The Adver is featuring the candidates standing for election to Swindon Borough Council in the poll on May 5. Today, we meet the candidates for Freshbrook & Grange Park, Gorse Hill & Pinehurst, Haydon Wick, Highworth and Moredon.
FRESHBROOK AND GRANGE PARK Defending their seat Michael James Dickinson (Conservative) IN THEIR OWN WORDS: A Freshbrook and Grange Park councillor for six years I have helped deliver many improvements. Millbrook Primary School has been built and new play grounds have been opened. Freshbrook Community Centre has been re-opened and sport has been enhanced by the building of three new G3 Astroturf pitches at the Link Centre and a full size G3 Astroturf pitch at Greendown School. On a larger scale, Lydiard Park restoration is complete and Shaw Forest is growing wonderfully. If you elect me I promise to oppose development on Hook Street and adjacent to Lydiard Park, campaign to bring more jobs to Swindon.
Challenging: Neil Heavens (Labour) IN THEIR OWN WORDS: I have lived in Freshbrook and Grange Park for nearly 18 years. An environmentalist by conviction and practice, I choose not to drive a car and prefer to rely on cycling or public transport to go about my business. As someone who lives locally, I will work hard to improve the cleanliness and general appearance of the area and campaign against encroaching development and the threatened Hook Street development. I will also defend public services, such as the Sure Start Centre in Gainsborough Way, against severe and unnecessary Conservative cuts.
John Lenton (UKIP) IN THEIR OWN WORDS: My name is John Lenton and I have lived in Freshbrook & Grange Park area for nearly seven years. I have spent 12 years in the Army, in the 1st Battalion Worcestershire & Sherwood Forester Regiment. I will work hard to improve the cleanliness and appearance of the local area and campaign for Freshbrook & Grange Park Community Centre to be revamped. I also intend to campaign for more money to be spent on maintaining social housing. I am also campaigning on anti-social behaviour, graffiti, fly tipping, criminal damage / vandalism, drugs, and litter in verges and on footpaths.
Heidi Teague (Lib Dem) PARTY PROFILE: She also has campaigned over the years against graffiti, litter, speed humps, traffic congestion, youth facilities and old age pensioner issues. Heidi’s priorities are trying to resolve the continued dangerous condition of the road and pavement surfaces in Freshbrook and Grange Park, the continued lack of free youth facilities, urgent public transport issues for the whole of West Swindon – there are no direct buses from West Swindon to anywhere other than Swindon itself. Planning and placement of mobile masts within Freshbrook and Grange Park.
GORSEHILL AND PINEHURST Defending their seat: John Ballman (Labour) PARTY PROFILE: John Ballman has lived in the Gorse Hill and Pinehurst area for nearly 40 years. John is an experienced councillor having served on planning housing, licensing and appeals committees. He is a member of the Clivey management committee. As the sitting councillor for the last few years John has worked to deliver improvements to both Gorse Hill and Pinehurst working with council officers and members of the community on the design and delivery of new play areas and highway improvements in both Gorse Hill and Pinehurst and the soon to be completed new community centre in Pinehurst.
Challenging: Lynda Barber (Lib Dem) IN THEIR OWN WORDS: I served on the North Wilts District Council and Chippenham Town Council. I live in Gorse Hill and have a real interest in what happens here and in the surrounding area. I am a member of a tenants association and a member of the Housing Advisory Forum working with the council on behalf of tenants. I believe it is the job of local councillors to look at the problems and with the help of the community do something about them the coming closure of nationwide is an example of where councillors need to take a lead. If elected I will fight for the people of Gorse Hill and Pinehurst all year round.
Reg Bates (BNP) IN THEIR OWN WORDS: I’m proud to be standing as a candidate this election after years of being involved with local politics and look forward to offering voters a real alternative, which opposes austerity cutbacks to essential services or any more taxes wasted on getting us into debt for things we never actually wanted.
Robin Tingey (UKIP) IN THEIR OWN WORDS: I have lived and worked in Swindon for 15 years as an electronic engineer, and spent the past seven years living in Pinehurst. I remember the Pinehurst People’s Centre and Pinetrees old peoples home, both of which have been redeveloped. I want Pinehurst to be a better place to live. I often shop in Gorse Hill. I find two wheels is often the best way to get around Swindon. I joined UKIP because we are losing control of our country to a European Superstate stage-managed by bureaucrats.
Wendy Jayne Welch (Conservative) IN THEIR OWN WORDS: I am proud to live in the area and I know the strong community spirit that exists here. I have been actively involved with Swindon Council for several years as a tenant volunteer working on community projects, Housing, benefits, Street Smart, recycling, Disability Adaptations, Housing information Fayres, neighbourhood wardens and the new housing developments. If elected I want to work with the local community to continue to make sure services are provided for the disabled and vulnerable people, keep our streets clean and safe places to be, free from litter, graffiti and fly tipping.
Standing down: Ian Dobie (Conservatives) HAYDON WICK Standing for election: Claire Ann Ellis (Conservative) IN THEIR OWN WORDS: I have lived in and around the Haydon Wick area for most of my life. We took a lead on major local issues such as flood alleviation, working with Thames Water and the Environment Agency to deliver the much-needed improvements. If elected, I will continue the agenda of positive action to improve our roads, change the Haydon Brook, increase the number of school places, improve services for our older and more vulnerable residents, and tackle street scene issues such as graffiti, litter and fly-tipping.
Ed Gerrard (UKIP) IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Over the past 10 years I have been appalled by the change in emphasis in Swindon Council from providing the basic services for its residents to grandiose projects not requested by the electorate. Swindon councillors and their executives constantly moan about the lack of funds for essential front line services yet they have found increasing sums of money to fund their own allowances, and salaries of council executives. Swindon councillors should be looking at their municipal and personal expenditure and make cuts within the town hall bureaucracy.
Tim Martin Page (Labour) IN HIS OWN WORDS: My desire to serve the people of Swindon has been fuelled by the incompetent and arrogant misrule of the Tory councillors who are currently in power and out of control. They are spoiling this great town. Their record is a dismal list of failures from the canal feasibility fiasco to the wi-fi scandal their shameful handling of the health care workers in Social Service, the town centre redevelopment and the now the money pit the privately owned Mechanics Institute is becoming.
David Pajak (Lib Dem) PARTY PROFILE: David wants more people involved in local decision making and the end of the crazy cabinet system. The alternate vote referendum on the same day presents a real chance to change politics for good. David is also very concerned about the lack of transparency on Swindon Borough Council. The way the council took the decision over the failing wi-fi scheme is a case in point. Local councils only work where they are democratic. Where very few people are involved in decisions and it has very little scrutiny the decisions tend to be bad ones. David supports giving power to communities rather than jealously guarding power in the council offices.
Standing down: Mel Duff (Conservative) HIGHWORTH Standing for election: Anthea Beaumont (Labour) PARTY PROFILE: Anthea Beaumont has lived in Highworth for over 35 years. Anthea has always been very involved in church and community activities in Highworth including helping to organise various successful festivals, writing for ‘Link’ and being the town’s poet laureate in 2010, and is a trustee of the new Highworth Community Centre which is housed in the old Northview School. If elected she will work hard to ensure that care services in Highworth do not suffer from government cuts, that the youth services in the town get the full support of the borough council, that the green spaces around the town are protected and that there is adequate funding to enable the recreational and cultural life of the town to flourish.
Alan John Bishop (Conservative) IN THEIR OWN WORDS: I have lived in Highworth for 47 years. I have served on the Highworth Town Council for 16 years, including one year as the Mayor. Since 1970 I have been owner of Highworth Driving Academy and I am a part-time lecturer at New College. I was a founder member and first Chair of Highworth Twinning Association and have always had a commitment to Highworth life through various charities and festivals. If elected, I will work tirelessly to help improve the quality of life in Highworth. My particular priorities include: fighting to keep Pentylands Park remaining a green area; supporting the Conservative Borough and Town Council’s efforts to save the Highworth Rec; tackling graffiti, litter and vandalism; and championing our vital local services and facilities, so essential to our local Highworth community.
Andrew Donald Day (Green) IN THEIR OWN WORDS I have lived in Highworth with my partner, Linda, for more than nine years, and work as a computer programmer in Swindon. Locally, I am active in Swindon Animal Concern. The Swindon area needs Green councillors to protect precious amenities such as Coate Water. A university in Swindon would be a good thing, but it would benefit both the town and students more if it were located in the town centre rather than on a green field site. It is Green policy to support sustainable, low-impact technology such as Westmill wind farm, and to promote recycling, public transport, energy efficiency and organic farming.
Jenny Shorten (Lib Dem) PARTY PROFILE: Jenny, 56, has lived in Highworth for 32 years and is a former town councillor there. Jenny wants to see proper provision for affordable housing locally so people who want to live in the town have the chance to do so. She welcomes the new developments at the Rec, but is worried that there is still not enough for young people to do in the town.
She wants to encourage local employment including a good range of retail outlets and businesses for people to support.
Jenny believes local representatives should listen to and speak up for the communities and for the services they believe are important. If elected, she will stand up for what is needed in Highworth, including against the Conservative controlled council.
MOREDON Defending their seat: Jenny Millin (Labour) PARTY PROFILE: As a local government worker for over 25 years I have an insider understanding of how local government operates for the society it serves. So as your local Labour candidate I know I can make an impact on improving the environment and quality of life for the residents of Moredon and the people of Swindon, and I am looking forward to continue working together with you to ensure we not only protect, but also improve our community. Like you I am also very deeply concerned about the Tory led savage cuts now being imposed on the most vulnerable in our community, and especially the real threat that our NHS is now facing from the Tory obvious aspirations to privatise, by their ‘back door’ policies.
Challenging: Toby Lewis Elliott (Conservative) IN THEIR OWN WORDS: The Conservatives have delivered real improvements for local residents and secured vital facilities like Moredon Library, safeguarding it for the future. ‘Quality of Life’ issues, like graffiti, parking and anti-social behaviour, remain top of the agenda. Under the Conservatives, the catchment area of the new Academy has been extended to include Moredon, funding has been secured for the new Children’s Centre, and a school safety zone has been introduced outside Moredon Primary School. I pledge to work to improve Moredon’s Council houses and to support the popular Housing Fairs. Helping the more vulnerable members of our community will be one of my top priorities.
Tracy Ockley (Lib Dem) PARTY PROFILE: Tracy, 42, brought up two children in the area as a single mother. She worked in the local community as a Community Support Worker, caring for the elderly.
Tracy was a teaching assistant at a local school and was a school governor for ten years at Pinehurst Junior School. Tracy supports local Libraries and was attracted to the Liberal Democrats for campaigning against their closure. Libraries are important community places for older people, families and children. They are a place of learning and also of social interaction. Our branch library service is very economical to run and should be protected. Tracy is concerned with local issues for the young and education.
Kathy Webb (UKIP) PARTY PROFILE: Kathy Webb has lived in Moredon with her husband Ray for many years and is retired. Kathy wants our government and our council to put British people first.