At just 18-years-old Sarah Dobson will be one of the youngest candidates in this year’s Gloucester City Council elections on May 22.
She, along with two other candidates, will be hoping to give long-standing Conservative councillor Andrew Gravells a run for his money.
Mr Gravells is defending a seat that he has held since 2000 by pointing to his campaign for better bus services through Abbey.
VIDEO: MEET THE CANDIDATES
He said: “I want to ensure our area remains a great place to live. I have fought for better bus services and am currently talking to Stagecoach about their new routes 2 and 2A which have proved to be unpopular.”
But both Lib Dem Sarah, from Carwardine Field, and UKIP candidate Danny Sparkes, from Wheatway, are also campaigning on public transport issues.
Mr Sparkes said: “I would like to see all the bus stops on Abbeymead Avenue set back from the road allowing transport to pass instead of creating a backlog.”
Setting out his stall to be re-elected, Mr Gravells added: “I have also been working with campaigners to stop the Ridge and Furrow pub, an important community asset, from being demolished to make way for a Morrisons filling station.”
Mr Sparkes, who is one of 10 UKIP candidates this year, said that as an Abbey councillor he would ‘stop pandering to political correctness’. He added: “It is clearly detrimental to the efficiency of any public service. I also believe the council should stop knocking down historical buildings to build flats, instead utilising buildings that have been left empty. I would support the construction of small industrial and commercial units suitable for small businesses. Start-up businesses should be leased such units for up to two years at a discounted price.”
Bernard Mundy, representing Labour, who came second to Mr Gravells back in 2010, said: “Abbey is a great place to live, but massive coalition government cuts to council budgets mean that it will be harder to maintain services like grass-cutting, keeping our streets clean and rubbish-free. The Tories and Lib Dems voted for a budget that proposed an increase to garden waste charges next year and deep cuts to the voluntary sector.”
- Andrew Gravells (Con) enjoyed a 1,725 majority when he was re-elected in 2010.
- Bernard Mundy (Lab) got a 22% share of the vote compared to Mr Gravell’s 56% share
- Last year the Conservative majority was reduced to just 461 when Gordon Taylor (Con) won over Labour’s Jean Grigg
- UKIP pushed the Liberal Democrats into fourth place in 2012
MEET THE CANDIDATES
SARAH DOBSON, Liberal Democrats
I have lived in Gloucester for over 10 years and would be honoured to represent anybody in the Abbey ward. I believe everyone has an equal voice and any issues brought to me would be treated sympathetically and respectfully.
I am currently a student who works part time in Tuffley. I am keen to champion initiatives that help make life easier for people and help protect our local environment, such as improving public transport.
We live in a time of austerity, so I would look out for small changes that do not cost the earth, but can make a big difference to locals.
ANDREW GRAVELLS, Conservative
I live in Drivemoor, in the heart of Abbeydale. I was first elected as councillor for the Abbey ward in 2000. I pride myself on being an accessible councillor and regularly pick up local issues when meeting people while I’m out walking the dog or visiting Morrisons, as well as holding regular surgeries. I am also the county councillor for the area. I was born and brought up in Gloucester, attending St James Junior and Crypt schools. I have also been privileged to serve as mayor and sheriff of the city. I hope to continue representing the Abbey ward.
BERNARD JAMES MUNDY, Labour
I have lived in the Abbey ward for over 39 years and my three children attended local schools during which time I was associated with The Heron School PTA and a parent governor at the (former) Saintbridge Comprehensive. I am an active member of the Abbey Labour team. If elected I would be an active and committed councillor for Abbey. If elected I will endeavour to ensure that all the residents of Abbey are represented on the city council – and with my fellow Labour councillors try to provide a fairer society for all the residents of Gloucester.
DANNY SPARKES, UK Independence Party
My name is Danny Sparkes. I have lived on the Wheatway, Abbeydale, for 21 years. I was born and bred in this great city 67 Years ago. I have one son and three gorgeous granddaughters. I took early retirement in 2002 after nearly 40 years at Birds Eye Walls. I did volunteer work for the White City Project. I am an ex mayor of Barton and I am also a trustee for the Special Care Baby Unit. If elected I will support any practical, common sense measures I believe to be in the best interest of my constituents, irrespective of their political beliefs.