Ashley Dickenson, Christian Peoples Alliance candidate in Sutton.

Written over the period of the recent local elections, we interview Ashley Dickenson, the Christian Peoples Alliance candidate in Carshalton Central ward, Sutton.

“The concerns I’ve heard are of excessively speeding traffic; narrow pavements; non-existent crossings needed for mums with buggies / pushchairs, besides railings for pavements that I’ve noticed are too narrow”

Tell us a bit about yourself and your party?

I’ve lived in the ward for 30 years this coming August and took voluntary redundancy from the civil service after 25 years, two of these in the Dept of Employment and 23 in the Met. Police in an Admin Support role.  I’ve stood in nine elections on behalf of the CPA.  I live alone but have lived an active life as secretary, minutes secretary and a treasurer.

You’re standing in the Carshalton Central ward, can you introduce the ward to us and what you can bring to the area?

An attractive and historic area for which I wish to see improvements.  At the council elections in 2018 I won 69 votes in this ward which I hope to increase (in 2022 Ashley won 132 votes) through my road safety petitioning for at least one pedestrian crossing in a potentially dangerous spot, not just to assist pedestrians but to keep a check on fast-moving traffic.  The concerns I’ve heard are of excessively speeding traffic; narrow pavements; non-existent crossings needed for mums with buggies / pushchairs, besides railings for pavements that I’ve noticed are too narrow.

“the CPA supports transport that is cheap, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly this Tramlink will count for little unless our shops at the lower end of Sutton High Street can fully thrive again”

More widely what would you like to see change at Sutton Council and across the borough?

I’d want to see more CPA representation; this is something I need to work on so that come the next Council elections and the London Assembly elections expected in 2024 we hope to have more candidates standing. In the London Assembly List Results, we came ahead even of the TUSC.  We need a moral voice in politics, to speak up on behalf of the unborn, the poor & vulnerable, besides a fairer taxation system, i.e.: turnover tax on multinationals, offset against corporation tax; increased stamp duty on expensive properties, especially where they’re being excessively used as purely for investment purposes: how fair is that when there are homeless on our streets?

When interviewed by the BBC on election night I pointed out the proposed Tramlink for Sutton.  Albeit the CPA supports transport that is cheap, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly this Tramlink will count for little unless our shops at the lower end of Sutton High Street can fully thrive again – through our policy of cutting business rates so that they can compete with online suppliers.  Online ordering has meant we see little of our neighbours (and that’s another issue) but physical shopping means that at least we can meet our neighbours.

Carshalton High Street (Carshalton Road) still has considerable history about it but there’s only so much pressure that it can take: considering lorries and buses have to pass through it on top of ‘usual’ traffic.  So I would consider having lorries re-routed along our Ruskin Road, for their access to Sutton and beyond – even if at certain hours.  

How can people find out more or get in touch if they want to get involved? 

They are more than welcome to get in touch with me at ashley.dickenson@yahoo.co.uk we need candidates in Sutton and Croydon, and I in turn can introduce them to our party leader; we have training days in public speaking.  I have many hours in canvassing experience and not least today when I called on a lady who advised me of crossings needed close to Carshalton College, that I shall be taking further.

Chris Scott Reform UK candidate Horley Central and South Ward, Reigate & Banstead Council.

Reform UK the successor to The Brexit Party is standing candidates in May’s local elections.  We spoke with Chris Scott who is standing for them in the Horley Central and South Ward of Reigate & Banstead Council.

Chris thank-you for your time.

“Having spent many years flying European Airbuses, facilitated by courses at Toulouse, I remain a strong proponent of Anglo-European cooperation. However, it’s easily forgotten that the UK was making wings for Airbus before we joined the EEC, and the Anglo-French Concorde was conceived in the 1960s”

Tell us a bit about yourself and your party?

Like my friend and Reigate colleague, Joe Fox (standing in South Park and Woodhatch Ward), I’m a retired, septuagenarian grandfather. Born and having lived in beautiful Surrey all my adult life, I nevertheless spent most of my childhood in Africa. My wife and I have two surviving children and four surviving grandchildren. We live on the North Downs with our pets: currently an old cat and a young Ridgeback bitch. Apart from walking the dog on country footpaths, my leisure interests include minor car maintenance and home DIY, tending our garden (though I’m no gardener!), photography and classical music. 

I travelled widely in my career as an airline pilot. Having spent many years flying European Airbuses, facilitated by courses at Toulouse, I remain a strong proponent of Anglo-European cooperation. However, it’s easily forgotten that the UK was making wings for Airbus before we joined the EEC, and the Anglo-French Concorde was conceived in the 1960s.  

In 1975, I voted for the UK to remain in the then EEC, but Brussels’s handling of the Lisbon Treaty in 2007 led me to increasing scepticism of our EU membership. A lifelong Tory voter, by 2015 I was also disillusioned with that party’s abandonment of conservatism. I became a UKIP activist in time for the 2015 General Election, from which the party emerged with only one parliamentary seat in return for more national votes than the LibDems and SNP combined. Nevertheless, UKIP’s long campaign forced David Cameron to make and honour his manifesto promise of a referendum.  

After the referendum, UKIP became increasingly rudderless and I resigned early in 2019, joining The Brexit Party. Within months, we had won the European elections and forced a change of Prime Minister, despite having no representation at Westminster. Our standing down of all candidates against Tory incumbents allowed Boris Johnson to win an 80-seat majority at the general election that December on the promise of Brexit. 

Boris’s deeply-flawed Withdrawal Agreement, which has left us subject to decisions by European judges and living in a dis-United Kingdom, was signed by both sides in January 2020. The resulting recall of our MEPs from Europe led to many of them leaving the party and active politics to pursue other interests. Although Brexit was and remains far from complete, the party’s name was no longer appropriate and, in 2021, we were relaunched as Reform UK to emphasise the task of challenging the cosy two-party system at Westminster and the electoral system that perpetuates it. 

Reform UK’s national policies are radically different from those of the present government, which today is neither conservative nor libertarian. The Tory leadership has increasingly embraced socially-Marxist ideals and globalism, which undermine our heritage and the concept of the nation-state. 

  • We were and are strongly opposed to authoritarian lockdowns and vaccination mandates in the event of a pandemic, and advocate an NHS that protects the people, not the reverse.  
  • We regard the present energy policies, particularly net-zero and reliance on unreliable wind and solar, as economically suicidal and globally ineffectual. They are already creating financial hardship for decent, hard-working people.  
  • On immigration, we oppose priority being given, in effect, to economic migrants who arrive illegally over genuine applicants.  
  • We would cancel HS2, primarily an inter-city vanity project and costly in terms of money and adverse effects on householders and the countryside. Rail links elsewhere need instead to be improved. 

“the provision of at least one more recreation ground – preferably east of the Balcombe Road – for residents of all ages to stretch their legs or relax. I would keep a close eye on unsuitable developments affecting residents and threatening green spaces”

You’re standing in the Horley Central and South Ward, can you introduce the ward to us and what you can bring to the area?

It may seem odd that I’m standing in a Horley ward at the south-eastern extremity of the Borough, while living at the other end. I can’t claim to know Horley well, although I was based at nearby Gatwick for 21 years. The reason is that I’m the Reform UK spokesperson for East Surrey and, due to the vagaries of parliamentary and local-government boundaries, residents of the Horley Central & South ward of the Reigate & Banstead borough find themselves in the East Surrey parliamentary constituency instead of Reigate. My friend and colleague, Joseph Fox, represents Reform UK in Reigate, and is standing in the Southfields and Woodhatch ward.

Reform UK’s local policies include protecting green spaces from housing developments, and ensuring the latter include provision for the extra load on local infrastructure, transport, schooling and medical facilities. We would promote the revitalisation of high-streets with free parking and cuts to business rates, as well as encouraging more housing in town centres. 

Horley town centre is certainly in need of regeneration, though well served by its railway station. There is some light industry, based mainly near the railway line. The residential areas include apartment blocks near town, becoming less crowded and leafier further out.  

My individual aspirations, since banging on doors in the ward, include the provision of at least one more recreation ground – preferably east of the Balcombe Road – for residents of all ages to stretch their legs or relax. I would keep a close eye on unsuitable developments affecting residents and threatening green spaces. Other issues will no doubt come to my attention during the remaining fortnight before the election. 

“With the Tories currently in charge – and, in Horley Central & South, three councillors out of three – it’s time to elect someone with a fresh and critical perspective to challenge their complacency”

More widely what would you like to see change at Reigate & Banstead Council and across the borough?

Throughout the borough, the scale of fly-tipping is increasing and, in my opinion, this is being encouraged by hefty charges at the Earlswood recycling centre and elsewhere, even for the kind of waste that is produced by routine home maintenance. The Surrey County Council takes that revenue. The Borough, on the other hand, has to collect rubbish from streets and verges. Meanwhile, farmers and others have the expense and potential hazard of removing it from their land. 

Further, I’m astonished that, given the current, post-pandemic advice from central government, the Town Hall in Reigate has only partially reopened to the public, closing at 2 pm. Worse than that, it’s evident that the majority of its business is being conducted by staff still working from their homes. This represents a failure of leadership in the Town Hall. As a council tax-payer, I’ve written to them for an explanation and look forward to the response.  

With the Tories currently in charge – and, in Horley Central & South, three councillors out of three – it’s time to elect someone with a fresh and critical perspective to challenge their complacency. 

How can people find out more or get in touch if they want to get involved? 

Contact me at eastsurrey@reformparty.uk.  More information on Reform UK and our policies can be found on our website https://www.reformparty.uk/.

Zachary Stiling, Heritage Party candidate Selsdon and Addington Village.

Zack spoke at our hustings in March, and has been active in local politics since standing for the Heritage Party in Kenley, Zack also appeared on our Pubcast in April last year. 

A life long Croydon resident Zack is standing Selsdon and Addington Village ward in May’s local elections.

Zack thank-you for your time.

“As its name suggests, it exists to protect and promote our country’s history and culture, as well as defending other fundamental components of a healthy society, such as individual liberties and the traditional nuclear family”

Tell us a bit about yourself and your party?

I have lived all my life in Croydon’s suburbs and have come to harbour some considerable affection for the borough. Although some parts of Croydon have their problems, and it seems to be suffering more and more each day from inappropriate and unsympathetic development, it has a proud history and still retains a lot of fine architecture and, at the fringes, natural beauty. I am very keen to celebrate and promote these aspects of Croydon.

The Heritage Party was founded in 2020 to rectify the absence of traditional conservatism in our political system. As its name suggests, it exists to protect and promote our country’s history and culture, as well as defending other fundamental components of a healthy society, such as individual liberties and the traditional nuclear family. In particular, we are staunchly opposed to the tide of ‘cancel culture’ and discriminatory identity politics which pose a threat to free speech and equality of opportunity.

Roger / St Mary’s Church, Addington / CC BY-SA 2.0

“there is an abundance of green space, including Addington Park and Threehalfpenny Wood, sections of the London Loop and the Vanguard Way leading to the North Downs, plus the wonderful ornamental gardens of Heathfield, another historic house.

Unfortunately, all this is ever under threat. Croydon Council is considering building on a number of the borough’s green spaces”

You’re standing in Selsdon and Addington Village ward, can you introduce the ward to us and what you can bring to the area?

Selsdon and Addington Village is a charming part of Croydon close to its rural fringe, where pleasant suburbia mingles with Green Belt land. Addington in particular is one of the most historic parts of Croydon and one of the last reminders that much of what is now the London Borough of Croydon was once open countryside, although it arguably suffers slightly from its proximity to what Clough Williams Ellis termed ‘the Octopus’ of London’s sprawling conurbations.

Highlights of the ward’s rich history include Addington Palace, a splendid 18th-century Palladian mansion which once served as the country home to the Archbishops of Canterbury, and the ancient St. Mary’s Church, which has one of the finest churchyards in all Croydon and contributes to Addington’s feel of a rural parish. For walkers, there is an abundance of green space, including Addington Park and Threehalfpenny Wood, sections of the London Loop and the Vanguard Way leading to the North Downs, plus the wonderful ornamental gardens of Heathfield, another historic house.

Unfortunately, all this is ever under threat. Croydon Council is considering building on a number of the borough’s green spaces. Although nowhere in the ward appears to be threatened at present, the council has been eyeing up open land in New Addington and near Lloyd Park. If there were to be any development on these sites, apart from it being a terrible loss for biodiversity and our natural landscape, it would lead to an increase in traffic which would directly impact residents in Selsdon and Addington Village, especially since Addington Road already suffers so badly from congestion at peak times. I will not stand for any attempts to build on greenfield sites and will oppose every such application.

I am happy to consider developments on brownfield sites provided they do not involve the destruction of any historic or otherwise significant buildings, and provided the new buildings meet the very highest standards of construction and aesthetics. As a case in point, I would work to overturn the decision to permit the demolition and redevelopment of the wonderful Art Déco Selsdon Garage. This building, although an eyesore all the while it remains unoccupied and derelict, once looked superb and is of enormous local significance for its unusual and exciting Modernist design. The community would suffer a great loss if it were to be replaced with mundane, generic rabbit hutches, but I would strongly encourage its refurbishment as two to four maisonettes preserving the original structure.

I consider myself a supporter of the arts – that is, fine art, music, literature and theatre – and I believe every resident of Selsdon and Addington Village should have access to culture. To that end, I will ensure that Croydon’s libraries remain open and will defend Selsdon Library against any plans the council may conceive to close it. I would also like to make the most of the council-owned Heathfield House, which in recent years has been well used by the Croydon Ecology Centre charity, but which Croydon Council last year suggested could be sold as part of a ‘series of proposed asset disposals’. The house formerly belonged to Raymond Riesco, who was known for his important collection of artworks and antiques which he bequeathed to the council (but which they partially sold in 2013). While ensuring the Ecology Centre retains its rights to the building, I should also be keen to see parts of it opened up to the public as a historic house, with the remaining items of the Riesco Collection put on display for the education and enjoyment of the public. This would, of course, bring visitors to Croydon and encourage spending in the local area.

Presumably Croydon Council had something different in mind in 2020 when it began the process of licensing Addington Park for music festivals, similar to one staged in Lloyd Park in 2019. Anyone who had the misfortune of witnessing the Lloyd Park event will recall that it was not so much a celebration of culture as an antisocial Bacchanalian orgy of intoxicated cretinism. That such an event should happen anywhere is embarrassing; that it should take place in a residential area is unacceptable. Selsdon and Addington Village deserves better, and I will make sure it gets it.

“Perhaps the one thing that unites everyone across the borough is their anger and frustration at Croydon Council’s unrelenting financial irresponsibility. While 28 council employees were earning over £100,000, residents have been missing out on waste collections”

More widely what would you like to see change at Croydon Council and across the borough?

Perhaps the one thing that unites everyone across the borough is their anger and frustration at Croydon Council’s unrelenting financial irresponsibility. While 28 council employees were earning over £100,000, residents have been missing out on waste collections because the council went bankrupt and remains in a precarious situation even after a £120 million taxpayer-funded bailout.

You might think the council would have turned over a new leaf, but it has not. It has yet to scrap Brick by Brick, its good-for-nothing, loss-making property firm with a curious aversion to social housing, and it has recently announced the roll-out of so-called ‘Smart’ bus shelters, which are made by an American company and require a constant energy supply to fund their internet connection and garish LED lighting. They also have sinister overtones because they will all have cameras connected to the internet. Whatever was wrong with analogue bus shelters? I will save money and protect residents’ right to anonymity in public by opposing this development.

My love of natural beauty will, of course, be applied to green spaces all over the borough. In particular, I will support Chris Philp MP and others in their bid to have the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty extended to include Farthing Downs, Happy Valley, Riddlesdown and Coulsdon Common, thereby providing them with further protection against the threat of development. I should even like to go further and extend the designation to Croham Hurst and the Addington Hills.

I would also like to see money saved by scrapping Croydon Council’s equality and diversity strategy, and ending its support for divisive and politically-charged non-events such as black and LGBT+ history months (October and February to you and I). When the council runs a programme ‘the aim of which is to increase the number of BAME managers in the council’, we realise that ‘equality’ refers to equality of representation rather than equality of opportunity. This is unfair, discriminatory and precisely the opposite of what Martin Luther King campaigned for when he said “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will be judged not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character”.

Finally, when Croydon’s finances are secure, I should like to make a statement of local pride. As an antidote to the onslaught of fanatical iconoclasm masquerading as social justice which began with the illegal vandalism of Bristol’s Edward Colston statue, I should like the council to affirm that it loves its town and its history and erecting a statue would be a good way to do that. I’m not an advocate of making statues for statues’ sake, but I would be in favour of anything which enhances the town centre, performs an educational function and gives recognition to a worthy individual. Croydon has produced many great individuals who merit commemoration, composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor being a particularly well-known and deserving example.

How can people find out more or get in touch if they want to get involved?

I would be glad to answer enquiries sent to heritagestiling@protonmail.com. Anyone interested in finding out more about the Heritage Party should visit heritageparty.org.

You can read more from Zack’s hustings Q&A in Kenley and hear more about the Heritage Parties ideas from our interview with party leader David Kurten.  

Lucy Dean, Hampshire Independents candidate Brighton Hill ward, Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council.

The Hampshire Independents are a party of people who agree on core principles but stand as independents.  We spoke with Lucy Dean who is standing for them in the Brighton Hill ward of Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council.

Lucy thank-you for your time.

“I love this corner of Hampshire due to its green spaces and easy accessibility to other parts of the country”

Tell us a bit about yourself

Hi, I’m Lucy Dean and I’ve lived in Basingstoke for the past two years. Previous to this I lived in Farnborough, Hampshire for thirty years. I love this corner of Hampshire due to its green spaces and easy accessibility to other parts of the country. I’ve been interested in politics for some time, although the EU referendum was probably the turning point for me. It still seems odd to me that we were given a binary choice for such a big topic – particularly, as the ramifications are still being felt today. My reason for getting involved in politics was because I wanted to have a greater say in terms of what goes on, and also to understand why decisions are made in the way that they are. I see many opportunities for things that can be improved, and I am keen to make a difference. In my spare time, I am a keen sportswoman and enjoy running, paddle boarding, cycling and the outdoor lifestyle. I also enjoy caring for my plants – trees, plants, flowers and fungi have many therapeutic benefits, and I am keen to learn as much about them as possible.

“I’d like to see the council block all new developments until provisions are made for the proper treatment and disposal of human waste. Currently, the water companies knowingly dispose of raw sewage into our rivers. This must stop!”

You’re standing in the Brighton Hill ward, can you introduce the ward to us and what you can bring to the area?

Brighton Hill is a beautiful ward of Basingstoke. It is comprised of stunning parks, fields and play areas, and is bordered to the South by the M3. To the north is the A30.

My plan is to continue to challenge the council’s approach to new housing developments – in particular, the current theme of overdevelopment. I also want to protect our green spaces and rivers as these are precious resources and should be treated with respect.

Proper waste disposal is a huge problem in Basingstoke, due to poor infrastructure and planning. In future, I’d like to see the council block all new developments until provisions are made for the proper treatment and disposal of human waste. Currently, the water companies knowingly dispose of raw sewage into our rivers. This must stop! The council has declared an ecological emergency, but this is at odds with their approach to housing developments.

“I’d like the council to recognise the harm they are doing to the environment and people of Basingstoke by allowing the malpractice of the water companies to continue”

What would I like to see change at the council?

I’d like the council to recognise the harm they are doing to the environment and people of Basingstoke by allowing the malpractice of the water companies to continue. I’d like them to force the water companies to build new water treatment facilities across Hampshire to support all these new developments. I’d like our rivers to stop being used as dumping grounds for untreated effluent waste. Already our existing sewerage systems are overwhelmed, so something needs to be done about this before new developments are considered.

How can people find out more or get in touch if they want to get involved? 

The party is on Facebook and Twitter. We have our website which outlines more about us, our founders and some of the basic principles we follow (we also have a series of opinion pieces from our candidates and supporters) https://hantsind.com. You can always get in touch via email too via info@hantsind.com.

TudorTulok, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Malc Carpenter, Hampshire Independents candidate Battins ward, Havant Borough Council.

The Hampshire Independents are a party of people who agree on core principles but stand as independents.  We spoke with Malc Carpenter who is standing for them in the Battins ward of Havant Borough Council

Malc thank-you for your time.

“This year standing again for Hampshire Independents as I did last year, my three main areas will be focused on helping the disabled, elderly and trying to alleviate the parking issues I have faced since my initial journey into politics.

With your help and support I believe I can and will make a difference to people’s lives”

Tell us a bit about yourself and your party?

I first stood for election in 2016 with Havant Borough Council.  During the next 5 years I worked tirelessly for my residents, some I successfully helped, others not able to achieve the results I wished.

This year standing again for Hampshire Independents as I did last year, my three main areas will be focused on helping the disabled, elderly and trying to alleviate the parking issues I have faced since my initial journey into politics.

With your help and support I believe I can and will make a difference to people’s lives.

Hampshire Independents formed in 2020 as a group of people who previously stood as either independent candidates or for minor parties. As independent candidates we quickly discovered how biased the political system is in favour of the larger parties or for people with deep pockets. We learnt that the Press could ignore and exclude us thereby preventing us from taking part in hustings and having a voice. We founded the party to provide some of the bigger party advantages to other independently minded people across the county. As such, we do not have a central manifesto; each contender must devise their own ideas. As a varied group, we represent a cross-section of society: from business owners and IT experts to marketing specialists and fraud investigators. We avoid telling our candidates what to stand for, as that is their choice, but we do enable them to make a difference. Hosting regular social events is important to us so that we can get to know one another and form relationships. We truly believe that by sharing our knowledge and experience we are greater than the sum of our parts.

You’re standing in the Battins Ward, can you introduce the ward to us and what you can bring to the area?

The Battins ward is one of the four Leigh Park wards, each with 2 councillors. We have the main shopping areas of Park Parade and Greywell. If elected this time I would wish to build on my achievements over past 5 years (previously being a Havant Borough Councillor). The area suffers from high degree of poverty, there are a lot of single parent households and significant unemployment. This is a challenging ward but with more resources can enable people to take ownership of their lives and prosper.

“enable young people to aspire to be proud of their area and take a positive position to improve the facilities we currently have available.

More infrastructure is urgently required to change these lives so they are not trapped into living on benefits and not achieving fully their full potential”

More widely what would you like to see change at Havant Borough Council and across the borough?

The changes I would like to see at Havant Borough Council is to enable young people to aspire to be proud of their area and take a positive position to improve the facilities we currently have available.

More infrastructure is urgently required to change these lives so they are not trapped into living on benefits and not achieving fully their full potential.

Only by investment can change come about so they are not consigned to a life of deprivation and not maximising their talents. 

How can people find out more or get in touch if they want to get involved? 

The party is on Facebook and Twitter. We have our website which outlines more about us, our founders and some of the basic principles we follow (we also have a series of opinion pieces from our candidates and supporters) https://hantsind.com. You can always get in touch via email too via info@hantsind.com.

Scott Neville, Hampshire Independents candidate Oakley and The Candovers ward, Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council.

The Hampshire Independents are a party of people who agree on core principles but stand as independents.  We spoke with Scott Neville who is standing for them in the Oakley and The Candovers ward of Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council.

We have previously interviewed Scott about the party and he has been on our Podcast

Scott thank-you for your time.

“I have lived in northeast Hampshire all my life, 28 years living in a little village just outside Basingstoke, and 8 years living in the town. In the past, I have supported the Conservative party and stood for election twice under the Libertarian Party. I believe that everyone has the right to live their life as they see fit, providing they do not hurt others”

Tell us a bit about yourself and your party?

I have been involved with politics for some years, the EU referendum was when I started campaigning properly. Strangely, I was never in favour of the EU referendum; I would like to see many more referendums on a whole host of issues, but I was concerned that the country was not ready for a binary choice on such a complex issue. I have lived in northeast Hampshire all my life, 28 years living in a little village just outside Basingstoke, and 8 years living in the town. In the past, I have supported the Conservative party and stood for election twice under the Libertarian Party. I believe that everyone has the right to live their life as they see fit, providing they do not hurt others.

I don’t believe the world can stand still, the world is constantly changing and will continue to do so regardless of what we might wish. I believe in evolution over revolution, we need to make changes slowly to allow people to adapt, and to avoid leaving people behind, but also to make sure we don’t destroy the good. I am perplexed by the green movement which is obsessed with concreting over wildlife for red brick houses, covering the fields in black solar panels and erecting white wind turbines. None of which involves the colour green.

We formed the party as a group of people who formerly stood either as independent candidates or for minor parties. We discovered how much the system is skewed against those candidates. We exist to try and bring some of the bigger party advantages to independent candidates across the county. Candidates can stand on whatever issues with wish – each candidate must come up with their own ideas. We have a team of people who know technology, marketing, investigations, print media, public speaking and campaigning. We don’t tell anyone what to stand for, but we make it so much easier when you can call someone up to ask how to complete the paperwork, how to deal with a press interview, how to design an eye-catching leaflet, how to canvass, etc. We host regular socials to help everyone get to know each other, between us we have people who run businesses, former police officers, people who work for large companies, young people, older people and everything else in between. We truly believe that by staying as individuals but sharing our skills and knowledge we are greater than the sum of our parts.

“I think the main concern in the area is over development. We already have 500 occasions a year where sewage is pumped into the local rivers and the river that runs through the town has poor ecological status. Oakley is very close to the new Manydown development which will bring potentially 10,000 new houses to Basingstoke right next to Oakley”

You’re standing in the Oakley and The Candovers Ward, can you introduce the ward to us and what you can bring to the area?

The ward is a sizable rural ward to the west and south of Basingstoke. Oakley is by far the largest part of the ward and it includes many smaller villages and is part of the Hampshire Downs (one of the bread baskets of England). The ward really highlights the differences between urban and rural living. Critical national infrastructure (London – Southampton railway, London – Sailsbury railway, M3 & A303) all run through the middle.  Popham airfield to the north of the A303 and Ultrafast 1000 Mbps broadband are available in parts of Oakley. The ward also has very rural communities with houses that are not connected to mains gas or sewerage.

I think the main concern in the area is over development. We already have 500 occasions a year where sewage is pumped into the local rivers[i] and the river that runs through the town has poor ecological status[ii]. Oakley is very close to the new Manydown development which will bring potentially 10,000 new houses to Basingstoke right next to Oakley (though not in the Oakley ward). Then there is the Hounsome Fields development which is almost complete adds another 750 houses there, then there is the Golf Course development which is underway right over the road from Hounsome Fields. Various other smaller planning applications exist to fill up the countryside with more houses. Still that is not enough for Basingstoke Council, with various other options for up to another 19,000 houses under consideration, many of which are very near Oakley (potentially 2,500 in the village of Cliddesden). My concern is without some radical improvements to the infrastructure what will we be doing to the rivers?

Basingstoke and Deane Borough council have declared an “Ecological Emergency”[iii]. I would really like to know what they think is endangered? Is there some concrete worm, house spider or sewage slug that we really need to be taking care of? Despite topping the leader boards of local councils for house building, the relentless push of concrete must continue according to Basingstoke Council.

My key aim is to try and put the breaks on this obsessive overdevelopment. I was brought up in a small village and I know exactly what it is like to be priced out of that village (regardless of how much you might want to stay). That cannot be fixed by destroying all the villages with more houses. Cliddesden for example has just over 100 houses currently, do they really think it won’t be destroyed by an addition of a mere 2,500 houses?

“I would also like to see better access to the re-cycling centres, we have seen fly tipping go up thanks to decisions made by the council. One of our researchers discovered that less than 1% of fly-tipping incidents lead to a successful prosecution”

More widely what would you like to see change at Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council and across the borough?

Simple really, we need to stop seeing concrete and new housing development as the answer to everything. I think the top of the town really needs a bit of a rethink, once the centre for shopping in Basingstoke, now forgotten side street to Festival Place. The big problem is that the top of town lacks speculative shops, you go there for a reason (like to go to the Bank, the estate agent or takeaway) then you leave. It is not a place you go looking round which gives it a deserted and abandoned vibe. The council could do some good here, taking ownership of some of the abandoned units (such as the post office or Lloyds Bank) and turning them into smaller retail units with lower rents for shops. The upstairs could still be converted into flats (as is being done now), but something to help spread out the shopping rather than it all being rammed into Festival Place (which is impossible to get into at Christmas due to the traffic queues clogging up the town).

I would also like to see better access to the re-cycling centres, we have seen fly tipping go up thanks to decisions made by the council. One of our researchers[iv] discovered that less than 1% of fly-tipping incidents lead to a successful prosecution. We need to find a better way to address that, but in the short term I would like to see more availability at the recycling centres. 

During Covid Hampshire County Council introduced a booking system for them, I don’t think we need to get rid of that as it has a positive effect on the number of people queuing, Wade Road used to be a nightmare with cars queuing.  Needing to book two days in advance is a pain, my fence does not collapse with two days’ notice! Sometimes people need to use these services at short notice, so being able to book same day (subject to capacity limits) would be very useful. Perhaps coupled with a fine for those that book slots who don’t turn up.

How can people find out more or get in touch if they want to get involved? 

The party is on Facebook and Twitter. We have our website which outlines more about us, our founders and some of the basic principles we follow (we also have a series of opinion pieces from our candidates and supporters) https://hantsind.com. You can always email me to scott.neville@hantsind.com.

TudorTulok, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Andy Liming, Hampshire Independents candidate South Ham ward, Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council.

The Hampshire Independents are a party of people who agree on core principles but stand as independents.  We spoke with Andy Liming who is standing for them in the South Ham ward, of Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council.

Andy thank-you for your time.

“Basic life skills and respect for themselves is not being taught and an unhealthy attitude towards the Police is harvested. I want to break this blueprint for social decline”

Tell us a bit about yourself and your party?

I am a serving Fire Fighter in Basingstoke. As well as serving my community in this capacity for nearly 25 years I also spent two years as a Special Constable. During my service I have spent 13 years involved in youth intervention helping run two schemes one for cadets and another giving direction to young people. I live on the Berg Estate with my family.

I want to see action on speeding in South Ham, basic decent things like dog fouling, and litter which is mainly thrown from cars, dealt with. I also would like to see more facilities for young people to go to. We had a cadet group at the Fire Station, but we lost funding leaving many young people upset they could not join. Young people are pushed around, and we are not supporting their educating or showing them how to really enjoy leisure time. They are easy targets for gang culture and very easily finding themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Basic life skills and respect for themselves is not being taught and an unhealthy attitude towards the Police is harvested. I want to break this blueprint for social decline. I have helped many young people who have fallen on the wrong side of the law, helping them through their different cases to finding work and a place in society.

I had a bad start in life and want to show everyone you can choose the right path and be a part of making things better for everyone.

Hampshire Independents formed as a group of people who stood either as independent candidates or for minor parties. We discovered how much the system is skewed against those candidates, with the press being allowed to ignore them, being excluded from hustings as well each person lacking the “do everything skills”. We exist to try and bring some of the bigger party advantages to independent candidates across the county. We do not have a central manifesto; each candidate must come up with their own ideas. We have a team of people who know technology, marketing, investigations, print media, public speaking and campaigning. We don’t tell anyone what to stand for, but we make it so much easier when you can call someone up to ask how to complete the paperwork, how to deal with a press interview, how to design an eye-catching leaflet, how to canvass, etc. We hold social meetings too to help everyone get to know each other, between us we have people who run businesses, former police officers, people who work for large companies, young people, older people and everything else. We truly believe that by staying as individuals but sharing our skills and knowledge we are greater than the sum of our parts.

“I want to tackle speeding on our estate roads before someone is killed or seriously injured. I want to deal with litter and dog fouling which makes our environment poor. I want to support young person’s clubs and activities”

You’re standing in the South Ham ward, can you introduce the ward to us and what you can bring to the area?

I want to tackle speeding on our estate roads before someone is killed or seriously injured. I want to deal with litter and dog fouling which makes our environment poor. I want to support young person’s clubs and activities which teach life skills and how to enjoy leisure time. I do worry about some of the kids I see being pushed around because they have nowhere to go, these young people normally end up on the wrong side of the law with a negative attitude to the Police and I would like to help break this cycle.

More widely what would you like to see change at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and across the borough?

I would like to stop over development and strain on our town infrastructure along with more reduced speed limits in town roads. I would like more money to be made available for youth engagement schemes.

How can people find out more or get in touch if they want to get involved? 

The party is on Facebook and Twitter. Our website outlines more about us, our founders and some of the basic principles we follow. We also have a series of opinion pieces from our candidates and supporters at https://hantsind.com. You can always get in touch via email too via info@hantsind.com.

TudorTulok, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Les Beaumont, SDP candidate Pitshanger Ward, London Borough of Ealing.

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) is standing candidates across London in May’s local elections.  We spoke with Les Beaumont who is standing for them in the Pitshanger Ward, London Borough of Ealing.

Les thank-you for your time.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your party?

I joined the SDP a couple of years ago, shortly after I sold my contract cleaning business and retired. I live in the ward in which I am standing for local councillor. Free from vested interests, the Social Democratic Party seeks the common good in Britain’s national interest. We represent neither capital nor labour, not private industry nor the public sector, but only the welfare of the British people and residents of these islands.

“my objective would be to ensure that the council addresses the issues of the people that I represent, be they property owners, private tenants or living in social housing”

You’re standing in the Pitshanger Ward, can you introduce the ward to us and what you can bring to the area?

The ward is predominately made up of owner-occupied and privately rented properties with a social housing estate on its western border. As a local resident with no allegiance to the three largest parties, my objective would be to ensure that the council addresses the issues of the people that I represent, be they property owners, private tenants or living in social housing.

“Ealing Council closed our local swimming pool during the pandemic and then failed to re-open it with the intention of redeveloping the site with massive high-rise tower blocks”

More widely what would you like to see change at Ealing Council and across the borough?

When I speak to people in my local area, these are the main issues most frequently raised:

a) Overdevelopment. Ealing Council has approved and continues to approve, planning applications for high-rise developments that are totally inappropriate to the local area. Some local people say that Ealing Labour councillors appear to have too close a relationship with the main housing developers in the borough.

b) Fly-Tipping. It is far too difficult and expensive to dispose of waste in the borough and the council closed one of its two waste & recycling centres last year.

c) Car Crime. There is an epidemic of catalytic converter theft in the borough.

d) Swimming Pools. Ealing Council closed our local swimming pool during the pandemic and then failed to re-open it with the intention of redeveloping the site with massive high-rise tower blocks.

e) Council Waste. Like many boroughs controlled by Labour, Ealing Council wastes a lot of money on schemes introduced for ideological or party-political reasons that do not benefit the majority of the community.

How can people find out more or get in touch if they want to get involved?

The SDP website is the major resource for our policies and to find out what we stand for. You can also follow the SDP on Facebook and the London branch on Twitter.

Source: Di (they-them) and Berrely, based on source, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Joseph Fox Reform UK candidate South Park and Woodhatch Ward, Reigate & Banstead Council.

Reform UK the successor to The Brexit Party is standing candidates in May’s local elections.  We spoke with Joseph Fox who is standing for them in the South Park and Woodhatch Ward of Reigate & Banstead Council. 

Joseph thank-you for your time.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your party?

I am a 73 year old grandfather.  I have lived and worked in the borough for most of my life.  I became involved with EU-secessionist politics in 1995, and joined UKIP in 1999.  I stood for UKIP in 25 elections from 2001 to 2019 – I came second in the 2015 General Election.  But UKIP took a wrong turn after the referendum. The Brexit Party proved immediately popular, and with Brexit (nominally) done, Reform UK seemed to me to be the way forward.  I like it for its pragmatism and lack of ideological baggage.

“Nothing is more than four floors high, and there is plenty of greenery.  But like everywhere else around here, it is under threat of high-density development”

You’re standing in the South Park and Woodhatch Ward, can you introduce the ward to us and what you can bring to the area?

South Park and Woodhatch ward is about two thirds ex-council housing and one third moderately prosperous private housing.  Nothing is more than four floors high, and there is plenty of greenery.  But like everywhere else around here, it is under threat of high-density development.

“last year, they spent £35,000 on fitting lockable lids on some recycling bins, thus forcing us to post our rubbish through small holes or slots.  And I thought they were meant to encourage recycling!”

More widely what would you like to see change at Reigate & Banstead Council and across the borough?

Reigate and Banstead Borough Council is as capable of wasting public money as anyone else.  For example, last year, they spent £35,000 on fitting lockable lids on some recycling bins, thus forcing us to post our rubbish through small holes or slots.  And I thought they were meant to encourage recycling!  Experience shows that the presence of minor parties on local councils does them a lot of good.

How can people find out more or get in touch if they want to get involved? 

Contact me at reigate@reform.uk

Reigate and Banstead Borough Council Coat of Arms, Reigate Hill Footbridge by Ian Capper, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Laurence Williams, SDP candidate for Sidcup Ward in the London Borough of Bexley

With local elections fast approaching in London, we interview Laurence Williams the SDP candidate for Sidcup Ward the London Borough of Bexley.

“I would like to see our available housing stock properly utilised across Bexley and an end to the scar of foodbanks”

Tell us a bit about yourself and your party?

I have re-joined the SDP as a result of appearing at the Croydon Constitutionalist hustings in February ’22. The SDP are my political awakening Party from 1981, and I should have remained with them through thick and thin. They are enjoying a good resurgence now thanks to the usual LibLabCon hegemony. This is my 10th local election since 1990! 

You’re standing in Sidcup Ward in the London Borough of Bexley, can you introduce the ward to us and what you can bring to the area?

I am standing in the LB of Bexley’s Sidcup Ward and hope to bring a bit of ‘Zazz’ to our local politics by breaking the cosy tory family affair here!

More widely what would you like to see change at Bexley council and across the borough?

I would like to see our available housing stock properly utilised across Bexley and an end to the scar of foodbanks and poverty in general!

How can people find out more or get in touch if they want to get involved?  

Please get in touch with us at: www.sdp.org.uk