WITH Gosport Borough Council elections taking place next week we spoke to the candidates to find out what matters to them.
Local elections take place on May 3.
Kevin Casey (Con): ‘I have been very active in Alverstoke for many years serving on the Friends of Stokes Bay and the Gosport Society Committees. I will endeavour to represent and work hard for Anglesey ward to the best of my ability and to continue the high standard set by councillor Peter Edgar.’
Jonathan Eaton (Lab): ‘I have lived in Alverstoke all my life, attending local schools and college. I believe Labour’s proposal for widening parts of the A32 would improve traffic flow and reduce air pollution. We also need better connected bus routes, more cycleways, and better links to the rail network.’
Alan Scard (Con): ‘I have lived in Anglesey for over 40 years so share the concerns you face in Anglesey. My main local achievement has been keeping local bus services for Anglesey residents, putting your needs first, to get you the best deal and to put the needs of Anglesey at the top of Gosport Borough Council’s agenda.’
Paul Noakes (Lab): ‘I have lived in Gosport for the past 20 years. I recently retired and will be able to devote more time to tackling the problems we face here. If I am elected on to the council I will be campaigning for more transparency on how our council tax is being spent.’
Peter Batty (Con): ‘Having served in the army and being posted to St George’s Barracks, I made my home in Gosport where I have stayed for over 40 years. I have an understanding of the issues that affect you on a day to day basis in our area. I would like bring investment, jobs, regeneration and conservation to our area.’
Alan Durrant (Lab): Alan is a semi-retired tutor and a full time campaigner for and accident and emergency facility centre for Gosport and the surrounding area. He wants safety measures put in to slow down traffic in Bridgemary. Alan is also campaigning to stop any further housing development between Gosport and Fareham.
Martin Pepper (Lib Dem): Martin was an army officer for 28 years and more recently worked as a public servant for various Government departments. Recently retired he is now a local community campaigner and editor of the Bridgemary ‘Focus’ newsletter. He is campaigning to stop Fareham Council building 475 houses alongside Newgate Lane with access via Tukes Avenue through Bridgemary.
Linda Batty (Con): ‘I have lived in Gosport since I was a young girl, working in Bridgemary Library and living in the area means I know and understand the issues in our area. It has been an honour to be this year’s mayor and if re-elected, I will continue to work hard on behalf of our community.’
James Fox (Lab): James attended Bridgemary primary and secondary schools and later worked for local firms, Haslar hospital and the MoD. Top of James’ list for a better Bridgemary is community safety and increased local policing to address residents’ concerns about recent increases in crime, especially vandalism, graffiti, drug abuse and other anti-social behaviour.
Stephen Marshall (Lib Dem): Steve lives within the Bridgemary South ward. Married, Steve works as a taxi driver. Before moving to Gosport he was a councillor in Havant where he was the Liberal Democrat leader, making him an experienced councillor and campaigner. As a keen football fan Steve wants to see the council providing better sports and leisure facilities in Gosport.
Simon Bellord (Con): ‘Working locally, I loved the Gosport area and moved here a few years ago. I want to continue to make Brockhurst a better place to live. I’m standing because I believe I have a lot of good experience to offer and I feel for the people of Brockhurst who have told me they are particularly poorly served by their existing councillor.’
Stephanie Brazier (Lab): ‘I am a registered nurse, currently working at Salisbury hospital. On a daily basis, I see the effects of underfunding in the NHS. It has been run down and slowly privatised. After years of having a Conservative majority council, Gosport is ready for a change to reflect the real needs of this town.’
Austin Hicks (Lib Dem): Austin has lived in the Brockhurst ward for 17 years. Married with two grown-up children he works as an accountant. Austin was first elected to Gosport Borough Council in 2006. He has represented Brockhurst for four years since 2014. He is keen to help protect Gosport’s pub heritage and support small businesses in the town.
Jane Staffieri (Green): Jane is a long-time resident of Gosport and the ward of Brockhurst. She had been a member of the Green Party ‘forever’. Jane, a vegetarian, is passionate about animal rights and protecting the environment. She relishes the opportunity to represent the residents of Brockhurst as a councillor, and to be an advocate of green issues on the council.
David Foster (Ukip): ‘Having lived in Gosport for 25 years I can see where changes need to be made. There are many opportunities not to be missed. I feel I can bring some different views and assistance to the area and the council with a fresh view and aspect that will be an asset.’
Wayne Ronayne (Con): ‘Serving in Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy for 34 years, I made Gosport my home and want to give something back to our local community in Christchurch. I am a working councillor who will work for Christchurch, with a vision beyond 2020!’
Chris Percival (Lab): ‘I live in Christchurch ward with my wife and son. I have worked on social housing and welfare for over a decade, and have a real understanding of the difficult situations many families and individuals in Gosport face. I will fight for real democracy in Gosport, rather than the current situation of decisions being made behind closed doors.’
Julie Westerby (Lib Dem): Julie lives within the Christchurch ward and has lived in Gosport almost all her life. Julie has worked in the dockyard, at Portsmouth University and at a local infant school before re-training as a surveyor working on council housing. She is a member of the Gosport Speedwatch initiative and is keen to improve Gosport’s recycling record.
Craig Hazel (Con): ‘I have lived in Elson all my life, attending Elson schools and Brune Park, I understand and know the problems facing our area. I have represented you for four years on Gosport Borough Council and have a proven record of success when dealing with local issues and would like to continue with that.’
Emma Smith (Lab): ‘I have lived in Gosport for over 30 years and went to local schools. Family and community are very important to me. My biggest concerns for young families are the lack of affordable housing, the closure of support networks like SureStart and the cut in funding for schools.’
Susan Ballard (Lib Dem): Sue lives within the Elson ward and has been an Elson councillor for 12 years. She works for a charity helping the homeless. Sue also runs her own successful property management business. She is keen to improve children’s play facilities and support community and voluntary groups in Gosport.
Alan Neville (Ind): ‘I have lived in the area for six years and have also been a regular visitor to the town since 1986. As a result I have seen some huge changes in Gosport over the years. I passionately believe in a better and more representative Gosport and that voting independent in the coming council election will lead to this.’
Gary Walker (Con): ‘Living in the area, community matters to me in both fundraising with the Gosportarians and representing your views with the Forton Surgery SOS Campaign. I will continue to work all year round; working for you all year, every year - to get things done and work for you!’
Daniel Smith (Lab): ‘I settled in Gosport 20 years ago, when there was a cinema, free parking and a police station with officers in it. Much has changed since. I commute to work and face the long delays and high pollution levels. Gosport needs more local jobs, more affordable housing and a council that listens to its residents.’
Clive Foster-Reed (Lib Dem): Clive grew up in Forton, attended local schools and has lived in the Forton area for most of his life. A marketing and IT specialist, Clive has represented Forton on Gosport Council for 12 years. His main interests are housing, planning and ensuring the council does more for the young and elderly.
Monica Cassidy (Green): Monica has lived in Gosport since 2006. As a former Gosport parliamentary candidate she is concerned with social justice, the rights to health and adequate wealth to live, environmental concerns and sustainability. She is keen to promote Forton on the council to ensure that it is adequately rewarded in council spending reviews for its contribution.
Tony Jessop (Con): ‘I have lived in Grange for 16 years and have seen the transformation to Alver Village and I am keen to see the progress continue. I want to continue to work with the people of Grange, to make it the place that people aspire to live.’
Hetty Ollivant (Lab): Hetty has lived in Gosport for most of her life. She is a self-employed child care professional with two young children, and also secretary for a local primary school PTA and treasurer for the Nicholson Hall pre-school. Hetty is always ready to take on local issues that affect the local community.
Lynne Pyle (Lib Dem): Lynne grew up in Gosport and has lived here all her adult life. Lynne has been involved in many local community organisations and projects and helped organise the Residents’ Association annual Fun Day for many years. Lynne wants to do her best to represent the views of her local community.
Roger Allen (Con): ‘As a former engineer in the army, I made Hardway my home for over 15 years and know the area well. Making decisions on behalf of those who elect me to office is something that I take very seriously and I accept that people expect me to make judgements based on facts, doing what is best for Hardway and Gosport.’
Mark Smith (Lab): Mark is a retired secondary school teacher. A former local councillor, he represented Town ward in the early 2000s when Labour ran the council. He is the current chair of the local Labour party and had worked on Labour’s regular community clean-ups, campaigning to save our NHS and to protect education.
James Hutchison (Lib Dem): Jamie served in the Royal Navy seeing action in the Falklands on HMS Glasgow and was awarded the meritorious service medal. He then worked with young people in crisis for over 10 years in Gosport. Recently retired he now wishes to devote his time to community service and the Hardway area in which he lives.
Piers Bateman (Con): ‘I first came to the area as a young boy when my father was posted here, I have always loved Lee and living in Lee I want to see the best for our area. I am a straight forward, free-speaking family man and believe actions speak louder than words.’
Caroline Osborne (Lab): ‘I live in Lee and combine part-time work with raising three wonderful daughters. I believe we need real democracy in Gosport not a council run by one party behind closed doors. It’s vital we support local businesses and services in Lee if we want to keep them.’
Chris Carter (Con): ‘Gosport is my home-town. My family had pre-WWI business connections and a strong military background. I am passionate about Lee. I very much value contact with local residents and will continue to strive to do my best to deal with issues as they arise.’
Jill Whitcher (Lab): ‘I am an experienced campaigner, well-known to Lee residents. I believe that the Conservatives running both local and county councils have let Gosport down badly. I am especially worried about the cuts to social care, the closing of children’s centres and the £200,000 annual reduction in funding to Gosport’s schools.’
Leesland (two seats up for grabs)
Natasha Hook (Con): ‘I have lived and worked in Gosport all my life and want to achieve the best for our area. I would be a dynamic, enthusiastic, energetic and young face on the council as I believe it would be good to have a younger person’s outlook on what is needed to take Gosport and Leesland forward.’
Rebecca Stares (Con): ‘I live in the heart of Leesland and my daughter attends Leesland Infant School so I understand the issues that are facing families in Leesland and in Gosport. As the daughter of Tony Stares and granddaughter of Jim Stares, I have a great connection with Gosport. I want to represent your views.’
Charis Noakes (Lab): ‘I worked at Haslar Hospital for 13 years and for USDAW, the shopworkers’ trade union, for eight years. I’m angry about the effects of government cuts on our local services and the arrogant way health secretary Jeremy Hunt treats our NHS staff. I’m amazed by how few opportunities residents and even elected councillors get to discuss local priorities and spending. It’s time for a change on Gosport Council.’
Alison Mandrill (Lab): Alison has lived in Gosport all her life and has lived in Leesland ward for the past 10 years. She has been a member of the Labour party for 30 years and has been active for most of them. She is also a lay representative for a trade union.
Peter Chegwyn (Lib Dem): Peter is Gosport’s longest-serving councillor having first been elected to the borough council in 1983 and Hampshire County Council in 1985. He has been a Councillor for the Leesland Ward since 1988. Peter is a company director for his own parliamentary and campaigns consultancy and the award-winning Wickham Music Festival.
David Herridge (Lib Dem): David was born in Stubbington and has lived in the Gosport area all his life. After completing an engineering apprenticeship at British Rail he now works for Pall Corporation. David is a member of various local community groups including the Hardway, Elson & District Community Association, the Royal Air Forces Association and the WPM Club in Leesland.
Sam Pollard (Green): Sam has lived in Gosport since the age of nine. Leesland has been home to her, her husband and three children for 16 years. She currently works at St. John’s School. Leesland has a high population density; Sam is keen to ensure that Leesland receives its fair share of local funding from the council.
David Sekules (Green): David divides his time between being a business consultant, a single parent and a local charity volunteer - assisting local homeless people wherever he can. David has some concerns that some Gosport Borough Council policies do not seem to address issues of sustainability. He hopes for the opportunity to give Gosport a Green voice.
Lynn Hook (Con): ‘Growing up and being educated in Bridgemary, I have lived in Gosport all my life and have recently retired from running The Card Shop in the High Street. I believe it is right to represent the views of local people and put that before politics by addressing environmental issues affecting Peel Common.’
Martyn Davis (Lab): ‘I was formerly councillor for Bridgemary North and chair of the regulatory board. There are many issues: bus services that work for the residents, improvement of the housing stock and the number of affordable homes, the “look” of Gosport, the lack of incentive for business in the High Street and the declining Gosport market.’
Sean Blackman (Con): ‘As a local reverend, I have a passion for serving our local community. I have been happily ‘My various roles have had an underlying aspect of serving communities and I hope to serve Privett residents and represent them on the local council.’
Annelies James (Lab): No statement provided.
Russell Thomas (Green): ‘I have lived in Gosport for most of my life and reside here with my wife and three children. I am incredibly passionate about our local health and social care services. As the Green party local election for Privett, I would advocate for all these and our local environment.’
Rowner and Holbrook
Patrick Bergin (Con): ‘Living in Holbrook I am keen to continue working with the local community on a number of projects such as Speedwatch and Halloween on The Green. If re-elected my key aim will be to continue to expand on the community projects that I have been able to initiate and which have been very successful, to carry on as a voice for my area in the group and a voice for Gosport in the council chamber and on the boards that I am a member of.’
Tim Ryan (Lab): ‘I grew up in the Rowner area, attending Grange Schools. Since then I have travelled for work, before returning home to Gosport. Too many local people aren’t listened to or given the power to make choices about how the town is run. It is time to put residents first and revitalise the town we all call home.’
Murray Johnston (Lib Dem): Murray has lived in the Ronwer and Holbrook area for much of his life. He works for an independent insurance broker where he specialises in niche market motor and home insurance. He wants to see more young people on the council and is keen to improve facilities for young people in Gosport.
Lesley Meenaghan (Con): ‘I am passionate about Town, having served in the Navy and Air Force, then as a local police sergeant and now working in Gosport Discovery Centre, I want to give something back to the community. If elected I will bring drive and energy, a ‘can do’ attitude, reinvigorate a sense of pride of our home town, working with the community and partners to maximise our towns potential.’
June Cully (Lab): June was first elected in 1996 to represent Town ward on Gosport Borough Council. She has been proud to serve the residents and work with them to protect the environment and improve the facilities. She believed residents’ needs and hopes must be given high priority when the council considers proposals to re-develop the waterfront/bus station site.