We Support Moorgate Action Group

Nothing brings communities together like a local issue. And there can be no better example of this in Tamworth than the uncertain future for the former Moorgate Primary School buildings on Hospital Street, The Leys.

The now vacant Victorian school premises, which form a key part of the Hospital Street Local Conservation Area, are under threat of disposal by their owners Staffordshire County Council (SCC).

Having been provided with a brand new two-storey school, built at the back of the existing school site – accessed via Moorgate and funded directly by the government during the school’s conversion to academy status – the school moved out of the Victorian buildings in 2015, leaving SCC with a headache; what to do with the old site?

Clearly, SCC doesn’t want to maintain empty buildings when they are short of funding in these times of Tory austerity, so are seeking to dispose of the site. But how should this be done?

MAGLogoEnter Moorgate Action Group (MAG) who think the buildings need to stay intact (certainly externally unchanged) and reused, preferably for the good of the whole of Tamworth as much-needed community spaces.

As MAG state on their website, Tamworth has lost many local community venues due to redevelopment and sale leaving the town short of appropriate and affordable places to deliver community-led services.

Tamworth Greens are proud to support MAG and their initiative to have the site reused for the benefit of the people of Tamworth and have now included a link to their campaign from our ‘Issues’ list (see main menu).

We hope that you support them too!


Congratulations to Jeremy Corbyn: an open letter to Tamworth Labour Party

Dear friends,

We would like to offer you our heartfelt congratulations on the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party.

Jeremy is a conviction politician and a man of principle with whose views we have much in common. We look forward, now, to Labour returning to its roots as a social movement campaigning in the best interests of ordinary people.

It is with that in mind that we would like to suggest that, where we now have agreement, we explore ways of working together on the issues and campaigns affecting the people of Tamworth.

We think these should include:

  • opposition to the austerity measures which are fuelling the growth in food banks;
  • support for our hospitals in the face of ongoing cuts, ward closures and privatisation of services;
  • campaigning for high quality, affordable housing to meet very real local needs.

We would also add, especially given the voting records of local Tory MPs including Christopher Pincher:

  • the threat of ‘fracking’ in the County
  • the need to defend the legislation outlawing fox-hunting which was brought in by a previous Labour government.

So, whilst we will continue to maintain our independence, particularly at the ballot box, we do wish Jeremy all the very best and look forward to a fruitful collaboration with his colleagues locally.

Tamworth Green Party

Hopwas Woods – Swift Victory

Tamworth Green Party welcomes the news that LaFarge Tarmac has withdrawn its application for permission to quarry in Hopwas Woods, in the face of a massive campaign by local people to protect the woods.

We would like to congratulate the Friends of Hopwas Wood and the hundreds of local people who stood up to be counted and showed we are not prepared to see our environment trashed in the pursuit of corporate greed.

In particular, Sean of the Save Hopwas Woods campaign on Facebook got a lot of people mobilised very quickly and really was the moving force behind the public outcry. Sean organized the initial and largest response – over 12,000 people “liked” the Facebook page.

However, we must remain very vigilant: as we made clear in our original statement on this issue, the government is currently pushing the Infrastructure Bill through Parliament which will effectively remove the right of local communities to stop developments of this kind, by enabling “surplus” public land (in other words owned by the government or other public bodies) to be sold for development without any consultation or protection of access rights or rights of way. This legislation will also remove landowners’ and householders’ right to prevent fracking taking place underneath their property.

This is a political issue and the Conservative government has a terrible record of tipping the balance of planning controls away from protection and towards further economic development that will boost corporate profits but cause real damage to important habitats and to everyone’s quality of life.

Hopwas Woods Plans: Our Position

Many of Tamworth’s residents have been stunned by the recent announcement on the proposed future for Hopwas Woods.

Simon Johnson – Tamworth and District Green Party Secretary – makes our position clear in this statement below.

There is no justification for LaFarge Tarmac’s application to destroy Hopwas Hayes Wood through quarrying and Tamworth Green Party supports the many local people who have leapt to the defence of this ancient woodland.

Not only does Staffordshire’s Minerals Local Plan already include sufficient sites to meet the county’s requirements for sand and gravel production, the company are completely – and no doubt deliberately – misrepresenting the definition of ancient woodland, to play down the impact of this proposed development.

Make no mistake – Hopwas Woods is ancient woodland, even if it includes an area damaged by fire in 1976: the point about ancient woodland is not the age of individual trees but the nature of the irreplaceable habitat, which is essential to the local area’s bio-diversity.

The company is also quoted in news reports as claiming the quarry site will only affect 20% of the woodland area, when plans clearly show it will affect considerably more than that.

One of the claims made is that the proposed quarry will create jobs. Whilst the Green Party welcomes the creation of employment opportunities, these always need to be balanced against the harm done and, in this case, the loss of such a rare and important habitat does not justify any economic or employment case. Jobs could also be created by making the most of the habitat management and leisure potential of the site – jobs which would not cost the earth.

The environment around Tamworth faces immense threats from all sides, such as the wholesale destruction of important and beautiful sites by the HS2 White Elephant and the government’s insane drive to increase our dependence on fossil fuels through fracking and other unconventional extraction methods. Destroying one of the remaining environmental and community land assets would be a crime.

We are pleased that Tamworth MP,  Chris Pincher is also getting behind the campaign to save the woods but don’t be fooled – the Conservative government’s fingerprints are all over this kind of corporate vandalism. The government’s Infrastructure Bill proposes that ”surplus” public land can be sold off without consultation or consideration of rights of way. As Hopwas Woods are jointly owned by the Ministry of Defence, this land is very vulnerable to being sold from under our noses to Lafarge Tarmac and used for quarrying, without local people having any chance to object.

We would urge everyone to object to these proposals through the County Council’s website – the Friends of Hopwas Woods have produced an excellent short newsletter explaining how to object and the arguments to make.

But also think very carefully before you vote in next year’s General Election. One of David Cameron’s many lies in 2010 was his claim to lead the greenest government ever. The government’s new planning guidance will lead to more ‘Hopwas Woods’ across the country being destroyed in the pursuit of corporate greed and we will all pay the price in the long run.

Useful links related to this article:

An Alternative Autumn Statement 2012: Greens reject coalition’s self-defeating economic programme

The Green Party is calling for positive economic policies instead of the Coalition’s dogmatic, self-perpetuating and failed “cut at all costs” approach.

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said: “We reject this government’s self-defeating and contradictory approach of trying to cut its way to growth while providing tax giveaways to large corporations, including environmentally and socially destructive fossil fuel companies.

And we reject its inhuman and inhumane pressure on the poorest in society – households with members in work and those without – with non-pensioner benefits restricted to real-term decreases (below inflation, 1% increases) for the next three years. That’s £3.7bn being squeezed from people whose lives are often already insecure and desperate.

One certainty George Osborne has ensured is that the foodbank “industry” is going to become a permanent feature in Coalition Britain, the world’s seventh-wealthiest economy.”

“Britain needs to invest in environmentally-positive, jobs-creating policies, rather than using the UK’s historically unremarkable debt to GDP ratio to justify slashing state expenditure and further tax cuts for the wealthiest”, Ms Bennett said.

“A Green government would immediately invest the £4bn windfall from the 4G phone spectrum auction and the £35 billion quantitative easing surplus to create jobs in low-carbon infrastructure and in sectors such as renewable energy, energy-efficiency, low-carbon finance and manufacturing and in our contracting construction sector. The Green New Deal group has called for green quantitative easing to fund solar PV, insulation and other efficiency schemes that could create 140,000 jobs.

“Despite Osborne’s best efforts to hold them back, green industries are already providing essential goods and services that we need – from insulation to clean power from wind turbines – having contributed over 9% of UK GDP in 2011 – yet they retain enormous job creation potential.”

The Green Party would  ‘reboot’ the tax system to ensure that wealthy individuals and multinational companies pay their fair share, levelling the playing field for small businesses that are currently paying their taxes and struggling to compete against the tax-avoiding business giants.

Ms Bennett said: “Our reformed tax system would replace council tax and business rates with a land value tax, a wealth tax to recover some of the gains from those who benefited from the boom years and have surfed unscathed through the bust. Furthermore, we would end tax relief on private pensions, putting the savings into a Citizens’ Pension that would immediately lift all pensioners out of poverty.

There’d be a financial transaction tax to discourage casino-style financial trading, moves to force transparency in the books of multinational corporations and a genuine, effective crackdown on tax avoidance.

And it is difficult to have faith in the Chancellor’s announcement of new infrastructure projects, as his government announced a similar scheme in 2010, which has actually delivered a decrease in spending on construction. The government has also delivered just £750m of a £5bn expenditure it promised for public works at last year’s Autumn Statement.”

Ms Bennett added: “In recreating the failed PFI schemes of the last Labour government, this government is repeating its predecessor’s mistakes and announcing headline projects that are unlikely to be delivered. According to the Office for National Statistics, we already have future PFI liabilities of £144bn. Renegotiations that have saved £2.5bn are small beer in comparison.”

“A Green government would provide genuine government investment in the new schools and transport infrastructure that we need. What we don’t need is spending on new roads, an action shown to simply move congestion from one place to another.”