5 Key Questions: Federica Smith to the Worcester News

Here, the Lib Dem PPC for Worcester Federica Smith answers 5 key questions put to her by readers of the Worcester News:

How do we solve the city’s congestion problems?

I am surprised that, with the population of the city and with it being served by two motorway junctions and various main roads (including bus lanes) running through it, the city currently has no large-scale park and ride scheme in operation.

In order to change people’s habit and lifestyle, public transport needs to be accessible, including in financial terms, and operate seven days a week for long hours with commuters being able to park out of town.

Congestion is also apparent during the school run, so improved and subsidised transport to schools could also assist in alleviating the problem.

Reopening of the Perdiswell Park and Ride scheme would look to alleviate the commuter and visitor-caused congestion, though other initiatives need to be implemented, including better cycle routes and cycle storage facilities to allow a sustainable alternative.

What is your biggest concern for Worcester?

The biggest concern that I see for Worcester is the large- scale developments planned without the necessary infrastructure to support them.

By implementing mass housing development without holistically looking at the whole picture and the impact that this has on services (traffic, schools, healthcare services, etc), this development will have a detrimental impact on the current residents.

While housing will increase the population and look to grow the local economy, and while bearing in mind that there are areas for commercial development within the plan, one must be wary that the city does not become sedentary and just a commuter development for other cities, e.g. Bristol, Birmingham.

The city should be proud of its heritage and what its individual selling point is.

It should attract business to the area so that jobs are created in the city, and it should develop the high street so that it has a unique selling point with a mixture of national retail and independent shops.

All this would allow the city to thrive.

Is the answer to Worcestershire Royal Hospital’s challenges an upgrade of A&E?

The staff at A&E are doing the best job that they can do in a building that was never designed to see the number of patients that are currently using the facilities.

An upgrade of A&E is only part of the answer, but would help to alleviate the strains that are currently being faced.

However, this needs to go hand in hand with other healthcare initiatives around the city and surrounding region.

Investments in GP surgeries, so more unsocial hours are covered so that individuals can see their GP for minor ailments, and minor injuries facilities in locations throughout the city would both assist in helping to tackle the challenges.

Is it worth campaigning over Worcester’s Northern Link Road?

The development of the Northern Link Road is estimated to cost more than £100 million and it has to be considered whether the cost of implementing such a scheme would alleviate the problems of congestion and would it be the best use of such a large sum of money.

For this reason, I support the current emphasis on improving the southern bypass first.

A Northern Link Road would impact many people’s lives, cutting through large swathes of land, altering the countryside surrounding the city and having an impact on the environment.

All of this would, of course, need to be weighed up against what it is ultimately trying to achieve.

Is there – and should there be – an alternative to the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP)?

Any development plan will have contentious issues in it for the residents directly affected.

However, a plan needs to be in place so developers are not completely left to their own control and not allowed to build just anywhere, and so that the growth of the city is managed from a bird’s eye view, with infrastructure put in place to support it.

Article taken from Worcester News

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Letter to Worcester News – Published March 2015

Below is a letter published on the Worcester News website a couple of weeks ago. Written by Adam Warner it highlights the positive contribution made to government by the Liberal Democrats.

The Conservatives don’t seem too keen to promote their record in government – hence the highly negative campaign. Liberal Democrats are proud of their record in government and will continue to highlight this over the course of our positive general election campaign.

Sir – Over the last government, the Liberal Democrats have been much maligned. The coalition with the Conservatives and the tuition fees saga has damaged the party’s reputation. However, it cannot be denied that they’ve made a worthwhile contribution over the last 5 years.

Only now are we seeing the true extent of the Tory’s plans. £30bn of cuts; £13bn of which from welfare will do unnecessary damage to those most vulnerable. This would have happened already had it not been for the Lib Dems, anchoring Cameron and Osborne to a more central position.

Additionally, the party have punched above their weight in terms of passing legislation. With only 9% of the seats in the legislature you would think it would be a small percentage of Lib Dem policies becoming law.

Not so – from the pupil premium to raising the tax threshold for the lowest earners and ensuring equal funding for mental health, the Lib Dems have done well.

Some of these are long-term policies – ones of which we shall bear the fruit of in years to come, but for me a moderating influence in Britain is required. That is why the Lib Dems should be given a chance in May.

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Press Release to the Worcester News on PPC Federica Smith

“Worcester Liberal Democrats are delighted to announce the selection of Councillor Federica Smith as their Parliamentary Candidate for the General Election.

Federica has been promoted through the ranks at health insurer WPA, and now works as a Customer Service Manager.  She lives with her two young children and partner, Llyr in Taunton, Somerset.

Federica says  “I am delighted to have been chosen as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Worcester.  I am keen to promote the values that I hold dear.

Mike Mullins, chair of Worcester Liberal Democrats said:

Federica has tremendous experience, both in her work and politically.  She worked closely with former Foreign and Home Office Minister  Jeremy Browne, and fought campaigns of her own.  We are delighted to welcome such a talented young woman on board.

Federica