“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
I live everyday with the above words in my mind. These words have meant so much during the Covid19 pandemic. I believe as a Councillor and currently as Mayor, you have to put into action the changes that will make the World on our doorstep better, the one we see when we go out of our front door. In my case it is Ryde Appley and Elmfield and Ryde, the town on the beach. I simply love Ryde and the Isle of Wight. It is my home. I want to make it a better place for all its residents.
I want to make a difference especially now, as we start to the roadmap of coming out of lockdown and have to rebuild our loves in a post-Covid19 Ryde. I feel I have a proven track record in serving the community I live in.
I have served Ryde Appley and Elmfield residents since 2016 when I won a by-election to Ryde Town Council and as an IW Councillor in 2017. I was elected Mayor of Ryde in 2019. As Mayor I have overseen a transformation of Ryde Town Council throughout the Covid19 pandemic so that it not only supported residents but build a platform to enable the town to grow, develop and provide opportunities for future generations of Ryders. I believe in listening to residents and then taking action.
Get to know Michael
– I am 63 years old (64 in July) with my wife, Julia, and dog, Muddie, I live in Elmfield. I have five grown up children and two grand-children. I was first elected to Ryde Town Council to represent Ryde East (now amalgamated into new Ward of Ryde Appley and Elmfield) in 2016 and to IW Council in 2017. I was elected Mayor of Ryde in 2019.
I was a community psychologist and mental health practitioner for many years and a CEO of a national psychological practice before I retired in 2017. I was a specialist in post-traumatic stress. I now split time between writing children’s books, plays, work as an elected councillor, and being a trustee of local social enterprises and charities.
I am a trustee of IW Youth Trust, a director of Wight Community Energy, Chair of the IW Voluntary Sector and a governor of Dover Park School. I am an active campaigner on mental health, poverty and green issues. During the last year I initiated and very actively involved in the Ryde Covid19 Community Response HUB (supporting residents during the pandemic) and the IW Community Response HUB of 26 local HUBs across the Island. I am a member of the Island Independent Group (opposition) on IW Council. I have been the Vice-Chair of Corporate Scrutiny for the past 3 years and have had successful motions in getting IW Council to declare a climate emergency, sign up to the National Mental Health Challenge, and working towards the decrease the percentage of child poverty on the Island.
I have actively fought against over-development in Ryde especially the building of unneeded homes on greenfield sites, the need for effective community development and fight against poverty in Ryde, mental well-being of residents, better community engagement and restoration of Ryde’s heritage buildings.
As Mayor of Ryde I have led the transformation of the Ryde Town Council (RTC) to have a 5 year Corporate Plan and a Ryde Place Plan. I have supported the establishment of a Ryde Youth service, a community development/connector programme led by Ryde Aspire, purchase of historic buildings such as Vectis Hall and St. Thomas’s Church for community use, the successful gaining of Historic High Street Status and funding, a long-term future plan for Appley Tower and Ryde Theatre and Town Hall.I have always had a regular newsletter in my ward and prior to Covid weekly meetings with residents. I passionately believe in active engagement with residents. I have initiated and joined Our Ryde as a positive way to encourage and support a wider diversity of representatives/councillors on Ryde Town Council and a way to get better involvement and engagement.
My hobbies and things I love are my family and friends, living in Ryde (I love Ryde), spending time on Appley Beach, gardening, my Westie, Muddie, meeting people, spending time pottering in my shed, writing, walking, cooking and eating freshly made food grown locally.
Michael’s Priorities for Ryde Appley and Elmfield:
Coming out of Covid19 with hope – Support Residents through Covid19 by being a lead in the Ryde Covid19 Community Response Team, which I initiated in March 2020.
Save Westridge Farm (Ryde last dairy and working farm) – The Planning Application for West Acre Park on Westridge Farm land for 465 houses in addition to the 86 houses currently being built is awaiting to go to IW Council planning committee. I have campaigned since 2016 against housing on this site and to support the tenant farmers to remain and develop a community farm that provides fresh milk, eggs, and fresh local farm produce to future generations of Ryde.
Pennyfeathers, Westridge Junction and Nicolson Road site 2 – I am continuing to try to influence and object to these major developments south of the Ward. I am objecting to the current Pennyfeathers reserved matters application, fighting to get Westridge Junction derelict houses back into housing use, and a community based eco-business park plan for Nicolson Road that preserves as much green space as possible, creates jobs for local people, and provides need sports, creation, health and community facilities for residents in the South/East of the Ward. I am also fighting to get a road infrastructure plan that improves the lives of residents blighted by heavy traffic living on High Park, Marlborough and Great Preston Roads.
Victoria Crescent Depot – Continue to work with the land owner and local house builder and local residents in building 4 bungalows and house for the local community. The importance of developing housing on brownfield sites in residential such as Victoria Crescent as Greenfield sites. The alternative to this depot site was to be a container yard with large vehicles visiting daily which is unsuitable for a residential area.
Appley Beach, Park and Tower – I have campaigned since 2016 for Appley Tower from being sold by IW Council and preserved for the community. This is now coming into reality with a completed feasibility study and currently a full renovation and reopening plan being prepared that will result in funding application to Heritage Lottery in 21/22 with building work starting in 2023. I am working with Southern Water to get the sink hole and damage to the sewage plant built under the park done as soon as possible so the Park can be safe for residents and visitors before the Summer. I am also campaigning for the Oak tree removed due to the sink hole to be replaced and for further tree planting to replace trees that have been lost to storms/weather over the years especially in little Appley.
Waterside Pool and Canoe Lake – I have supported Waterside to get funding from Ryde Town Council and Government to survive Covid19 lockdown and be able to fully open in the summer of 2021. I am working with Waterside, Ryde Town and IW Councils to have a long term plan to improve and rebuild the canoe lake and develop the Waterside recreation and sports offer.
Improving Roads and Traffic in the Ward- I am continually lobbying IWC Highways and Island Roads over pothole repairs and stop delaying rebuilding and resurfacing High Park Road, Great Preston, and Marlborough Roads.
Road Safety of children and families accessing Oakfield School – I am working with residents, schools, highways about the road safety issues when children are accessing the school during term times.
Community Facilities and Places to get help and support in Ward – I am actively working with St John’s Church, Sovereign Housing Association, Ryde Community Connector programme, Ryde Aspire, Network Ryde (youth service), Ryde FoodBank and residents in ensuring there is improved access to community facilities and help post-Covid including support to repair of St.John’s Church and hall.
Preserving Green Space including St. John’s Park/Wood, Appley Park and Rosemary Fields – I am working with St.John’s Park trust for RTC to purchase the 6.5 acres of park/wood to preserve it for the community and local residents. I secured land on Nicolson Road now called Rosemary fields for community use and recreation last year. I am working to make sure there is a proper plan for Appley Park.
Clean streets and dog fouling
Keeping residents informed through regular newsletter – Look Local and monthly Ward meetings/surgeries at St.John’s Church Hall post lockdown.