I am supporting Tom Hanley in the Ryde Appley and Elmfield by-election as a resident who lives in the ward, his active involvement in local issues, his understanding of local issues, his attendance regularly of ward meetings, his voluntary work and community activism, his skills with construction industry being beneficial to heritage building restoration projects in Ryde, and his commitment to being a true Ryde independent with no national political allegiances.
I don’t support his opponent Lou Temel for the following reasons:
- Lives in Ryde West – He does not live in the Ward and shows no knowledge of the issues facing local residents in Ryde Appley and Elmfield. His letter to residents only lists the splash park and no other ward issue such as planning applications, the loss of Westridge Farm, loss of Greenfields and the West Acre Park planning application, Appley Park and Tower, road and traffic issues, cost-of-living crisis and hardships faced this winter by residents, and any understanding of the identity and history of the Appley and Elmfield community. Mr Temel has never been involved in the splash park before and I am sure he knows the decision to not reopen the splash park was Waterside Trust and IW Council’s decision not Ryde Town Council’s decision. In fact, former Ryde Appley and Elmfield Councillor, Lisa Carter, and Our Ryde candidate, Tom Hanley are part of the RTC led splash park working group. Perhaps, if Mr Temel lived in the Ryde Appley and Emfield ward, he would know these things.
- A Member of Conservative Party – He fails to inform residents that he is an active member of the Conservative and has stood in previous election as a Conservative. He states he is standing for Concerned Residents Awareness Group when such a group does not exist and when clearly, he and his agent, Steve Sheridan, are active members of Conservative Party, not independents. This is misleading and giving a false impression. Residents in Ryde Appley and Elmfield deserve respect and not deceit. Mr Temel fails to inform residents that when he was a Ryde Town Council (2019-21) he voted for the current RTC Corporate Plan 2020-25 and Ryde Place Plan, which both include all the building and business development projects which he now disputes in his letter.
- Incorrect and inaccurate Information – Mr Temel’s letter to residents has many inaccurate and misleading points which are presented as facts. It is causing worry and anxiety when simply misrepresentation.
- Iconic Appley Tower – Mr Temel quotes Ryde Town Council committing £300,000 towards the Tower which is totally untrue. Ryde Town Council historically budgeted only £40,000 contribution as a collaborative partnership with IW Council, and local charity, Natural Enterprise, which leverages in a further £400,000 to restore, repair and renovate this iconic building which is a symbol of the Town. I argue that RTC £1 levering £10 of external funding in a project that will enhance the community and tourism asset of Appley Park and Beach, is a sound investment. This whole project has gone through proper consultation and community involvement to get to the stage of successfully being funded.
- No Closure of St. John’s Hill Toilets – Mr Temel implies the closure of these facilities when in fact Ryde Town Council is reviewing the safety issues in regard to these toilets due to possible legionnaires disease and considering whether new toilets directly in the Town Centre would be more suitable. He fails to point out that Ryde has invested in its own maintenance and cleaning team and has a strategy of improving its facilities such as public toilets not closing them.
- St. Thomas Church as a new youth centre for the Town – Mr Temel criticises RTC for buying this important historic building from private ownership and developing a plan to bring it back into community use as a designated youth and community centre. Currently, RTC rents a building for its youth service, Network Ryde, and through purchase of St. Thomas’s will save money. For a £200,000 investment, RTC has levered in £180,000 of grants and is now waiting on the final decision of a further £550,000 grant award. Instead of a poor investment implied by Mr Temel, St. Thomas’s is a very sound investment in our heritage and future generations.
- Harbour, Marina, Deckchairs and Beach Operation – Mr Temel again makes insinuation this was a bad decision when in fact he was part of RTC’s decision to takeover a run down and poor looking facility from IW Council for £1 and gain the existing income of the harbour and build on it. In 2022, RTC has transformed the Harbour into an exciting Marina and Beach operation, increased income through over 90% of berth occupancy, and launched an exciting beach operation. This summer the esplanade and beaches in Ryde have come alive and visitor numbers have risen dramatically which overall increases the Ryde economy. Through the beach operation and RTC’s funding of beach lifeguards, over 30 young people gained employment along with Ryde Town Council’s youth employment kick-start employment programme which helped over 22 young people into jobs. Again, I cannot understand why Mr Temel is trying to give the impression this is not a good thing. Every venture has to have a strong business case before investment is considered including the reinstatement of a Dotto Train, which was a past important attraction in the Town. Again Mr Temel, seems to want to imply RTC does not have strong management skills and is taking risks, which is far from the truth.
- Saving the Town Hall and Theatre – Mr Temel implies RTC is going borrow a huge amount of money to save Ryde’s historic and culturally important Town Hall and Theatre when it is totally inaccurate. RTC is actually bringing all stakeholders together to develop a community trust to raise sufficient funds from donations, grants and a variety of sources as part of a strategic development to save empty and dilapidated buildings ang bring them back to community and economic use. RTC successfully has brought in over £3-4 Million into the Town in collaboration with other stakeholders to improve the historic infrastructure of the Town.
- Vectis Hall – Ryde Town Council bought this historic listed building from private ownership that had let it simply rot. RTC has gained grants to develop a sustainable long-term plan to rebuild and restore Vectis Hall as future Council offices and a community centre. Currently RTC rents offices and once the building is fully restored RTC will have an increased valued asset and save a large amount of rent. The Town in the past has owned no property and reliant on only one source of income, the annual precept. The Corporate Plan agreed by Mr Temel when he was a Councillor clearly has a financial strategy to develop other sources of income, build assets and reserves, lever in £4-10 externally for every Ryde 1, borrow prudently for growth, and make Ryde an attractive place for investment, tourism, to live and work, business opportunities and employment creation. In the future RTC will have a healthy mixed income, have strong financial security, and ability to lower precept if it wishes at that time.
- Ability of Ryde Town Council’s Staff Team – Lastly, Mr Temel questions the ability and effectiveness of the Ryde Town Council staff team which is truly insulting to them and Ryde as a whole. RTC has invested in its staff and last year, the National Association of Local Council’s awarded RTC Clerk, the best newcomers award. RTC has developed a small bespoke professional team that have the skills for the Council to reduce the need to bring in or contract external expertise. It has now in place a community development worker with Ryde Aspire, a skilled youth worker team, experienced harbour master and team, an in-house maintenance, project managers who have many years’ experiences on historic buildings and sustainable project managers, a business development manager and an experienced financial and administrative team. Local parish, town and community councils across the Island are now seeking advice from RTC. It has excellent systems; it is accountable and transparent.
Ryde Town Council in the past was a hotbed of disagreement between political factions and national politics disguised as local. A group of committed local resident independents have changed this over the years which resulted in the Our Ryde group being formed. It was based on the experience of other councils in similar sized rural towns such as Stroud and Frome where independents have taken control.
I am proud on what has been achieved in Ryde and the transformation of Ryde Town Council that has a Corporate Plan based on the needs and assets of the Town.
I see this election as a straight choice of the positive opportunism of hope of Our Ryde’s community spirited vision against old-styled “lets pour cold water over anything that creates opportunity and growth” politics. I believe with my Our Ryde colleagues in diversity, inclusion and equity. I also believe we need new faces such as Tom and not bringing old ones back such as Mr Temel.
Mr Temel provides no solution except caution, no ideas except criticism of others, and representation without asking anyone in the area he wishes to represent what they need, want and care about. It is simply a move to get a Conservative politician back on the Council as a marker for future elections.
On the other hand, Tom and I, spent the last weekend raising awareness about domestic abuse. Perhaps that is the difference between Tom and I and Mr Temel is that we are part of a community we live in addressing the real issues facing residents such as domestic abuse whereas he is just a critic. I know my choice is taking action and activism every time.
VOTE TOM HANLEY X on 3rd November 2022 to represent Ryde Appley and Emfield Ward
Promoted and published by Michael Lilley, 71, High Park Road, Ryde, PO33 IBX on behalf of Tom Hamley, 28, West Hill Road, Ryde, PO33 1 LQ