Local elections: Gosport considered a 'key battleground' amid boundary restructure and partygate scandal

WITH every single seat up for grabs next week, Gosport is a town that even the national media is keeping an eye on.

Friday, 29th April 2022, 4:21 pm

A full reset of the council will be a good indication of the national political picture, and the true extent of the local damaged caused by Boris Johnson's partygate scandal.

The reason every seat is up for election is that the Local Government Boundary Commission has redrawn Gosport's ward map, removing six seats and three wards - leaving space for 28 councillors across 14 wards.

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Gosport is one of the big national battlegrounds for this year's local elections. Picture: David George

Political parties have known for some time that this was on the cards, and have been making preparations for a couple of years.

The Daily Mail has outlined Gosport as a key national battleground for this year's election, saying the outcome in the town remains 'unpredictable'.

Currently, Gosport has a small Conservative majority led by Cllr Graham Burgess, with a Liberal Democrat opposition headed up by Cllr Peter Chegwyn and one Labour councillor, Cllr June Cully.

The Green Party is also fielding five candidates, with Dale Fletcher being the only independent candidate for the new Harbourside and Town ward.

But while the national drama rages on in Westminster, Gosport residents have shared their concerns about local issues that could also turn the tide of this election.

One of these issues is the future of Gosport bus station. The council has promised a total waterfront regeneration, but plans have continually stalled over the past decade.

June Aldridge, 82 from Elson, said: 'I don't drive anymore - I go everywhere by bus - so if I go into town I usually end up at the bus station.

'We've read about it for donkey's years in the paper, how the council plans to do it all up and make it nice, but nothing has been done.

'If there's no money for it then I'd rather they just said so and let somebody else take on the job. If they can convince me that there's a plan in action for the bus station, then they'll have my vote.'

Hampshire County Council's takeover of on-street parking has also been a concern for some.

Roger Birdwood, 73 from Bridgemary, said: 'You have to pay for on-street parking in Lee-on-the-Solent now and it's been a real pain.

'My worry is the county council will try and put parking meters elsewhere in Gosport too, so we need councillors who can push back against that.

'They can't just focus on the finances because if people get fed up with paying to park then they might just go somewhere else instead.'

But some Gosport residents remain focused on the partygate scandal, and see local elections as their chance to make their feelings known.

Lewis Ward, 47 from Forton, said: 'People know that the best way to make their feelings known is by voting with their feet.

'If this scandal means Boris has lost a lot of support, and that gets reflected in how these elections pan out, then I reckon there will be even more calls to resign - even from his own party.'

Edwina Smith, 86 from Lee-on-the-Solent, added: 'In all my life I have never seen a prime minister under such scrutiny.

'It goes to show how much hot water he is in, and I do believe it's going to have quite an impact on the way people vote in the elections.'

Below are all of the candidates within each ward.

Alverstoke ward

Kevin Francis Casey - Conservative Party

William Frederick Dixon Francis - Liberal Democrats

Adele Louise Earle - Liberal Democrats

Jonathan James Eaton - Labour Party

Zoe Huggins - Conservative Party

Sam Pollard - Green Party

Anglesey ward

Alison Charlton - Liberal Democrats

Aretha Green - Labour Party

Phillip Raffaelli - Conservative Party

Robert Salter - Liberal Democrats

Alan Scard - Conservative Party

Bridgemary ward

Martyn Davis - Labour Party

Stephen Hammond - Liberal Democrats

Kathy Jones - Conservative Party

Bob Maynard - Liberal Democrats

Supriya Namdeo - Conservative Party

Brockhurst and Privett ward

Linda Batty - Conservative Party

Sean Blackman - Conservative Party

Robert Hylands - Liberal Democrat

Alison Mandrill - Labour Party

Stephen Marshall - Liberal Democrats

Elson ward

Sue Ballard - Liberal Democrats

Richard Earle - Liberal Democrats

Natasha Hook - Conservative Party

Kathryn Kelly - Green Party

Alan Neville - Conservative Party

Emma Smith - Labour Party

Forton ward

Mervin Bradley - Liberal Democrat

Peter Chegwyn - Liberal Democrat

Sue Desbois - Conservative Party

Claire Percival - Labour Party

Gary Walker - Conservative Party

Grange and Alver Valley ward

Jonathan Brown - Labour Party

Clive Foster-Reed - Liberal Democrats

Tony Jessop - Conservative Party

Maggie Morgan - Conservative Party

Hilary Percival - Labour Party

Harbourside and Town ward

June Cully - Labour Party

Alan Durrant - Labour Party

Susan Ely - Liberal Democrat

Dale Fletcher - no description

Lesley Meenaghan - Conservative Party

Rob Thompson - Conservative Party

Hardway Ward

Kirsty Cox - Liberal Democrats

Simon Davis - Labour Party

Diane Furlong - Conservative Party

Kay Hallsworth - Conservative Party

Jamie Hutchison - Liberal Democrat

Leesland and Newton ward

Chris Best - Conservative Party

Miles Fletcher - Green Party

David Gary - Conservative Party

Dawn Kelly - Liberal Democrats

Charis Noakes - Labour Party

Aaron Pinder - Reform UK

Julie Westerby - Liberal Democrat

Lee East ward

Kristen Bradley - Liberal Democrat

Graham Burgess - Conservative Party

Jess Cully - Labour Party

Ian Orr - Conservative Party

Martin Suter - Green Party

Lee West ward

Zoe Aspinall - Green Party

John Beavis - Conservative Party

Anne Cruddas - Labour Party

John Gledhill - Conservative Party

Peel Common ward

Lynn Hook - Conservative Party

Martin Pepper - Liberal Democrat

Stephen Philpott - Conservative Party

Daniel Stratton - Labour Party

Rowner and Holbrook ward

Paddy Bergin - Conservative Party

David Herridge - Liberal Democrat

Murray Johnston - Liberal Democrat

Paul Noakes - Labour Party