Battle lines are being drawn over transport and healthcare in Barnwood as candidates for the City Council elections fight it out.
Sitting councillor Phil McLellan, a Liberal Democrat, said that solving the area’s transport issues as a ‘priority’ because Barnwood ‘includes many of the main arterial roads’ in the city.
Mr McLellan, who won with a sizeable majority in 2010, said: “Trying to improve transport links is a priority and the work to improve the Walls and C&G roundabouts is very welcome. But simple maintenance of roads is poor in many areas and some of the newer estates are still not adopted by the county council.
“I believe it is only by councillors working with local people can we improve the area where we live. So much has been done to improve our area but more challenges await.”
He also says he wants to continue supporting the ‘significant numbers’ of people who need help on housing and benefits issues in his ward.
Former apprentice to city MP Richard Graham, Laura Pearsall, will be challenging Mr McLellan for his seat. She said: “I am already active in the community and will continue to work with residents to achieve the very best for our area. I have been campaigning for Holly House to be re-opened for mental healthcare and will continue until action is taken.”
Shaun Shute, for Labour, came a distant third in the 2012 election with just 519 votes and a 21 per cent share, but he is trying again. He said: “Around Barnwood there are people suffering under the coalition government because of high living costs, insecure employment, a creaking NHS and the pernicious bedroom tax. People work hard, they bring home a wage; but they are still struggling at the end of the month. That cannot be right. What good is it being a councillor if all you do about it is wring your hands?
“Labour’s local pledges for Gloucester include working with employers to bring real jobs to the City, and tackling payday lenders and exploitative finance agreements.”
Stephen Pottage is representing UKIP, a party which won just seven per cent of the vote share in the 2011 election for this ward and did not field a candidate in 2012. Mr Pottage said: “I am against the building of more supermarkets, including smaller supermarkets such as the one now being built on Barnwood Road. It is a proposed off license that is definitely not needed and will only add to the cheap alcohol effects on the local community including drunkenness, bad behaviour, alcoholism and crime. This puts an additional strain on our emergency services and the NHS.”
Susan Powell, of Linnet Close, will represent the Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts, while Adam Van Coevorden, of Redwind Way, will represent the Green Party.
- Long-standing Liberal Democrat councillor Phil McLellan enjoyed a healthy majority of 1,143 when he was re-elected in 2010 with 52% of the vote.
- A year later Phil’s Conservative rival Tarren Randle was elected with a slim majority of 27 votes.
- At the 2012 election, Conservative Lise Noakes was elected with a majority of just 95.
- Results suggest Conservatives have gained huge ground in the ward but that Phil McLellan has a strong personal vote.
MEET THE CANDIDATES
PHILIP McLELLAN, Liberal Democrat
I have lived in Barnwood for over 20 years and have been a councillor for the area for many years. I am involved with a number of groups in the area and have a particular affinity with James Hopkins Trust, a Gloucestershire charity, but locally based. I have always regarded myself as a community campaigner rather than a politician, but discovered, when first elected to the council, an interest in planning matters. I worked for many years for British Energy (now EDF) in administration and planning, and subsequently ran a community transport scheme in Cheltenham but am now retired. My other interests include supporting Gloucester Rugby, classical music and drinking the occasional pint of real ale.
LAURA PEARSALL, Conservatives
I have lived in Gloucester all my life, and in Barnwood for four years. After leaving Ribston Hall High School, I worked for our local MP, Richard Graham, as his apprentice for two years. I now work full time for Prospect Training Services. I gained valuable experience working in Richard’s office which has prepared me to take on the role of a city councillor. I dealt with a wide range of casework, helping many Gloucester constituents, as well as organising job fairs and arranging tours of parliament. I look forward to having the opportunity to continue helping residents, if elected.
STEPHEN POTTAGE, UK Independence Party
I am the UKIP candidate for Barnwood and Coney Hill. I joined UKIP because I believe the £55million Britain gives every day to the European Union for membership could be better spent on local infrastructure and services. I also believe that freedom from the EU will give us the freedom to govern our own country starting with listening to local communities and acting on their behalf for all residents young and old alike. We want a return to local democracy where local problems are debated in the chamber, not just voted on and enacted by the ruling group. All parties should have a say and vote for the one that makes sense. We can do this as UKIP councillors are free to vote for common sense, putting people before politics.
SUSAN POWELL, Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts
There’s a lot of hidden hardship: people made redundant; parents struggling with disabled kids and receiving minimal respite care; no funding for equipment. All of us are affected by the cuts. Council tenants have been told if they agree to council homes going to a private company (GCH), the government will write off the council debt. Why make this condition? Austerity is the only agenda the politicians have for us, but Royal Mail gets sold for a song, millions are wasted on privatisation schemes and NHS reorganisation. The national debt is just an excuse for austerity. UKIP wants flat rate taxation, i.e. let the rich get even richer. As a former carer and trade unionist I have played an active role in campaigns against NHS privatisation, the bedroom tax and the cuts.
SHAUN SHUTE, Labour
I am a postal worker who, until recently, was based at the Eastern Avenue Mail Centre in Barnwood. I am an active member of the CWU and Gloucester Labour Party. I like to spend time with my family. Standing in The Shed to watch Gloucester play is (usually) something I enjoy. Barnwood deserves a councillor who puts ‘service not self’ into action and works hard for all. Serving you, the residents, ensuring your voice is heard loud and clear across the city. If elected that is what I would do.
ADAM VAN COEVORDEN, Green Party
No profile was submitted, but when he stood for election in 2010, he said: “I attended Pate’s Grammar school, before studying politics at the University of York and now work for Ecotricity in Stroud. I am also a massive Cheltenham Town fan. I genuinely believe that the Green Party stands for fairness and equality, and to that end, I would be delighted to put my youthful enthusiasm into working for local people.”