Saturday, 25 March 2017

Romsey County Council elections

As you may be aware, I’ll be a candidate in the County Council elections in May for Romsey division. As your candidate, I think it’s important that voters have information on who’s on the ballot paper so that you can make an informed decision at the ballot box.

Who am I?
I live on Hobart Road (the Coleridge Road section). I grew up in Newcastle, and came to Cambridge as a student at Homerton College in 2004, studying Computer Science. After graduating in 2007, I got a job with a software company on the Business Park just south of Milton, and I now work as a senior software engineer for a software company based in West Cambridge, next to the Cavendish Lab. I lived in the city centre after graduating, and moved to Hobart Road in 2010.

I first joined the Liberal Democrats in 2013 - I was getting fed up with how little information there was about the local council and local councillors, and so decided to do something about it. I stood for election in the City Council elections of 2015 in my local ward, Coleridge. I got over 1000 votes and a swing of 12%, although unfortunately that wasn’t enough to win. I’m now standing in my local division for the County elections, Romsey (after the boundary changes this year).

My wife and I are active in the local community - we’re both regular members of St Martin’s Church on Suez Road, and my wife helps run Girlguiding for the south-east area of Cambridge, as well as running a Guide group of her own. I’ve been involved in local politics - knocking on people’s doors, speaking to residents, trying to fix problems, for over 3 years now. I’ve also played the cello in several local orchestras, and my folk band performs all around East Anglia.

Why vote on the 4th May?
Local elections usually get turnouts of around 30-40%, general elections around 60-70%. Local elections are generally seen as less important than national elections, but they actually play a really important part in the day-to-day running of the city and county. It is the City and County Councils that handle regular maintenance and management of the city, as well as being responsible for social care, schools, parks & open areas, bin collections, and many other things that you only really notice if they go wrong.

Whilst there are certain tasks that the councils must do, there’s a lot of scope for councillors to prioritise funding to certain schemes and not others, to change policy in certain areas, to enforce laws and bylaws to different extents, and so on. This means the political makeup of the councils can have a huge effect on provided services that people depend on, and can drastically change the ‘feel’ of the city, with significant decisions or policies having long-lasting positive or negative effects on the city and county as a whole.

One example is the current wrangling over the City Deal and how to deal with congestion in Cambridge, with the various political parties having very different views on what to do. The outcome of any decisions made will affect Cambridge for many decades to come, and it’s the local councillors making those decisions

Why vote for me?
As I’ve said, I’ve lived in the area for many years. I know what a unique place Romsey is - the cafes & shops, churches, pubs, the terraced streets, the parks - and I also know what problems it’s got - lots of pressure from commuter parking, too few school places, and of course the many, many potholes!

There are some very significant changes coming to Cambridge in the next few years, which will affect the city and the surrounding area for many years to come. Romsey will be right in the middle of any city-wide changes, containing 2 of the main roads into the city, as well as being right next to the station. 

These changes have the potential to drastically affect Romsey as an area and as a community, and so Romsey needs a councillor who will listen to residents, who will communicate what is going on and what is being planned, and will work to ensure the changes don’t destroy Romsey’s unique character. That is what I will do, if elected as Romsey’s county councillor.

One of the reasons I decided to stand was that I didn’t feel like I knew what the council or my local councillors were doing. I didn’t really hear from them, and didn’t know what they did. If I’m elected, I will make sure that that is not the case for me - you will hear from me and know what I am doing, I will actually come and talk to you, and I will represent our area to the best of my ability, with regular updates posted on the Romsey Lib Dems website.

So, on the 4th May, please do vote. It’s important. Vote for who you think will be the best councillor for Romsey - as it will make a huge difference in the next few years.

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