Dean has consistently lobbied on behalf of Watford residents and commuters. From raising the Woodmere Avenue width restriction in Parliament to raising commuters concerns to the Prime Minister, successfully lobbying for a planning target freeze to a successful proposal for a new Abbey Line passing loop. Find out about Dean's activities below.
Standing Up For Our Town
From standing up for commuters through to campaigning local issues that matter such as the width restriction at Woodmere avenue, Dean has been very active representing local constituents.
Locally, planning and the need to preserve our town from overdevelopment is a top priority. There is rightly a need for affordable homes but this has to be balanced with effective planning policy locally. Dean has stood up for local people ensuring the Government put a freeze on planning numbers for Watford. He is also have been lobbying to help give communities a stronger voice against tall buildings that tower over the landscape.
The Conservatives promised to unite and level up the whole of the United Kingdom when they came to office and they have spread opportunity across the country. High speed rail and local services are integral parts of the commitment.
We have seen considerable investment in local services, and this is just as important to large scale infrastructure. The Prime Minister announced a £5 billion Local Transport Plan of new funding which is helping to transform buses, bikes, road and levelling up all parts of the country.
We are at the start of a decade of renewal and the new One Nation Government will deliver for the people as the People's Government.
The Government plans to make bus journeys easier, greener and more convenient for users.
The Government is also boosting investment in cycling. This will include over 250 miles of new, high-quality separated cycle routes and safe junctions in towns and cities across England, and dozens of new Mini-Holland schemes to transform town centres across the country and make them safer to get around.
We believe in the United Kingdom, and we will continue to invest in it. And, that way, we will unleash the full potential of this great country.
Taking Woodmere Avenue
With Restriction To Parliament
Dean Russell has been lobbying on behalf of residents frustrated with the width restriction at Woodmere Avenue since before he was elected.
Dean has been working with the County Council to secure a refreshed approach to the width restriction and in Parliament to argue that communities should have a greater say in decisions that impact the roads outside their house. This includes raising the matter to the Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg about how we can get pavement politics back into government and more recently holding an adjournment debate to raise concerns directly with the Transport Minister.
Dean stated that for too long, the Woodmere Avenue width restriction has created a risk of damage to all those passing through.
Watford's MP has said that change for local residents is one of his top priorities despite the coronavirus pandemic rightly dominating recent discussions and being the top priority over the past year.
Standing Up For Commuters
In PMQ's, Dean Russell MP lobbied on behalf of local commuters to raise concerns raised around the trains from Watford to London directly with the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
Shortly after the question Dean successfully lobbied for extra carriages on the main train line into London.
Dean Successfully Lobbies For A Freezes On Planning Target
Following a consultation launched in the summer that sought views from planners, councils and the wider public, the government has announced it will review the way it calculates Housing Targets and an updated method will be introduced that prioritises brownfield sites, delivers on the governments ‘levelling-up’ agenda and encourages the construction of more family homes.
The government wants to build 300,000 new homes across England each year by the mid-2020s, but a proposed algorithm to calculate targets was met with concern earlier this year. As a result, the Housing Secretary has today updated the proposed methodology.
Watford’s MP said:
"I believe that the Government must press on with its levelling up agenda. This government was elected on a mandate to give all Britons a real chance at a better life, and the opportunity of home ownership and security must be at the heart of this.
However, as I made clear in my response to the White Paper, Watford presents a unique challenge in that it is one of the most densely populated, but geographically small areas in England.
I know housing numbers have been a concern for many residents which is why I have met with Ministers and raised concerns directly with the Secretary of State many times this year to argue that any increase in housing targets in Watford would risk our town turning into little more than a commuter belt for London over the coming decades. After a year of making the case for Watford it is welcome news that Ministers have agreed not to add further pressure to our town and will focus on its levelling up agenda elsewhere in the country."
Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:
"This government wants to build more homes as a matter of social justice, for intergenerational fairness and to create jobs for working people. We are reforming our planning system to ensure it is simpler and more certain without compromising standards of design, quality and environmental protection.
The government is today encouraging councils to ensure that appropriate numbers of family homes come forward, with the right mix of home sizes, types and tenures for local communities."
Standing Up For Watford
Against Proposed London
Dean Russell MP took the lead with 23 MPs by writing to Sadiq Khan after he proposed a controversial Greater London boundary charge.
The proposed ‘border tax’ would see drivers paying between £3.50 and £5.50 a day to drive into the city from outside London.
A daily charge of £15 already exists for motorists entering the centre of the city.
Dean wrote to the London Mayor to highlight the damage his proposals would have on Watford residents, requiring drivers with vehicles registered outside London having to pay once they enter an outer borough such as Croydon, Enfield, Hillingdon and Havering.
The full letter is available opposite.
St Albans to Watford Passing Loop Success
Dean Russell collaborated with local stakeholders including the Abbey Flyer Users Group to submit a proposal to the Department for Transport to secure investment in the Abbey Line.
The bid made the case to ministers and officials in Whitehall that the project should progress to the next phase and receive financial support.
The project is part of the Government’s £500 million Restoring Your Railway Fund, to reopen many of the lines and stations that were closed in the 1960s – known as the Beeching cuts. The restoration of many of the Beeching lines is a core component of the Government agenda to invest in infrastructure to level up economic growth and opportunities across the whole country.
MPs were invited by Government to engage with local groups to apply for a share of £500 million committed by the Department to start re-opening rail lines and stations closed during the Beeching cuts and Dean worked with others to create a compelling proposal put together by the Abbey Flyer Users Group.
The Abbey Line is an important railway link running 6.5 miles between Watford Junction and St Albans Abbey station. As it currently runs every 45 minutes many continue to travel that route in their car, but anyone who drives that route will know how congested it can be during peak times. The train is a much quicker service but due to the infrequency it is not convenient.
The Abbey Line Passing Loop has been described by Hertfordshire County Council as amongst its most important transport needs with the Chairman of the Abbey Line Community Rail Partnership, County Councillor Derek Ashley saying in Final Report by The Railway Consultancy on the project,
"The improvement of services on the Abbey Line provides one of the important stepping stones to address the transport needs of current and future generations."
Mortgage Guarantee Scheme Announced
Dean has welcomed the government's announcement of a new mortgage guarantee scheme to support a new generation in realising the dream of home ownership.
The scheme will increase the availability of 95% Loan-to-value mortgage products, enabling more households to access mortgages without the need for prohibitively large deposits.
Dean commented "Enabling people across Watford to get their foot on the housing ladder is great news. We have families in Watford who have lived here for generations. Schemes such as this will ensure that will be the case for generations to come too."
For more information on the details of the announcement, visit the official page on .gov.uk with button below.
Dean is actively involved in the community and is leading local and national campaigns and initiatives to make a difference for people across Watford and around the UK. Use the links below to find out more. If you don't see something important to you, let Dean know via a quick community survey here.