Panda Press

County elections: Stone Rural candidates

We’ll go to the polls on Thursday 2nd May to elect a councillor to Staffordshire County Council for the Stone Urban and Stone Rural wards.

Here are the candidates’ appeals for your vote for the Stone Rural ward.

Polling stations are open between 7am and 10pm.

Lloyd Brown (Labour)

I am delighted to have been selected as the Labour Party candidate in Stone Rural ward for this year’s County Council election. I live in Barlaston, having originally moved to North Staffordshire to attend Keele University in 2003.

It is hard to see what positive lasting impact the Tories have had on our area in the last four years, and despite the fact that we are seeing our services being sold off under the justification of ‘value for money’, the Tories now plan to raise Council Tax by 2% a year if they are still in control of the County Council after 2nd May.

I believe that residents deserve better; I believe you have a right to hear from your County Councillor regularly, to have a number of ways of communicating with them, and to know how your taxes are being spent by the County Council. I am committed to all of these things, and having worked for a Member of Parliament for a number of years, I have a track record of getting things done.

Staffordshire Labour has produced a full manifesto for the upcoming election with five key pledges:

Freezing your Council Tax - Labour will freeze Council Tax until at least 2015 – in contrast to the Tories planned hike of 8%.

Creating Apprenticeships – Labour will create Apprenticeships and encourage local businesses to do so too.

Protecting the NHS – Working with the NHS, Labour will make sure health services work together and patients are protected.

Free School Meals for all – Labour will set up pilot schemes to trial Free School Meals for all children across the County.

Repairing our Roads – We will make sure potholes and road repairs are done quickly and properly, not just patched up.

If elected I promise to be a visible and committed Councillor across the entirety of the Stone Rural ward, working for the issues that matter to residents and providing a strong voice on the County Council.

On May 2nd there is an alternative to Tory pessimism and the dangerous and unnecessary rhetoric of UKIP. A vote for the Labour Party is a vote for aspiration and a vote for a party genuinely working for you.

Jill Hood (Independent)

Jill has lived in Staffordshire since 1987, firstly in Barlaston and for the last twelve years Walton in Stone. She is married and the younger two of her four daughters still live at home so she understands the modern complexities of bringing up a family and with the youngest being seventeen especially knows about the problems teenagers have to deal with in education and everyday life.

Elected as an independent Stone town councillor in 2007 and an independent Stafford Borough councillor in 2011 she has a proven track record of getting things done and a reputation of being a hard worker with a hands on approach. She volunteers for many organisations and as one of the ‘Keep Westbridge Park Green’ campaigners continues to fight hard to keep the large green space for future generations to come, not only resisting another supermarket development but to get deserved facilities for children and teenagers.

She is a volunteer trustee of Age Concern and Age UK and supports their aims to enable the elderly to remain in their own homes, living as independently as possible. Jill is part of Totally Locally which promotes shopping locally whenever possible and believes local Staffordshire suppliers and producers thrive when people recognise that by supporting their local businesses this will boost the local economy creating more jobs and a better environment.

Jill is standing for Stone Rural as an independent candidate, she does not have to toe a party line and can work for the people she represents, drawing on the experience she has gained dealing with the various problems that people encounter.

She is fully aware of the concerns in the rural area she has chosen to represent and as an independent says: “I believe you deserve the best independent representation you can get. I will listen to people and will use good old fashioned common sense in implementing action. I will ensure you get full value for your taxes. People first – politics second.”

Her main concerns which she sees as an immediate priority are…..

Highways - Poor road surfaces. Pot-holes. Road safety. Traffic calming. Speeding. Lighting. Safe affordable and reliable public transport easily accessible, therefore preventing rural isolation.

Environment - Flooding. Protecting open green Spaces. HS2 devastating the countryside.

The Elderly - Provision of quality all round care and dignity.

Local Business Investment - Encouraging & creating jobs boosting the local economy.

Education - Ensuring all rural schools receive their fare share of funding. Promoting the value and success of our young people in the community, enhancing children’s & teenage Facilities.

David Nixon (UKIP)

I am in my sixties, married with three sons and I am a Christian. During the last four years I have represented the Silverdale and Cross Heath Ward on the County Council. Due to boundary re-organisation, the ward has disappearedand I had decided not to stand again. However, in February 2013, I had a telephone call from the Stone UKIP secretary asking if I would stand in the Stone Rural Ward. I was delighted to be asked and, as some of the Stone Rural electors will know, my ten helpers and I are delivering the UKIP second, third and fourth leaflet in the ward presently. This has come as quite a surprise to many residents who have informed me that in local elections they normally never have a leaflet. As I told one lady upon delivering her third leaflet; Quality and Quantity.

Walking around the ward I noticed a large number of blocked grids/gullies. If elected I will systematically chech an area each month and report those needing attention.

Much of the ward is rural so has problems with water lying on roads. Extra money was proposed over two years to solve this problem, but due to the opposition of your present Conservative Councillor, it is now not available. I will press for solutions within the present budget.

From January 2014 over 2 million Rome gypsies will be allowed into the U,K, The persent Con/Lib.Dem government have asked Local Authorities to find new sities for Gypsy/Travellers. If any sites are pro[posed for the Stone Rural ward I will campaign vigorously to oppose them.

Even though I am not stnding in my present ward, in March I notified a part of Cross Heath as to why they can not have three requested dog bins. I will continue this practice of leafleting if elected, making residents aware of local issues and council/government waste- e.g. £100,000 by the present Con/Lib.Dem.government to create a Lesbian/ Gay/Bisexual/ and Transgender Unit in Strasbourg.

I, personally, do not claim expenses for travelling, subsistence and other expenses, unlike your present Consevative candidate who claimed over £10,000 during the same period April 2009-2012.

If elected , I shall work as hard in the Stone Rural Ward as in my present ward in sorting out the many problems not yet tackled. I hope the electors of Stone Rural will lend me their vote on Thursday May 2nd 2013.

Ian Parry (Conservative)

The current Conservative County Councillor is Ian Parry who has served Stone Rural for the last 16 years. Since the Conservatives won control of the Council last time, he has had a senior strategic role as the Cabinet Member for Finance, bringing sound financial control alongside sensible investments to secure more jobs and stability for local people.

Equally, working in partnership with local parish council and community groups, he has worked hard for the communities he represents, with a reputation for getting things done, even if they take longer than people might like, he always stick to the task.

Ian wants the best for all the communities he represents, working in an impartial and reasonable way to tackle problems, find solutions and win resources for his area.

He has been part of a Conservative team that has saved local tax payers over £130m, and introduced new initiatives like £1 bus travel for young people and free wi-fi in all libraries.

Keeping Council Tax Low

Ian is committed to keeping Staffordshire the ‘low tax county’ and is proud that after 4 years it is now the lowest council tax of any county.

More jobs and apprenticeships

We need to generate more jobs and growth. We now have double the apprenticeships than 4 years ago. We are determined to bring an extra 30,000 jobs to Staffordshire with a major investment deal in partnership with other councils and the government.

But protecting our rural county

However he is also determined to prevent intrusive development which cannot be justified. That is why he campaigned against industrial development in green belt in Blythe Bridge, quarrying at Moddershall/Fulford Dale and industrial scale wind farms in Aston. He’s also firmly against HS2 and will, along with our MP Bill Cash campaign against it.

Excellent elderly care

Conservatives are committed to making Staffordshire a centre of excellence for dementia care with £100million in new investment in specialist care centres. We also attracting £200m to build extra supported accommodation for people who want to enjoy independent living in later life.

Ian is working on making school journeys safer – three of our local primary schools are now covered by a 20MPH zone, backed by speed indicator signs.

Voluntary groups and village halls add so much into the life of our community. That’s why he has supported and set-up funding for many local groups in every part of the community including; fetes and shows, your local village hall, youth groups, sports clubs and social clubs.

Speeding traffic makes your communities feel unsafe. That is why Ian has sourced funding for Speedwatch groups in every village that wants to set one up.

Please remember this is a local election to decide who runs your local council services

John Russell (Liberal Democrats)

Served the community for over 30 years as Parish Councillor, Borough Councillor and as County Councillor from 1994 to 1997. Still a Liberal Democrat, still a European and a believer in proportional representation and the need for coalition consensus government.

During the 1990′s Staffordshire became environmentally aware of the dangers of climate change and the need to make sure we leave a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren. I became a member of Sustainable Staffordshire and my particular interest is in energy and food security for us and our descendants.

To this day I pursue the protection of our countryside through CPRE and support the farmers we depend on for the security of our food supply.  The needs of our descendants must have priority over the obsession with maintaining present day property prices. Our children will need a sound economic base to earn a living and I believe that we should take every advantage of the energy riches of our county. At the heart of the UK rail system Staffordshire will benefit enormously from HS2  when world oil supplies run short.  Staffordshire still has huge reserves of coal which contains substantial quantities of gas. Drilling for this gas and encouraging farmers to farm sustainably by generating energy from waste will enable residents to have a more secure future, provided they reduce their energy demands without the need for obtrusive wind turbines.

After the most extreme weather conditions many of us can remember it is disturbing that climate change and the consequences of global warming feature so low in the priorities mentioned by the parties fighting in this election. A severe drought followed by torrential rain found Staffordshire County Council totally wanting in maintaining a road and drainage system necessary for the needs of industry and residents. Resources must be increased to highlight problems before they bring the economy to a halt.

The disaster of the Meaford floods show that County Highways have failed to maintain a knowledge base so that they know where there assets such as culverts are, and regularly inspect them. Staffing of such vital services must be increased so that there is someone can find out the reason for flooding and deal with it in less than the six months it took County Highways to identify the problem. Barlaston Parish Council wrote to County Highways in December asking them to check on the changes at Meaford Hall. Two weeks later, as the closures of the A34 continued, after many telephone calls an engineer gained access and discovered the illegal blockage created 10 years earlier.Even then as Stafford was cut off from Stoke and diverted HGVs destroyed minor road surfaces nothing was done to open up their own culvert on their own land and let the water find its way to the Trent.

If this is the way this administration saves money and maintains the local economy it is clearly time for a change.