With the Gloucester City Council elections taking place on May 22, public affairs reporter Michael Wilkinson asked the leaders of the three political groups on the council why readers should vote for their party.
PAUL JAMES, CONSERVATIVES
Gloucester has come a long way over the last decade. But there’s a lot more to do. It’s easy to forget what the city was like before. Previous administrations wasted millions trying and failing on regeneration. They even gave Westgate car park away for £1 and spent £1 million getting it back. By contrast we’ve brought over £700million of investment into the city with developments like Gloucester Quays, the Railway Triangle and Greyfriars. Previous administrations put the council tax up by an average of 10 per cent a year. Our average increase is less than two per cent and we’ve frozen the council tax for the last four years.
We led the city through the floods of 2007, implemented over 100 flood alleviation schemes and we’ll do more. We’ve delivered £7.5 million of savings over the last four years, protecting frontline services. We’ll save money by not replacing the Chief Executive position. We’ve brought Gloucester the Tall Ships Festival and next year we’re bringing the Rugby World Cup.
Our main focus will be the economy and jobs. We’ll deliver the Kings Quarter development, with the Golden Egg now gone and bus station funding secured. We’ll freeze council tax and garden waste charges for another year. We’ll work to regenerate the Blackfriars area and the Prison. We’ll widen the range of materials we collect for recycling and we’ll transfer our housing stock to Gloucester City Homes to increase investment.