Council elections 6 May 2021
The Cheltenham Borough Council elections will be held on Thursday 6 May 2021.
Applications for postal votes have now closed. You must return your postal votes, in the pre-paid envelopes provided, by 10PM, on Thursday 6 May 2021.
Personal statements by Labour candidates for the Cheltenham Borough Council elections.
Isobel Laing – Labour Candidate for All Saints
Born and raised in Fairview, I have returned to the area to bring up my own family. Cheltenham can be such a wonderful place to live, but austerity and Government failures have taken their toll, with the pandemic shining a spotlight on unacceptable levels of inequality, and leaving many families struggling. It is vital that we ensure that everyone in our town has access to the opportunities and facilities which make it great.
As your Labour Councillor, I would be a strong voice standing up for everyone in the area. My priorities include ensuring that all children have equality of opportunity, affordable housing to rent or buy, tackling parking problems and air pollution, and supporting local businesses as we emerge from lockdown.
My varied career has included working in local retail and hospitality, as a Library Assistant, and time spent in Brussels working in the European Parliament. I would love the opportunity to put this experience to use working hard for an area I care so much about.
Caroline Gavin – Labour candidate for Battledown
I have lived in Cheltenham since moving from London in 2004. I am compelled to stand as a Councillor, as it has been evident since 2010 that voting LibDem is essentially no different to voting Tory – this simply cannot be the only choice for our town.
For over a decade we have seen how the Tories continue to push their agenda where the weakest are marginalised and punished, but the wealthiest are protected and continue to flourish. Since the support given to them by the LibDems in 2010, the Tories have mercilessly continued in their pursuit of cronyism, which pushes their agenda further.
It is clear to me that the majority of people in Cheltenham are far better than this. Cheltenham people are kind, generous and welcoming, and for so many years have been appallingly let down by the policies implemented by the Tory party.
By voting tactically we do not gain influence, but we lose our voice. A tactical vote is a wasted opportunity to make a difference. Please vote for what you believe and let your voice be heard.
Benhall and the Reddings
Robin Carey – Labour Candidate for Benhall and the Reddings
If you support these policies, then vote for me:
(a) End fishing on Pittville Boating Lake. The Council has ignored the advice from the RSPCA that fishing and wildlife in public parks do not mix. Ducks get caught up in discarded fishing tackle and swans swallow discarded lead pellets: It is distressful for the wildlife (sometimes lethal) and for the park-goers who witness it;
(b) The County Council has neglected the care of street trees in the Borough. If it cannot fulfil its responsibility then it should instruct and allow volunteers to do it in their own neighbourhoods. Our Borough Council should promote this policy; and
(c) The Borough Council should work with schools to instruct in good citizenship, not to drop litter and to recycle properly.
Ella Rees – Labour Candidate for Charlton Kings
As your Labour Councillor, I would stand up for everyone in the community. We need to build back better after COVID-19 by tackling issues like the lack of affordable housing in Cheltenham. I would also hold the Council to account on environmental issues such as carbon emissions, air pollution from traffic, and protecting our local green spaces and countryside.
Sarah Chacko – Labour Candidate for Charlton Park
I was brought up in Lancaster in the north of England, and I’ve lived in Cheltenham, in Charlton Park Ward for over thirty years since we moved from London with our young family for my husband’s job at Eagle Star. My children attended Cheltenham schools, and I have worked in software development locally and further afield and more recently in technical training.
We have had very positive experiences with our excellent local state schools and hospital. I worry about the effect of years of cuts and reorganisations on both and wonder whether people in future will be able to say the same.
Robert Arnott – Labour Candidate for College
I have lived in Cheltenham for six years, all the time in College Ward. I am an archaeologist at the University of Oxford, although all my political activity is local, where I am Secretary of Cheltenham Labour Party, speaking and working for the community.
I am passionate about defending the NHS, which was founded by the Labour Party and I work closely with others from all the main political parties and NHS trades unions to support and defend Cheltenham General Hospital, where I have been a seriously ill patient many times. This is to campaign for the reopening of a twenty-four-hour Type One Emergency Department and to fight proposed changes to the delivery of clinical services. If elected, I will commit myself to that end and to work for the needs of the residents of College Ward, whoever they are.
MALCOLM BRIDE – Labour Candidate for Hesters Way
I have lived in Cheltenham for ten years. I am currently the Treasurer of the local Labour Party having previously been the Chair of the Party. I am particularly concerned about the lack of affordable housing to rent or to buy for young people and families in our town and believe that this should be an important issue for the Council to address.
Duncan Siret – Labour Candidate for Lansdown
I have lived in Cheltenham for over thirty years and have grown to love the town. However, I can see and understand how it, and many of the people who live here, have suffered because of ten years of austerity.
I feel it is time now for real change. I joined the Labour Party four years ago because it is they only party that offers the chance of change that is essential. I am particularly concerned about the impact of the climate crisis on our and our children’s lives and if elected would hold the Borough Council to its climate emergency pledges in everything it does.
Mike Jarvis – Labour Candidate for Oakley
If elected I will represent the views of all of the residents of Oakley.
Labour Councillors will represent the people of Cheltenham and hold to account decision makers who too easily follow their party line and accept without question the devastating cuts by central government.
For the Many, not the few.
Kevin Boyle – Labour Candidate for Park
I have lived in Cheltenham for over twenty years, and in Park Ward for over fifteen. As hope triumphs over experience, I am standing for Labour again. Cheltenham is a wonderful town and Park is a tremendous ward, however, it can be better.
Labour seeks to introduce the right policies to enable those people who are neither wealthy, nor powerful, to improve their life chances and those of their families. Thus, making Cheltenham and Park ward better for all of us.
I seek your vote to help make that happen.
Julie Farmer – Labour Candidate for Pittville
I was born in the East End of London in the 1950s and I have lived in Cheltenham for the last twenty-seven years. After briefly working in broadcast media, I became an educational professional, with a focus on vocational education and skills consultancy, particularly for adults, working nationally with a range of government departments and agencies.
There is no doubt that unequal societies are less successful in every measure that counts – educational achievement, social cohesion and economic stability.
For me, Labour is the only party worth supporting because it is the one that truly believes in reducing inequality and I will campaign to ensure that this ambition is reflected in every policy pursued by our local councils, Cheltenham and Gloucestershire.
Thomas Johnson – Labour Candidate for Springbank
I am standing because I believe our community deserves a better choice than between business as usual or the threat of local spending cuts.
In my time as an auditor, I worked to ensure that local councils’ spending was reported accurately and fairly so they could be held to account by the communities they represent.
I want to bring that experience and vision for a transparent council and put it to work for my neighbours.
Mike Farmer – Labour Candidate for St Mark’s
I have lived in Cheltenham for over fifty years, and in St Mark’s for over twenty. I am standing for Labour, but I will speak out for everyone without fear of favour, as I did a couple of years ago when I addressed the Planning Committee on behalf of residents in St Mark’s Ward.
We need Labour Councillors in Cheltenham to hold the LibDems and the Tories to account. Cheltenham is a wonderful town, but with the right policies it could be even better. So, I seek your vote to help make that happen
Ken Syme – Labour Candidate for Saint Paul’s
I have lived in Cheltenham for more than forty years and spent most of my working life here. I have been a school governor, active in local churches, volunteered at Cheltenham Foodbank for six years, and taken part in Cheltenham Festivals (mostly as a spectator!) I have been a Labour Party member since 2015 and I am currently the local Diversity and Disability Officer.
Clive Harriss – Labour Candidate for St Peter’s
I was born in Cheltenham, grew up in Hester’s Way, and I have lived in St Marks since 1983. Married with five grown-up children, I am employed as a Senior Solutions Advisor for an international computer software company. I served for many years as a school governor, and Chair of Governors at the former Monkscroft Infants School – a school I attended as a child, as well as a school governor at both St Benedict’s school and Christ College.
Living in the local area every day I see the little things that mount up, and never get fixed by the Council. I understand that people in this area want a change, they want someone to get things done for people locally.
My priorities are finding ways to provide more affordable housing across the town, dealing with parking, and anti-social behaviour. I will ensure that the Council repairs the many potholed roads in our community, repairs the poor state of many pavements, and ensures green spaces and play areas are maintained and improved.
Our area needs a new voice, someone prepared to speak out, and not just another Councillor joining the ranks of the same old faces who have been running the Council for years.
With your vote on 6 May, I can be that person.
Peter Clark – Labour Candidate for Swindon Village
I have lived in Cheltenham for twenty years, fifteen of them in Wyman’s Brook in Swindon Village. I work for local Government, and I have worked in many places across the county over the years.
I have been a Labour voter throughout my life, and a member of UNISON, the country’s largest trade union, for the past twenty years. Whilst working for UNISON I have been active in many roles, and done my best to fight to protect workers’ rights and get the best working conditions for them.
I am the product of a comprehensive school system and was among the last to be able to go to college without the burden of a student loan. The NHS has saved my life more than once, long before COVID-19. I am proud to support the country’s greatest institution, the NHS, created by a Labour government who, in the wake of a world war and amid economic ruin, transformed the lives of millions.
I believe that we live in an era when change is necessary and desperately needed, both in terms of dealing with local problems and those that face the whole country. Labour is committed to that change.
Neil Armitage – Labour Candidate for Up Hatherley
Having lived in Up Hatherley since 1986, I am aware of how expensive it is to live in Cheltenham. I think that it is important for the Borough Council to do what it can to ensure that there are well paid jobs with good conditions and benefits for local people.
The council can play its part through its procurement policy and I would work to press the council to award contracts to local small, and medium sized businesses. I believe that where possible, contacts should be awarded to local companies with trades union recognition agreements, or worker owned businesses – this gives working people a say and the best opportunity for good pay and conditions. Where this is not possible the council should work towards bringing services back in-house if legislation and funding permits.
The council must also do all it can to make life in Cheltenham more sustainable. Responding to climate change starts locally through the provision of sustainable infrastructure such as safe and pleasant cycling routes to the countryside and the places that residents work, together with cheap and reliable public transport. This gives residents the option to reduce their carbon emissions, reducing air pollution and congestion in the process, and would be a priority for me.
Ian White – Labour Candidate for Warden Hill
I have lived in Cheltenham all of my life, the majority of it spent on the South side of Cheltenham, so I am very knowledgeable of the area.
I live in Warden Hill, the area l represent on the local Parish Council, so l am knowledgeable about the many issues the area is facing. At the local election you have the chance to vote for new Councillors on the Borough Council and the Gloucestershire County Council.
On the Borough Council the LibDems totally dominate the Council, so there is no effective opposition to issues such as the problems with Boots Corner that have been prolonged for so long.
The County Council is run by the Tories who are extremely poor managers – you only have to look at the poor condition and lack of future planning of our road system for proof of that.
By voting Labour on 6 May, you will be sending a clear message that you want change for the better.