Stephen Lovatt

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About Stephen Lovatt

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  • Birthday 06/06/1958

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    Physics, Philosophy, Poetry, Politics,
    Theology, Horticulture, Cycling,
    Science Fiction,
    Swords-and-Sorcery Role Playing Games.
  1. The British Heart Foundation is opening a huge new store on Coronation Square. They need good quality goods to sell - so please think about if you have anything suitable to donate - and they are looking for volunteers to staff the store. This could be a huge boost for Coronation Square. Please support this most welcome initiative.
  2. The opinions I am reported to have expresssed are my own provisional ideas and do not represent either my fixed views nor Conservative Party policy. My main purpose in starting the petition was to instigate a discussion, which is what I have acheived - with more success than I had expected! The main arguments against a residents parking scheme are: 1. Such schemes typically do little more than move the problem from one location to another. They treat symptoms rather than underlying causes. 2. Someone has to pay for their enforcement - either local residents themselves or the Council Tax payer in general. I have asked to speak with someone at GCHQ, but as yet have been ignored. Two minor technical corrections: 1. My title is Dr not Mr, not that I mind unduly. 2. Shaun was not the previous councillor for the ward, he was the previous Conservative candidate - he lost the 2016 election, sadly.
  3. Residents often find it hard to find a place close to their home to park their cars in the vicinity of GCHQ. Recently a resident permit based parking scheme has been introduced around Cheltenham Spa railway station. This has had a beneficial impact on the neighbourhood. "We the undersigned petition the council to introduce a resident permit parking scheme in the area delineated by the A40, Fiddler’s Green Lane, Marsland Road and Princess Elizabeth Way."
  4. I wish that I could read this story, but it seems to have been deleted!
  5. After attending the Cheltenham West Vision Central Area Consultation today, I would like to put some concrete ideas and proposals on the record. There should be a better use of already existent local resources. Various agencies and initiatives – such as “Create on the Square”, “Family Space”, “Hester’s Way Community Fund”, “Your Space” and “The Conservation Volunteers” – should be actively promoted by Cheltenham Borough Council. Local faith groups should be invited to make proposals as to how they could engage more substantially and effectively with the neighbourhood. Better use could be made of the sports and arts facilities of the Oasis Centre – and of Gloucestershire College: opening them up more to the public in the evenings and weekends. Neighbourhood Watch schemes should promoted. I believe that, at present, there is not even one scheme active in the area. A drugs and alcohol rehabilitation service – such as FRANK, Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous – should be based in the area. Pates Grammar School should be encouraged to increase its outreach to local residents and to maximise the number of locals in its intake. Eleven-plus tuition should be provided for the children of residents in an “after school club” – and this should be free for all children qualifying for free school meals. There should be a Cheltenham Festival of Community, in which local novelists, poets, historians, painters, sculptors, actors, dancers, gymnasts, musicians... are invited to showcase their work. This should not be dominated by those who are the established Great and Good; but opened up to newcomers, so as break-down the barriers to entry that can be experienced by those without an established reputation. The Coronation Square area should be seen as a resource and an opportunity rather than an embarrassment and a problem. It is ideally positioned to be the centre of the neighbourhood, and has a substantial car-park. Cheltenham Borough Council should exempt all traders in Coronation Square from paying business rates for an indefinite period. Moreover, market traders should not have to pay any fee to set up a stall there. A restaurant and a Post Office would be welcome additions to the area. A Tesco Express, Co-Op or the like would be good also. Some kind of Arts Centre – incorporating a theatre – would be wonderful. Young people – most especially teenage boys and young men – need somewhere to socialise and “do stuff”. There is a crying need for a Youth Centre of some kind and a gymnasium. A coffee-shop which doubles-up as a war-game, role playing game and/or board-game venue might work. There is a place like this in Oxford called “Thirsty Meeples”. Better and larger rubbish bins should be provided. The horticultural tubs should be de-littered, topped-up with compost and populated with plants as soon as possible. CCTV cameras should be placed on the square and linked directly to the Police Station. Notices stating that the consumption of alcohol is banned should be placed in the square, just as they already exist in other places in the borough.
  6. Dear Alex, It struck me that this was the only responsible course of action. I have just received a briefing from the previous Conservative candidate, which was very helpful. In particular he brought the problem of car-parking and traffic congestion to my attention. I attended the "Cheltenham West Consultation" last Tuesday. I was expecting to be there for only thirty minutes or so. My main purpose was to find out what other people felt and thought about the area. I was pleasently surprised when I was almost pinned down and interrogated by the people organising the event for well over an hour. I said that I thought it was somewhat impertinent for me to push my own views at present, because I was not yet sufficiently informed; but the conversation which ensued was very fruitful in generating quite a few ideas, I will post a summary of these elsewhere. Regards, Stephen
  7. Apart from anything else, State schools come under the County Council - not the Borough Council. That is no excuse for Conservatives not to comment as I believe that the County is Tory led - unlike Cheltenham borough! I have made my comment, for what it's worth!
  8. Dear Joe, I think that encouraging people to take (legal) action themselves rather than waiting for some official to act is a very good thing. Congtaulatons on the success of your litter inititiative. I agree that resident's groups are a good thing. I am not aware of any such thing existing in any part of Hester's Way. I have had a good meeting with "Hesters Way Partnership". The formal powers and responsibility of borough councilors are very restricted n owadays. The best thing that a borough councilor can do - it seems to me - is to be an advocate for the neighbourhood that elects them. Regards, Stephen
  9. Personally, I am furious. School uniform is an important contributor to ethos and identity and discipline; but this is setting the cart before the horse. It seems to me that schools are making utterly unreasonable demands of parents these days. When I was a pupil, school uniform was expensive enough; but no-one had any difficulty in getting it - not even those from the most disadvantaged families. The story is not about a school in the ward I will be contesting, hence I did not comment on it of my own initiative - but as you asked my opinion, I have given it.
  10. This was an excellent result.
  11. The basis for a regeneration and renewal of West Cheltenham must be those people who live there. We are a diverse group of folk from many walks of life. We must come together as one community, bearing each other’s burdens and sharing in each other’s successes and joys. The true foundation of society is friendship and we must seek to develop collaborative networks of people who genuinely care for each other. “Neighbourhood Watch” schemes can be a good skeleton on which to grow the substance of true fellowship. We can make our neighbourhood just as vibrant a place as we want it to be – if only we put in the effort and refuse to be discouraged. In all things, efficient use of money is a key consideration. There is no point in devoting time and resources on complaining that the money available to spend is insufficient for the task at hand. It is important to “work smart” and strive to achieve the most that can be achieved with the resources available. It is often possible to make a real difference without spending any money, just by looking at a situation with fresh eyes and realizing that there is a better way of doing things: what might first be perceived as a problem can be re-imagined as an opportunity for growth and development. It is important not to meddle where these is no need. There is a great tendency for politicians and activists to “fix” things that weren’t broken in the first place: and in doing so make things worse. Many worthy initiatives which sound sensible have unintended negative consequences that far outweigh the hoped-for benefits. Wishful thinking is no substitute for prudence and evidence-based decision making. Healthy development is founded first and foremost on the conservation of what is already established and functional. Change is always unsettling and disruptive, and should only be initiated when there is a clear advantage to be gained – but change should be swift and decisive whenever injustice comes to light. Much excellent work has been done in the recent past. Almost all of it has been community led rather than politician driven: and that is the way things should be. The energy and enthusiasm I have encountered in my meetings with a number of community leaders has inspired me with hope for the future of the area. In particular, “Family Space” – based in the Oasis Centre – has established itself as a powerful force for good in our midst. Education is key to the uplift of any population. We are blessed with Pates Grammar school and the FE College in our midst. These are valuable community assets. Everything possible should be done to maximize the engagement of both Pates and the College with our young people. It is desirable that the proportion of Pates’ pupils coming from West Cheltenham should be increased. It is not right that the best state-funded education is restricted to those whose parents are able to afford private coaching. One obvious initiative would be the provision of free 11-plus tuition services to students in receipt of free school meals, if volunteers could be identified to support such work. When it comes to building new homes, we must recognize that there is a large shortage of housing in our country, and especially of “affordable” housing. To address this problem realistically, it will be necessary to build on sites which – In an ideal world – we might prefer to leave as agricultural, or even “wild”. I fully sympathize with those who dislike the idea of the view from their windows being compromised by the construction of new houses; but sadly that is the price to be paid for a burgeoning population. Unless we build very many new houses, our young people will have nowhere to live. It is, of course, vital that all construction is planned carefully and sensitively so as to minimize the negative impact on existing residents while maximizing the benefits by incorporating pubic resources such as parks, play areas, shops and meeting venues. After years of gradual decline it is time for a new vision for West Cheltenham. We must hunt down and eradicate resignation, complacency and corruption wherever they lurk. We must change the story we tell about our place, making it one of hope, self-help, enterprise and achievement. I enthusiastically welcome the community consultation that has been initiated and funded by national government and urge everyone to get involved. I know what it is like to feel that “no-one cares about what I think”, but you must not let bureaucrats and experts cow you into silence. This is your chance to have your say and to be heard: do not let it escape you. Dr Stephen Lovatt Prospective Conservative Candidate for "Hester’s Way" ward in the 2018 Cheltenham Borough Council Election
  12. I'm not sure that/how it is possible to comment on the Echo's Website. The Echo has already publicized my petition. I have sent in a number of letters to the paper.
  13. I hope to be replacing one of those LibDem councilors soon. The Cheltenham political establishment is complacent and it is TIME FOR A CHANGE.
  14. All that I am asking for is for notices to be posted. At present it is not an offense to drink there unless warned that one is being a nuicsence - and only a Police Officer or Council Official has the authority to do this: hence the whole policy is a nonsense.