Thursday, May 03, 2007

Hello and thanks for visiting

Here I hope you will be able to find out more about me and what I stand for, and see that I would make the best job of representing you in the Council. See 'In summary' for the short story and follow the links to the 'My pitch' articles for the long one! You can comment on any of the posts by clicking on the 'comments' link at the bottom right, and as long as the comments aren't too profane I will respond.

New posts will appear immediately below this one.

As there are 1844 households in the ward it won't be possible to speak to everybody before polling day (even if I am, at 42, clearly the youth candidate!), but I'll be putting out leaflets to every door and would encourage anyone that wishes to speak to me to give me a shout in passing, or by phoning 877119 and I can come and visit you.

As the campaign progresses I'll keep you posted here as to what's happening, and what people are saying.

If I have the opportunity to represent you I will apply the same diligence and thought to this as I have to all my work, and anybody who knows me can reassure you that I will not sit on my hands as a councillor. I hope you can vote for me on May 3rd, preferably number 1. Treat yourself!

Cheers
Steven

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steven

I'd be interested in your views on the recent aquisition of Garden House by the council. Is it a decision you would have supported ?

Cheers

DustJunkie

Anonymous said...

Hello Steven

I'm looking at the "About me" section of your site and I was having a look at the photo of youself. There was an option of "see full size" but the result of clicking on this would suggest that you are only around 14 inches high. Do you think it will be difficult for a man of your small stature to effectively represent the ward ?

Regards

Cinnamon Girl

Russell said...

Best wishes on your campaigning and election. I am sure your IT experience will come in useful!
Great idea to have a blog.
Do you have a RSS feed or have I missed it?

Russell said...

Found the RSS feed!
You can take that out of the last comment!
All Best

Steven Heddle said...

Good question DustJunkie.

I accept the argument that Garden House is a good investment that will give a better return than how the money was invested already, is a secure asset that will apreciate in value, and is an asset that is now secured in local control.

I don't agree with how NHS Orkney seem to be balancing their books with a fire sale before the end of the financial year, and that it was rushed through without the scrutiny of the full council, or without apparent evidence that the Council secured the best possible price for the buildings.

I think there is a misconception that money has been spent on these buildings, where it could have been spent on a care home. The money has not been spent so much as invested in a way that will provide a return that could help with the ongoing revenue costs of a care home (with the initial investment secured in the value of the buildings, which can be realised in the future if need be), rather than depleting the reserves by a capital investment on a care home that will incur revenue costs. And such revenue costs will be harder to afford if the reserves are depleted and no improved settlement from the Scottish Executive is forthcoming. As the capital for such projects seems to be available from other sources it seems sensible to use the reserves in a way that will provide an ongoing return.

However this latter argument must be explored by the council with no preconceptions. We should question whether the rainy days that our reserves were set by for are here now, and perhaps spend on quality projects or investments that will benefit future generations.

Community owned renewables are clearly things that could be considered.

Steven Heddle said...

Hi Cinnamon Girl

You have picked up on another side of my Action Man persona

Steven Heddle said...

Hi Russell
Thanks for the comments and good point about the RSS feed. There is an Atom feed, but it isn't obvious when using IE6 as your browser.

The URL of this feed is http://kirkwalleast.blogspot.com/atom.xml

I'll add a clickable graphic for it later.

Cheers
Steven

Anonymous said...

Steven, you were vocal about the Kirkwall traffic plans last year- what do you think of the latest version of the plans?

Steven Heddle said...

Anonymous, good to see you posting again!

Re. the plans, I'd love to see them and be able to offer to comment. It still looks as though Kirkwall is moving towards being built around an ugly bus station rather than a magnificent cathedral. Changes that had been promised to the community council and Town Centre Traders that would have allowed buses to leave the stances in both directions have been ignored and we can expect to see this used as a means of driving a one way system that we neither need nor want.

In this we have been badly let down by the existing councillors, as the consultation was meant to mean something after the shabby way the proposals emerged in the first place.

When we discussed this on Radio Orkney, Bob Sclater conceded that the 'Travel Centre' location consultation favoured the existing site but then shrugged and said 'But you know about consulation'! Well the same is happening again, but literally being set in concrete now before we can do something about it. Another aspect is the new taxi rank on West Castle Street, which has come as something of a surprise to the unconsulted residents of the street.

I recommend that you vote for me and I will fight to make sure that such things stop happening.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steven,

I would like to hear your views on 2 issues. (for a start anyway)..;-)

Firstly you in your litrature that, as an issue of immediate concern, "young people should have more facilities". Does this mean that the play areas in your prospective ward would get more equipment and better maintenence?

The second question is what is your opinion of a prospective tunnel under the Pentland Firth?. Could a project like this not rid us of an inefficent and costly ferry service, provide an ideal export conduit for energy generated from the huge potential of alternative energy. Provide cheaper transportation for local produce thereby opening opening up a far wider range of markets.

Or.....

Would something like that "spoil" Orkney by connecting us to the mainland, thereby deminishing our island status. Perhaps reduce the subsidies given out by central goverment because of our remote status, (although seemingly not as remote as the Western isle, or Shetland, and finally leave us open to hordes of illegal immigrants?...(yes, I do mean Wickers)....;-).

Steven Heddle said...

The 'more facilities for young people' statement is based on the lack of facilities for play or activity. This is even compared to when I was younger, with the demise of Costies, now Powerbowl, and removal of play equipment from the Bignold Park, King Haakon Street, Manse Road, and the Willows, imposition of 'No Ball Games' rules at places like Broadsands Road, and impossibility of playing on the road (not that it was ever a good idea). Also I've seen what is in place in Westray for the young people (The Hofn) and it seems an excellent facility.

More play equipment would be a part of this certainly, and as it is mainly a capital cost with little revenue implications, and as it ticks lots of activity agendas I don't see why this should not happen. Another aspect would be to see what can be done for teenagers- Walter Gorman is doing good stuff with the bands nights, and, in an ideal world where KGS was a community school in the current location, I would like to see its hall and stage etc available for use.

A further aspect of this is that the new housing developments are high on density but low on amenity and I would hope that equipped play areas could be incorporated as a condition of planning consent.

I'll come onto yout tunnel question later!

Steven Heddle said...

Regarding the idea of a tunnel under the Firth, I suppose it would enable easier, cheaper access (if it was free), but I think it would be a disater for Orkney. We would lose our local authority and Health Board, and create a lot of unemployment or relocation South. The outer isles would suffer as a consequence of control shifting south. The whole ethos would change with a more transient population, and crime would increase because there would the chance to get away with it, rather than having the 'border control' of limited ferry crossings.

The renewable energy export benefit doesn't come close to making up for any of this, and would the cable not need to be buried in the tunnel anyway, making it more costly than just laying one on the seabed?

So I say no to any Pentland Firth tunnel idea!