents – that’s how local democracy works, how changes happen and how our elected representatives change.

Anonymous said...

Rick, are you going to stand?

BenjyP said...

Anonymous, I am afraid that UKIP are probably unlikely to get in, so unfortunately Rick won't be required!

Sue said...

Does this mean local schools will have to be closed once again for this by election?

Paul said...

"I feel strongly about Councillor Campbell-Klomps’ carefree, fly by night behaviour" [Rick]. Do you know why she is moving, or are you jumping to an un-informed conclusion? There are any number of reasons why she may have chosen to move abroad: family bereavement, ill health, terminal hatred of her narrow minded constituents....

The resignation of anyone in an elected position has to be a good thing, because if they find themselves, for any reason, no longer willing to do the job, then it is in everyone's interests to find someone else who does want to. Forcing a reluctant incumbent to remain in place is just cutting of your nose to spite your face.

Jeff said...

It would be nice to know WHY Councillor Campbell-Klonks resigned less than a year after being elected. Has she given her reasons, does anyone know? I would have thought that she owes the people she represents an explanation.

Paul said...

Sorry - off not "of"

Sue said...

It seems that the bi election is to be held during half term. At least lots of you will not have to take an extra day off. Who pays for all these polling stations, staff, voting cards etc?

Get back in your box said...

I’m in complete agreement with Paul.
He sounds like a natural leader.

Councillor Campbell-Klomps doesn’t have to answer questions from you ‘narrow minded constituents’.
And its not for ‘narrow minded constituents’ to speculate answers in place of her silence either.
What she writes on her website is all you need to know and nothing more.
So keep you traps firmly shut.

You were told the councillor has emigrated far, far overseas.
You don’t need to know that her new address is in Surbiton.
And no further comments are welcome.

Her departure forces an election.
It’s your job to cough up and pay for it, not to discuss it.
So just dig deep and stop writing your comments here.

You’ve been told the date and place when you are required to vote.
You’ll be told the name of your next councillor when the party’s ready.
They set the agenda and ask the questions - not ‘narrow minded constituents’.
So keep your noses out of local politics.

We need more people like Paul who have a “terminal hatred of her narrow minded constituents” to take order and keep it.

General Kim Lib-Dem
Pyongyang
North Korea

Worried Parent said...

One thing I will be raising is the massive secondary school issue we have. Currently going through the process for the first time and very unhappy about it all. Have applied for grammars (Sutton only)too and can't believe people as far as Slough and Hayes are turning up too. This is appaling and needs to be sorted out. What about our children, where are they supposed to go?

Paul said...

GBIYB / Kim / Rick - thanks for your touching support.

I tend not to believe Lib Dem websites. On the basis of 30 seconds' research I'm going with Tenerife, not Surbiton.

Election - good. You think she's a carefree, fly by night, I accept that she doesn't think she can do the job, so we get someone else. We are both happy and probably JC-K is too.

Alternatively we could just have 2 councillors, that way we avoid the election cost altogether. That's the best option isn't it, Jason?

Anonymous said...

Worried Parent you could start a whole new thread on that one!!

Friends of ours had exactly the same problem with their son a couple of years ago. What was clear was that the "top schools" were spreading the net wide to ensure that they only got the very brightest pupils, presumably to ensure that they hit their targets.

It seems that for all these schools, they are not prepared to take the risk that there wouldn't be enough bright kids in any particular years intake from the local area, resulting in them having to take slightly lesser ability kids that might involve some actual teaching to help them. A real pile of cack in my opinion.

Rick said...

Sue, be under no illusion, it's down to you, me and all other taxpaying Sutton voters to pay for these unfunded costs, be they for the polling station, the staff or the voting cards. (That’s voters on Election Day or narrow minded constituents, as we’re seemingly known on days when there isn’t an election).

And don’t forget the administration costs of the postal votes. Plus a need plenty of cash for the travel costs, the hotel bills, the fact-finding trips and the rubber stamp approval of any claims incurred by the newly elected, replacement local councillor.

If the new councillor’s ability to undertake the role extends no further than the desire to add the title to their CV, it promises to be a steep learning curve for them, which suggests the costs of their period of office are likely to be equally steep for us. It certainly sounds like money the local schools could put to better use, doesn’t it?

Paul’s suggestion of avoiding an election and having just 2 councillors sounds a practical one. On the basis of 30 seconds’ research of the departing councillor’s website, it seems whilst she was in post, she was pursuing her own agenda, as opposed to that of her narrow minded constituents.

But it would be even simpler still and I’m sure all of us would be grateful and happy (rather than just Paul and Cllr. C-K) if with the election looming, the Liberal Democrats would kindly pick up the bill for costs incurred, by their party member.

[That’s those costs resulting from the councillor they selected to stand as a suitable candidate for their party and her subsequent inability to fulfil the role she pledged to undertake, whilst suitably wearing their attractive rosette].

What can you do for us, Jason?

Anonymous said...

Rick, I ask again, are you going to stand?

DT said...

Rick,

I suppose every time you have changed job you have reimbursed your employer the costs of replacing you?

The representation of the peoples act specify exactly what to do when an elected position becomes vacant. It wouldn't allow having only two councillors unless the next election was within the maximum time frame for calling an election.

I feel Rick would like to return to the good old days when local businessmen got a vote as well, one for each outlet they had in the constiuency. Or to the even better old days when they were the only ones that had a vote.

Rick said...

Anon,
We’re facing an election that our Council doesn’t have the money for. I hate to think that you’re losing sleep at 5:40 am, because worried about the aspect of who’s standing in it.

DT,
I’ve never broken the terms of a contract of employment or any other business contract. If ever I did, no doubt my employer would undoubtedly seek financial compensation from me, on the basis of my clear breach of contract. After all, there’s a subtle clue in the phrase ‘contract’ of employment.

I certainly favour the concept of elected councillors actively undertaking their roles for the full term, after having publicly pledged before the entire constituency to do so, if that’s what you mean by a ‘return to the good old days’.

That’s as opposed to councillors pledging to fulfil the role, then deciding after the election that it’s in their personal interest to do something else and on their way out, passing on the cost to the local working families and local businesses, who they pledged and were elected to represent.

Presumably those who nonchalantly welcome unfunded increases in Sutton Councils’ expenditure are those that do not contribute and have no intention of ever financially contributing? [As you’ve got spare time, perhaps you could research the role, responsibilities and code of conduct of Sutton Councillors?]

Jason,
Inflation is at about 5%
Benefits are going up by about 5%
Average salaries are going up by only 3%

Clearly those working and paying in to Sutton are exclusively those who are already enduring a reduction in their standard of living. We can certainly do without an extra financial burden of “Campbell-Klompsgate”.

Post a Comment

The Worcester Park Blog welcomes your comments and opinions!