1) What do you plan on doing for the people of Andover?
I plan to increase opportunities for young people by releasing some of the many millions of pounds hoarded by the County Council and invest it into an apprenticeship scheme for Andover. Businesses of all types will be encouraged to take on apprentices and have a substantial portion of the funding (that isn’t already covered) paid for. Businesses will then be expected to employ the apprentices for a set period after their training ends. The costed plan allows for 800 apprentices over 3 years.
Additionally I would increase funding for road and pavement repairs, rather than wasting money on repairs that last weeks in some cases, I would ensure that potholes are repaired properly and pavements are made safe for people to walk on. This would save the cost of compensation which currently is very high.
I believe both large and small businesses should be encouraged to come to Andover. Many people have mentioned that they would like to see Primark open a store in the Town, but equally residents have described their own business aspirations and I think the town should invest in local residents who want to open an Andover focused business. I would suggest a period of free rent and/or business rates to encourage small business to flourish.
I also want to start a local mutual bank, focused on Andover and the surrounding villages it would work like other mutuals and offer loans to people at 0% interest to encourage people away from ‘Pay Day Lenders’ and loan sharks. In times of austerity the local community should look after our own neighbours and I believe schemes like this are the way forward. The community would own the bank and it would be run according to the wishes of locals.
I will canvass the community on County Council issues and vote the way the community wants me to, not simply the way my Party expects me to, the needs of residents should always come before Party affiliations.
2) What have you done for the people of Andover?
Earlier this year I spoke to Tesco Extra in Churchill Way regarding the very dangerous zebra crossing at the entrance. Many residents had mentioned it to me and I took their concerns to the store manager. Within 8 weeks beacons, signs and speed bumps were installed to make the area safer.
My wife and I are currently in the process of starting a local support group for young parents who are expecting or have recently had a child. Due to the chronic shortage of help available since the Sure Start scheme was defunded it has been left to charities to help people. We are planning to using our own experiences to help young parents in the area.
I am working with a local trust to enhance the experiences of parents-to-be in their care. I have been asked to speak to a group of medical professionals on this subject later this year to help local parents (particularly fathers) as often fathers feel left out of the loop during pregnancy.
I have written on behalf of a number of residents regarding local issues, particularly dangerous trees, in an effort to highlight the issues on some of Andover’s estates. Many residents have spoken of feeling forgotten by both TVBC and HCC and I am working to give them a voice.
3) Why should people vote for you?
As the only candidate for Andover North who lives in the division I believe I have a first hand insight into the needs of residents here. I live on an estate which desperately needs improving and I feel that local people should have a say in how this happens. I share many of the struggles that my neighbours in the community experience and I deeply care about what happens here.
My priority in life is to ensure my children have the opportunity to succeed and grow up in a safe area, I believe that is a goal shared by all families and having a local councillor who shares this desire is beneficial to everyone. It has been many decades since there was a Labour councillor here and I think the time has come for a change, this can only happen with a new team of councillors with different ways of thinking.
As a councillor my priority would be on what happens here, in Andover, not in Europe or overseas, not about who gets married to whom and not about the national debt. These are national issues for which we have elected an MP to debate. My focus will be on local education, local health services, local business growth and local job opportunities.