Former US Speaker Tip O’Neill is credited with the quote ‘All politics is local’. Local elections matter and are all about the issue that impact peoples’ everyday lives. Lesley Crosby is the Reform UK prospective candidate for Bakewell in a by-election for the Derbyshire Dales District Council. We spoke with Lesley about her decision to stand.
Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
I’m a 59-year-old mum and grandmother. I am also a relative newcomer to the area, but I see this as a positive as I can view Bakewell through fresh eyes.
I am disabled, so naturally concerns about the wellbeing of our communities’ vulnerable residents are firmly in my sights. I intent to highlight all the disproportionate disadvantages Bakewell’s residents are expected to accept due to our location and a lack of the healthy competition our urban neighbours enjoy. There is not one member of our community that isn’t a loser to premium fuel costs and high prices in our shops. I will ensure that our families, the disabled and elderly will not feel hunger, cold or experience isolation.
What made you decide to stand for Reform UK?
I believe we need Reform, we need new solutions to old problems and we need a voice that isn’t held back by council chamber domination and party whips.
What do you see as the big concerns for the ward and what issues do you hope to champion?
Flooding is a big issue for our community, and alongside a crumbling road network, causes regular misery in town. While Bakewell is built right on the river Wye and we cannot completely resolve the cause of flooding, we can be far better prepared for inevitable rainfall when it comes. We can make sure, for a start, that debris blocking local drains and culverts is regularly removed. I will be suggesting an autumn programme of regular road clearance. We can also look at how reaches of the river Wye above and below the town are managed and consult with landowners and local authorities to ensure that fallen trees and other debris are cleared away to assist easy flow. Although this is little more than good housekeeping, it’s clearly not happening or not happening often enough.
I’m also deeply worried by the banking crisis that has brought Bakewell to the attention of the entire country, due to the imminent closure of our NatWest, their last bank in the Peak District. This should have been an issue for our MP to get seriously involved with at the earliest intimation of closure, and I cannot help wondering why things have been allowed to progress without either her deliberate intervention or sourcing an alternative provider of vital banking services.
I’m eager to keep the heat on rural issues and get Bakewell into the limelight. Bakewell is a national icon, an important agricultural, cultural and tourist hub, and we must not allow ourselves to be forgotten.
For those eager to help, how can they get involved in the campaign?