A post-pandemic St Albans will inevitably see huge amounts of change. But by voting Lib Dem on 6 May, says Chris White, leader of St Albans City & District Council, you can make sure that it’s a positive change that focuses on community, the environment, and sustainable infrastructure.
St Albans has a great future.
Together we’ve weathered one of the toughest challenges any generation could face. It’s not been easy, I'm sure you'll agree. All of us have felt vulnerable to infection. And those with businesses have experienced a break in trade that’s going to be hard work to recover from, despite government pay-outs.
Parents and children have had a particularly tough time, with long breaks from full-time education and the pressures of home-schooling.
But the community pulled together. Many volunteered for the first time – to deliver food, contact the vulnerable, support the local vaccination programme or help in numerous other ways.
Public sector workers impressed their fellow citizens by their dedication to their jobs, from nurses and GPs to council officials, refuse collectors and postal workers – often unsung by the media.
Now, as hopefully we emerge from this crisis, we will face a new world. And together we can make that an exciting world.
It’s still more likely than not that the old five-day-a-week commute will be a thing of the past, although many are keen to get out of the house and mix with colleagues again.
This has implications for places like St Albans. There are already signs that businesses want to invest more in commuter towns. And it’s likely that the demand for local retail and especially hospitality – pubs and restaurants and the like – in places such as St Albans, Harpenden and the villages will go up rather than down, despite recent trends towards internet shopping.
And the understanding of the fact that there really is a climate emergency has not gone away.
The switch from public transport to cars during the pandemic has not been helpful but we can hope that this is temporary.
Overall, people want to see action being taken about the environment: from small wins to big-ticket items such as electric vehicle programmes. They want to see more trees, the re-wilding of open spaces, more recycling, new local energy sources. Above all, they want to see new homes being energy efficient.
All of these can now be incorporated in the Liberal Democrats’ new local development plan, currently being drafted after its out-of-date predecessor was thrown out by the planning inspectors.
This will focus on the environment but also on how we can accommodate the government’s housing targets in a way that includes adequate provision of sustainable transport links, schools and NHS facilities.
And above all, in a way that makes the district an even greater place to live.
If you want to move forward to a new and better world, support the Liberal Democrats on 6 May.