Here’s what I know about the candidates for Surrey County Council in Surrey Heath. These are local elections, and residency in the ward is one of my judgements in any election, which I’ll be focussing on in this review. Apologies for this being a rather long post.
There are six county council wards in Surrey Heath, two of which have changed significantly. These two new wards for County Council elections are; Lightwater is now part of a new ward comprising Bisley, Lightwater, and West End; while Chobham joins with Bagshot and Windlesham to create the other new ward.
Bagshot, Chobham, and Windlesham: In this ward two candidates are local parish councillors – Ruth Hutchinson [LibDem] and Mike Goodman [Conservative]. Hear Mike being interviewed HERE. Both have strong links into their communities. Robert Shatwell [UKIP] on the other hand is not resident in the ward – living in Woking. I do think ward residency is a requirement in local politics. Richard Wilson [Labour] brings tribal politics to local elections, which I believe is not appreciated by the majority of the local electorate, being more suited to national politics. He’s also given to gratuitous comment on Twitter and elsewhere about local councillors and others, a sure sign of the lack of the necessary ability to work with others to improve our communities.
Camberley East: I know and respect Bill Chapman [Conservative]. He’s effective both as a Borough and County Councillor, especially valuable are his contributions on the County Council perspective in meetings at Borough Council. I have no knowledge of the other candidates, John Bevan [UKIP] and Linda Phillipson [Labour], other than they are resident in the ward. There’s no Liberal Democrat standing.
Camberley West: As with Camberley East, there are only three candidates, with no Liberal Democrat representation. I know two of the candidates, Rodney Bates [Labour], and Denis Fuller [Conservative]. I’ve no knowledge about Alexander Remfry [UKIP]. Both Rodney and Denis are good candidates. In these two videos, Gilbert Road parking, and Avenue Sucy play area show how Denis as an effective councillor. His work, with others, in ridding Frimley of the car clampers demonstrates a key personal asset for a councillor – tenacity. I’m surprised that Rodney Bates, who’s an effective borough councillor, isn’t standing in his own ward, although I have vague recollections that he has strong links in this ward.
Frimley Green and Mytchett: This ward has a full raft of candidates, Paul Chapman [UKIP], Cindy Ferguson [Liberal Democrat], Jacques Olmo [Labour], and Chris Pitt [Conservative]. Chris Pitt I know, and of his work on adult social care. He’s also a Surrey Heath Borough Councillor. Cindy Ferguson has been a borough councillor for Surrey Heath. Of the other two candidates I know nothing.
Heatherside and Parkside: In this ward it’s only David Ivison [Conservative] that I know. Graham Tapper [Liberal Democrat], Andrew Thomas [UKIP], and Paul Tonks [Labour] are unknown quantities to me. I do find it odd that Andrew Thomas lives in Lightwater, yet isn’t standing that ward. Also, Paul Tonks lives in Camberley East ward.
Lightwater, West End and Bisley: The candidates here are; Fran Bennie [Liberal Democrat], Adrian Page [Conservative], Mick Sheehan [Labour], and Richard Squire [UKIP]. Only two are resident in the ward – Adrian Page, and Mick Sheehan. Fran Bennie lives in Heatherside in Camberley, and Richard Squire in Woking. Why not stand in the area in which you live is my contention.
I consider this particularly important for the two village wards. While obviously many issues are similar, they are not the same. The village communities are distinct and different from the towns of Camberley and Woking. Adrian is located in the heart of the ward, in West End.
We’ll know the results of the County Council elections this Friday. My prediction, for what it’s worth, and I’m no psephologist, is that Conservatives will hold all the Surrey Heath wards, although one will be held by a small margin, as it was last time. Why so, because we’ve got good community-focussed candidates.