My monthly article submitted for June 2021 edition of Island Magazine (Ryde edition) www.rydemagazine.co.uk
I am overjoyed to be re-elected as an Isle of Wight and Ryde Town Councillor for Ryde Appley and Elmfield with 832 and 911 votes. I wish to thank all the residents that had confidence in me. In Ryde, I am the current Mayor and standing for re-election and at the time of writing I am awaiting this outcome. I have been so proud to be Mayor and oversee massive change in Ryde Town Council over the past 2 years including through Covid19. The community spirit and perseverance of Ryde residents has been incredible.
I am part of the new Our Ryde group that was formed by local residents who wanted to see improved representation on Ryde Town Council . Our Ryde had 9 candidates for the 16 Council places and incredibly won 9 seats with 58% of the votes cast. Ryde now has an average of around 50 compared of 74 previously and 6 women compared to 4 previously and with 14 of the Councillor seats being contested by election. In 2017, less than 50% were contested. There are 10 new RTC Councillors with 6 from the previous council and all live or work in or close by the Ward they represent. The new Councillors are committed along with me to greater community engagement in decision making in the future of the Town.
West Acre Park Development Planning Application
My biggest focus at present is the pending planning application of 465 houses on Westridge Farm and this is scheduled to come to planning committee on 15th June 2021. I have campaigned for 4 years to prevent this development which will destroy the last working farm and the livelihood of a tenant farming family who are an important part of our community. I am leading the objections to the application with objectors including Ryde Town Council, Nettlestone & Seaview Councils, Bob Seeley MP and 100/1000s of local residents.
Appley Park Sink Hole
It is also a priority to make sure Southern Water repair the broken sewage system under Appley Car Park as soon as possible although I have been told this will not be finished until October 2021 which is disastrous. I am seeking compensation for the community and local businesses/organisations/ beach hut owners who are directly affected.
Who is power at local Councils?
Post-elections are always a nervous time as newly elected Councils decide who is doing what and this is the current case in particular at IW Council. Ryde Town Council has a great new set of Councillors and a fantastic staff team. It has a five year plan, a charter and vision. IW Council, however, is now in NOC (No Overall Control) with Conservatives with 18 and Non-Conservatives with 21 and this group hopefully will form an administration.
My priority is to make sure Ryde residents get the best deal and support post Covid19 so we can grow and prosper.