As Hampshire County Council elections loom, Havant and Waterlooville reporter TAMARA SIDDIQUI talks to candidates about the burning issues across the borough in need of attention, and what needs to be done to solve them
The current state of Havant’s infrastructure – and the need for 11,250 new homes across the area – is the number one concern for candidates standing to represent the area in the Hampshire County Council elections.
Claims that as they are, roads, schools, and public services cannot provide for more people is an issue shared among the majority of the political parties who have nominated representatives.
This, along with major worries about health and social care services, education funding cuts, and the state of roads have been aired.
Issues some candidates believe should be brought to the forefront with the rest include support for small businesses, the imminent potential danger of water pollution, the rise in council tax and the ‘suffocation of the future generation’. But who is fighting for what?
Standing again for Cowplain and Hart Plain with the Conservatives, who are in power with 47 seats, is councillor David Keast. He said: ‘I fully support the Infrastructure Review in place. Before work on developments start we should establish whether our communities, roads, schools can support them.
‘We desperately need more facilities in health and social care, where those who don’t need to be in hospital but require assistance can stay. This will ease the pressure on QA Hospital.
‘NHS Hampshire was supposed to build a £39m hospital at Havant’s Oak Park site, which was cancelled one month before work was due to start. This project needs to happen, I’ve heard noises around HCC that it will, but I have my doubts.
‘I’m disappointed a lot of services that bus companies run are being cut because not enough people are using them, meaning they’re not making enough of a profit on them; fighting that is something I want to continue.’
Conservative councillor Liz Fairhurst, fighting for the seat in North West Havant, added: ‘In Bedhampton there’s a problem with developments in the wrong places. We need homes but areas being built on aren’t suitable. We need to keep objecting to developments that aren’t suitable.’
Anthony Martin is standing for Purbrook and Stakes South with the Labour party, which has four seats.
He said: ‘Education cuts need to be reversed. About 40 per cent of our children are living in poverty.
‘If we can’t share economic wealth with them, they will have no future. At the moment the system suffocates the next generation.
‘You’ve got people aged 20 to 40 that can’t afford a home because prices are ridiculous.
‘Equality and unity is what Labour is about. Party members may disagree in public but we stand solid in wanting unity and equality for all in England.’
Every four years, voters across Hampshire choose who they want to run the range of essential local services that impact everyday life, for the 1.3m people living in the county council area.
Across the county there are 76 electoral divisions, and areas in Havant make up seven of them. Thirty five potential candidates from six different parties have been put forward for nomination.
Standing for Waterloo and Stakes North is Tim Dawes of the Green Party, which currently holds no seats.
He said: ‘There’s a massive amount of development due to take place without the corresponding infrastructure. With this comes concerns for the environment as we’re seeing a huge increase in traffic and air pollution.
‘The other issue is UKOG’s proposal for unconventional oil and gas extraction and the danger that poses to our drinking water supply.
‘The concerns are shared by professional hydrologists and Portsmouth Water. The aquifer which supplies water to the whole area, Portsmouth included, will be near-on impossible to clean if it becomes polluted.
‘There’s not much to support the training of apprentices in small businesses and the cost of taking them on is high.
‘I’d like to see HCC take on an initiative so the individuals, who set them up and work by themselves or with one or two people, can take on more.
‘This will have a major impact on the economy.’
Dave Walbridge is standing for North West Havant with Ukip, which this year has candidates nominated to fight six out of seven divisions, with seven seats currently.
He said: ‘Council tax goes up year-on-year and it’s important residents get the best value for money. People have a perception that services aren’t growing in line with the increase in money paid, rather they’re seeing cuts, but that is reality too.
‘Efficiency savings can surely be made within HCC.
‘The state of roads are bad, many can’t take much more traffic, which isn’t great as new homes will be built.
‘I’m a cyclist and the potholes are an absolute menace.
‘You find yourself having to dodge them which is very dangerous against moving traffic.
‘Ukip is about honesty and transparency, we don’t claim expenses as a way of saving money and giving back.’
Philippa Gray is standing for North West Havant with the Lib Dems, which currently holds 16 seats.
She said: ‘The cutting of education funds has severely affected schools in Havant.
‘Take Park Community School, they’re going to be losing £200,000.
‘This will have an effect on what pupils can be offered, and they’ll have to lose teachers too. For a school doing such great work in the community, that’s a tragedy.
‘Health and social care need to be more joined-up in thinking so there’s more money for the NHS.
‘It costs £500 a night for someone to stay in hospital – I fully support the building of a hospital at the Oak Park site in Havant.’
COWPLAIN AND HART PLAIN
Fiona Drinan, Lib Dem
Bruce Holman, Green
David Keast, Con
John Picard, Ukip
Howard Sherlock, Lab
EMSWORTH AND ST FAITHS
Ray Bolton, Con
John David, Ukip
Sue Dawes, Green
Munazza Faiz, Lab
Crispin Ward, Lib Dem
Richard Coates, Ukip
Sheree Earnshaw, Lab
Paul Gray, Lib Dem
Sue Holt, Green
John Moore, BNP – Local People First
Lance Quantrill, Con
NORTH EAST HAVANT
Jackie Branson, Con
Malc Carpenter, Ukip
Richard Lanchester, Green
Phil Munday, Lab
Faith Ponsonby, Lib Dem
NORTH WEST HAVANT
Liz Fairhurst, Con
Philippa Gray, Lib Dem
Terry Mitchell, Green
Phil Pearson, Lab
Dave Walbridge, Ukip
PURBROOK AND STAKES SOUTH
Ann Bazley, Lib Dem
Rosie Blackburn, Green
Andy Boxall, Ukip
Gary Hughes, Con
Anthony Martin, Lab
WATERLOO AND STAKES NORTH
Anthony Berry, Lab
Catherine Billam, Lib Dem
Ann Briggs, Con
Tim Dawes, Green
The Hampshire County Council elections will be held on Thursday, May 4.
The county council area covers Havant, Waterlooville, Fareham and Gosport but not Portsmouth and Southampton, as they are governed by unitary authorities.
To be eligible to vote and have your say in the elections, residents must be on the electoral register, having registered by Thursday, April 13. To register, visit gov.uk/register-to-vote.
For those wishing to vote via proxy, applications to Havant Borough Council must be in by 5pm on Tuesday April 25.
Information about how to vote, how to register to vote or check if you are already registered, is available from the Electoral Commission via yourvotematters.co.uk or phone 0333 103 1928.