13 April 2013
During a packed afternoon and evening, Natalie first joined candidates and supporters at Witham railway station to highlight the Green's support for more investment in rail and for better services. She then toured Witham and nearby villages to view local issues including the need to protect local greenspaces at Bellfield and near Helen Court (The Gimsons land) in Witham, empty shops in Witham town centre, converting disused offices for affordable housing in Witham, reducing speed limits along rural roads in The Notleys, road safety in Silver End and development pressures on Rivenhall.
A selection of images from the day are available on Facebook at Essex Green Party.
In the evening Natalie Bennett and James Abbott, Green candidate for Witham Northern division, launched the Manifesto at a very well attended meeting at Spring Lodge Community Centre in Witham, followed by a Q and A session that lasted for over an hour.
The Green Party is standing full slates of candidates in all but 3 districts and boroughs in Essex and overall will have candidates standing in a record 88% of seats in Essex. There is 63% coverage of seats in Eastern Region (Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Herts, Cambs).
Key Green policies for Essex centre on getting a better service for residents from Essex County Council and securing reform for an authority widely seen as out-of-touch.
The Greens are also highlighting the fact that May 2nd will be a local election. The County Council deals with important services including Education, Social Care and Highways - the latter a key issue in Essex where road and path maintenance standards have been widely criticised.
Green Councillors elected on May 2nd will work across party lines to achieve real reform at County Hall where at most meetings the public cannot even ask questions, where the Conservatives allowed Lord Hanningfield to abuse public money for years with 'trips' abroad and big spending on hotels and wining and dining - and where senior councillors get the highest allowances in East Anglia.
In 2011/12, five senior Tories enjoyed in excess of £50,000 each in allowances and expenses.
The Green Party 5 point plan to reform and improve Essex County Council:
Download the full Green Party Manifesto for Essex (PDF)