My heart lies in working for and with the local community to improve our world and make it a better place for everyone. Not the few, not just the many, everyone.
I have worked for over 8 years now as a councillor on Mendip District Council (and on Frome Town Council for 18 moths up to May 2015) with and for the local community on all sorts of issues. I get stuck in and try and sort things out, to stand up and be counted, put my head above the parapet where necessary, to save services, improve local infrastructure and protect the environment on behalf of the local community, because I care and it is my responsibility to do what I can.
Here is a selection of the things I have got involved with over the years – it is my record of action. If you want your next MP to be active and vocal and get stuck in to local issues to try and improve peoples’ lives, you do not have to vote tactically, you can simply vote with your heart, lend me your support and vote for me as your next MP on 12th December.
- I raised climate change as a priority at Mendip in 2016, persuading the council to sign up to fight climate change by joining the Local Government Association’s Climate Local initiative. When we won control of Mendip District Council in May I drafted an action plan priority list which the council is now working to implement.
- Protecting Mendip’s environment and Bath’s hot springs from the threat of fracking, with a strong Lib Dem and cross-party MDC motion in 2013, which was updated in 2019.
- Getting local control of the old Showfield, the largest open space in northern Frome, by persuading Frome Town Council to take over the site, helping overcome a legal impasse, and unlocking £40,000 of improvements and improving management and residents’ involvement. This is now a park to be proud of, with a community orchard and other tree planting, repairs and improvements to the playground, local festivals, community fireworks, fun runs and a weekly Parkrun taking place on improved footpaths.
- Opposing the closure of the Routes drop-in advice centre and cafe for young people in Frome town centre, which closed with 2 weeks notice on 1st November, and working to find a replacement service to support young people in need.
- Leading a campaign to oppose Somerset County Council’s proposed closure of the Getset level 2 service based at the Key Centre and other children’s centres with a petition, video and joint letter with other councillors, which helped increase pressure on the county council to retain the service for another year.
- Supporting local firefighters in campaigning against potential cuts to fire and rescue services in Frome, Martock and Wells.
- Leading objections to proposed changes to the way planning applications at the Commerce Park are handled, so that people living nearby in Frome still get to have their say in front of councillors making these decisions.
- Leading a successful cross party campaign to get Mendip District Council to facilitate Changing Places facilities throughout the district. Severely disabled people and their carers now have accessible toilets in Frome and Wells, and at the Bath & West Showground. This has made a difference to people’s lives, as they no longer have to rush home to go, and it is about giving basic dignity to people.
- Helping the local community in Bruton oppose the proposed forced and rushed proposal by the South West Regional Schools Commissioner that Sexey’s School be taken over by a Multi Academy Trust, which left many parents greatly upset. I helped raise awareness through a leafleting campaign and lobbied decision makers. The MAT pulled out and it is hoped that the school community will now be consulted properly on its future.
- Campaigning for improvements to the GP appointments system in Somerset’s largest GP surgery, to help busy working people, through a survey of patients’ experiences and reporting back to the surgery.
- Helping instigate the Zero Nights homeless rough sleepers winter night shelter in 2018/19, so that no homeless person had to sleep rough in Frome in freezing conditions. We really need this extended to cover nights above freezing.
- Helping people in financial distress by tackling Mendip’s use of Council Tax bailiffs, getting the council to improve its service agreement with bailiff companies and sign up to a good practice protocol with Mendip Citizens Advice.
- Successfully calling for local people to be fully consulted by Mendip before a planning application to regenerate the Saxonvale regeneration site was submitted, leading to two rounds of pre-application consultation before the submission in May.
- Opposing Mendip’s increase in car park charges, helping to win concessions to help the Frome Independent and Shepton Mallet monthly markets.
- Helping the campaign to save the Frome to Bath weekday evening bus service.
- Helping arrange a new bus stop outside Frome Community Hospital and Medical Centre to improve access for patients.
- Working to secure the future of Frome Leisure Centre and £2 million investment through my involvement on MDC’s Steering Group.
- Helped steer the earliest stages of what has become the amazing monthly Frome Independent market which sees 10,000 people visit hundreds of stalls and shops in Frome town centre 10 times a year.
- Worked to protect the Packsaddle play areas from development and transfer them to Frome Town Council, so they could be improved in line with local community wishes earlier this year.
- Campaigned for a new pedestrian crossing at the old Mendip Lodge Hotel site, for new residents and existing residents to be able to cross Bath Road more safely, which was installed in August.
- Responded to and influenced major planning applications: Fromefield Co-op, Stonebridge shops.
- Successfully opposed the over development of the field at the end of Packsaddle Way.
- Organised a public meeting, and kept the pressure on MDC to tackle the massive flytipping problem at Gypsy Lane, as well as flygrazing.
- Litter: Pushed for better street cleaning by MDC. Supported and helped organise community litter picks in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
- Successfully campaigned for 7 day opening at Frome recycling centre.
- Got the Tetrapak recycling in Frome sorted out in 2011, taking over where others in Sustainable Frome left off.
- Supported positive initiatives in Frome, and persuaded FTC to freeze Council Tax in 2014/15 to retain support for the council’s approach, and supported community initiatives through Mendip’s Community Environment Fund.
- Campaigned for better public engagement and devolution of powers from Mendip to Frome.
- Run several 10k races as part of Frome Half Marathon to raise funds for local charities.
As well as all this, as a Liberal Democrat I have campaigned for a People’s Vote on any Brexit deal with an option to remain, on the street and in letters to the press, both during and after the referendum.
I have kept in touch with residents in person on the doorstep over 8 years, via leaflets, email and monthly newsletters, been positive and proactive, and formed good working relationships with everyone I can, to help get things done.
With my party’s support I have won four competitive local elections – in 2011, 2015 and 2019 at Mendip District Council, and December 2013 in a byelection for Frome Town Council (still the last non-IFF candidate to do so). I stood for county council in 2017 and came a strong second. Running for election and winning does prepare you for battles ahead.
If you give me the honour of becoming your MP, I will always put people and planet first, above party politics. I hope you can see some evidence of that here.
Please contact me on 07809 284817 or email@example.com to discuss anything, anytime.
Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate for Somerton & Frome,
3rd November 2019