I am very keen to become your councillor and hope you can spare a few minutes to read this leaflet.
A remarkable campaigner: I have been an exceptionally active and successful campaigner in Nuneaton for some five years. This began with lobbying on local environmental issues and then I found out about how rotten things are at our councils. I have been to many meetings of borough and county councils, various consultations and hospital board meetings. My campaigning has included fighting against hospital cuts, cuts in our fire service, reduction of our Virgin train service and against inappropriate waste plants. My biggest success so far has been stopping a hazardous waste plant, planned for the Judkins site just west of Nuneaton. Lots of people helped fight this plant but for the first 5 months I was the only active objector. The Labour councillors initially ignored the planning application. I know they did not want to give the plant wider publicity at that point when they were facing the Green Party in the 2008 local elections.
Protecting local services: Under the Tories care for the elderly is being outsourced and charges hiked. In Nuneaton, our library staff are to be replaced with self-service kiosks. School admissions areas are being changed to fill up the planned academy in Arbury. Whatever your age you will be expected to pay more for reduced services from the County Council. We all know that our councils waste a lot of our money on expenses, and consultants who normally recommend the use of more consultants and through poor management. I see so much money being wasted each time I go to council meetings. I would cut the ridiculous new Borough Council staff motoring rate of 82p a mile.
Protecting the Fire service: The planned changes for this borough will mean the loss of 1 fire station, 9 full time and 11 retained fire fighters. The South of Warwickshire lose retained staff but gain 25 full timers. Overall the sharpest cuts will be here. Consultation responses are now in a locked room until after the elections. Without Bedworth fire station and staff we will have less cover, as Bedworth is the 4th busiest in the county. The West Midlands fire chief considered the cuts unsound.
We cannot take 15,000 more homes: The Tory-led regional assembly approved a massive housing target for Nuneaton and Coventry. Last year we had a consultation on the areas for new building. The consultation did not allow us to challenge the numbers. Where they will go is being kept secret until after the election. Nuneaton has far less green space than any other part of Warwickshire. Our roads, schools, drains and standard of life will not cope well with massive new housing estates for those who wish to migrate out of Coventry or Leicester. We do need a few hundred extra new homes in Nuneaton each year. These new homes should be designed to meet the needs of people from Nuneaton who are starting a family and for those downsizing once the children have left home.
Challenging incompetent and lazy councillors: I have spoken at cabinet meetings to warn them about mistakes they were about to make. Sadly, speaking as a member of the public, my comments are normally ignored. I tried to stop the outgoing Labour administration at the Borough Council voting to increase the borrowing limit. Despite my warnings they invested three million pounds in an Icelandic bank. The £3,000,000 is now in limbo. We will only get part of it back.
Stopping expenses fraud: Shockingly county councillors’ expenses were paid without anyone looking if they were valid. I used the Freedom of Information Act to find out the expenses details of Tory Whitestone County Councillor Martin Heatley. He claimed £8,672 in 2008/9. It seems he claimed for excessive mileage, for meetings it appears he did not attend and twice for the same trip to Swansea. Local claims included 100 miles for a return trip to Leicester and 20 miles for a trip to Bermuda Village, about a mile each way from his farm. They even paid for 40 miles for a return trip to Coventry on the 32nd March! Cllr Heatley had a local standards hearing where only the defence presented their case. The 3-man jury included a fellow Tory freemason. I was not allowed to speak during the hearing. Cllr Heatley still sits on the cabinet of Warwickshire County Council, and is in charge of the finance department.
Voting Tory will not help: The county council will still have a large Tory majority after this by-election. Another Tory councillor will be expected to tow the Warwickshire party line and put Party ahead of the needs of this area. I have seen how the Party controls its councillors. This is one of the safest Tory wards in Warwickshire and a vote for the Tories here is a wasted vote. A strong Green vote should shock them and make them work harder.
A positive vote: I will be a very active councillor and will proactively improve the area. I want an entrance on the Weddington side of the railway station with bus stop, taxi rank and dropping off point. This would allow some traffic to avoid the stupid one-way system. I also want the traffic lights over the Leicester Road bridge synchronised to reduce traffic backlog and pollution. I want better junctions off the estates. We need Low Emissions zones for lorries over 7.5 tonnes so that the most polluting lorries are banned in Nuneaton. We need a crackdown on litter especially around schools, colleges and the subway under the main railway lines. We also need better street lighting.
A green vote will be significant: Last year 16% voted Green in this ward. I know I will have to work hard to get elected. If I had joined the big parties it is likely that I would already be a county councillor. If you go to a council meeting you can see why I will not join the old parties.
Just the start: We hope the Green Party will have its first MPs after the general election. We are standing in half the seats in the general election and have just pledged an £170 basic state pension.
I hope you will contact me if you have ideas for improving Nuneaton or to find out more. We are at the start of a period of change. There has never been a more important time to have a few Greens on the council.