WEB HUSTINGS

The town website forwarded a ‘top ten questions’ from residents to all four Borough Council election candidates and wishes to thank those that responded.
It may help any undecided voters.

Note that the town website is wholly non-political.

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ONE:
Q. What will your first action be in support of Whitchurch residents if elected?

Simon HESSION – UKIP
A: Organise a meeting between myself and the residents of Whitchurch to see what worries they have and how I can address them.

Colin PHILLIMORE – Labour Party
A: I will move to Whitchurch, where I have resided before.

Tom THACKER – Conservative Party
A: Awaited.

Keith WATTS – Liberal Democrat
A: to demand that the public lavatories are kept open and maintained by the Borough Council.

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TWO
Q. Do you support the Whitchurch Neighbourhood Plan process in determining housing and employment sites, and how will you take part to ensure local opinion is listened to?

Simon HESSION – UKIP
A: Yes I do and make the the meeting spoken about in question 1 a monthly meeting in which opinions and concerns can be listened to and addressed.

Colin PHILLIMORE – Labour Party
A: Yes, I do support the Whitchurch Neighbourhood Plan, where local individuals have a say in planning their town.
I strongly support the need to provide affordable housing for local residents who can’t afford to get on the housing ladder. The Coalition Government (the Tories propped up by the Liberal Democrats), have abandoned the SE plan, leaving our area open to the spivs and speculators rather than sensible development quotas previously agreed. If elected I will reflect the views of Whitchurch residents to the Borough Council.

Tom THACKER – Conservative Party
A: Awaited.

Keith WATTS – Liberal Democrat
A: I suggested this approach in the Borough Council and other “neighbourhoods” cottoned on. I work closely with the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee, attending meetings when I am available, acting as a link with BDBC planning strategy.

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THREE
Q. Do you support the retention of the present subsidies provided by B&DBC to local bus services? How will you ensure further cuts are not implemented?

Simon HESSION – UKIP
A: Yes I do. This is something I would have to look into as I don’t know how I would stop further cuts at this time.

Colin PHILLIMORE – Labour Party
A: Yes, I do support subsidies for local bus services, these cuts were implemented by the Tory run Hampshire County Council and must be fought at every opportunity.

Tom THACKER – Conservative Party
A: Awaited.

Keith WATTS – Liberal Democrat
A: Yes, but I hope that BDBC can exercise some influence over timetables at contract renewal, probably later this year, e.g. reducing the gap between the 8.10 pm and the 11.05 pm return buses from Basingstoke Monday to Friday. (We might also have to find money for the extra service on Friday and Saturday evenings, which is not subsidised by BDBC.

There is strong support in the Council for keeping a high level of spending on bus services but who knows what might be proposed after the election. I have volunteered for the new Transport Commissioning Outcome Group which will be applying new criteria to assessment of services and I will make a thorough nuisance of myself if there is a hint of cutting Whitchurch services.

Regrettably, I don’t think there is any chance of regaining lost services, like Winchester in evenings and on Sundays nor Andover on Sundays.

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FOUR
Q. How will you deal with safety concerns on both local town roads and also on the B3400, particularly for walking and cycling?

Simon HESSION – UKIP
A: This would require investigation into the roads on an individual basis and seeing what plans the council already have in place.

Colin PHILLIMORE – Labour Party
A: National speed limits must be enforced on all roads, however I am not in favour of Community Speedwatch groups replacing an underfunded Police Service.

Tom THACKER – Conservative Party
A: Awaited.

Keith WATTS – Liberal Democrat
A: Safety can’t be addressed separately from other issues such as congestion or speed. I hope to convene a Steering Group which consults widely through the Neighbourhood Planning team and has access to funds for professional studies and for “quick wins” such as minor junction modifications and provides an evidence base for decisions on larger capital works.

I am all for segregation of motorised traffic, cycling and pedestrians but it is not easy to see how that can be achieved in a small medieval town.

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FIVE
Q. Parking is a hot topic in the town centre. How will you deal with:
a) Parking for Residents
b) Parking for visitors to shops and businesses
c) Enforcement of pavement parking

Simon HESSION – UKIP
A: Parking permits are always a good idea for residents however I have never liked the idea of having to pay to park outside your own home so this would have to be looked into.

Visitor parking should be pay and display and maby could be used to offset the cost of resident permits.

Parking on the pavement eg 2 wheels on the road and 2 on the pavement I believe is an offence and tickets should be issued. Again the revenue from these tickets could be used to offset the cost of residential permits.

Colin PHILLIMORE – Labour Party
A: Residents should get priority outside their premises.
Parking outside shops and businesses should be allowed on a time restricted basis.
Pavement parking should be rigidly enforced.
Parking at premium sites, i.e. the doctors surgery should be monitored and all day parking of commuters at these sites should be outlawed.

Tom THACKER – Conservative Party
A: Awaited.

Keith WATTS – Liberal Democrat
A: I am not going to put forward my own pet ideas. The studies and consultation referred to above should help us find solutions. What is certain is that consultation will reveal diametrically opposed opinions. Elected members will have to exercise their judgement to resolve differences with reference to the evidence collected.

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SIX
Q. What are your views on the proposed Bullington Cross Wind Farm?

Simon HESSION – UKIP
A: As a party we are against inland wind farms.

Colin PHILLIMORE – Labour Party
A: I oppose all land based wind farms, I am in favour of sympathetically sited solar farms.

Tom THACKER – Conservative Party
A: Awaited.

Keith WATTS – Liberal Democrat
A: I am not and will not be a member of the Development Control Committee so my colleague who is will exercise his judgement. I am in favour of renewable sources of energy and wind power in particular so the issue for me would be the suitability of the site. I see significant evidence of potential harm to the environment in a designated Biodiversity Opportunity Area and to the nearby business at Tufton Warren with no commitment by EDF to mitigation of that harm.

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SEVEN
Q. Would you support a moratorium on fracking in the local authority area because of the risks to communities, the local environment and climate change?

Simon HESSION – UKIP
A: I am against fracking so yes I would support a moratorium.

Colin PHILLIMORE – Labour Party
A: Yes, I would support a moratorium on fracking, which I oppose.

Tom THACKER – Conservative Party
A: Awaited.

Keith WATTS – Liberal Democrat
A: I am deeply suspicious of fracking as a technology on a crowded island and reluctant to see it perpetuating dependence on fossil fuels. However, this is not within the powers of a non-metropolitan Borough Council so I feel no need to study it in detail.

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EIGHT
Q. It is noted you are standing as a political party candidate.
If local opinion conflicted with your party’s policies would you vote against your party?

Simon HESSION – UKIP
A: Yes I would. UKIP is not a whipped party and we are all able to vote with our conscience.

Colin PHILLIMORE – Labour Party
A: Depending on the issue, I would vote according to my gut instinct. However, if elected I will raise issues for the Whitchurch electorate regardless of their political allegiances.

Tom THACKER – Conservative Party
A:
Awaited.

Keith WATTS – Liberal Democrat
A: I don’t accept the premises of the question. I will study every issue within my scope and form a judgement taking account of local opinions (which are rarely unanimous). If my party had a relevant policy, I would draw on it for information, but no-one would expect me to put that party policy ahead of my judgement in the local circumstances.

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NINE
Q. What actions will you take to reduce the increasing concerns over dog mess on our streets and in our parks?

Simon HESSION – UKIP
A: Dedicated bins and fines.

Colin PHILLIMORE – Labour Party
A: Dog Mess, is politically the responsibility of the Town Council, whose initiatives I would support and if necessary recommend the use of Fixed Penalty Notices which are in place for such incidents.

Tom THACKER – Conservative Party
A:
Awaited.

Keith WATTS – Liberal Democrat
A: Only today I have chased up a Senior Officer of the Council about
enabling our local PCSO to issue Fixed Penalty Notices on the council’s behalf.

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TEN
Q. In less than 50 words why are you the best candidate to represent the residents of Whitchurch?

Simon HESSION – UKIP
A: Working in this area makes me want the best for the area. If that means I have to make decisions that go against my party then I will. This is what I beleve makes me the best candidate for Whitchurch.

Colin PHILLIMORE – Labour Party
A: I am the best candidate, representing the best party. The Tories are only interested in the privileged few. The Liberal Democrats have sold out with broken promises to their supporters, especially students. Ukip have no policies at local level. Labour are the only party interested in a fairer deal for all.

Tom THACKER – Conservative Party
A:
Awaited.

Keith WATTS – Liberal Democrat
A: I am
. Local – available to deal with issues as they arise
. Approachable – I keep people informed and listen to their views
. Well-informed – I know how things work.

My priorities are:
1. Fight proposals to build more homes than we need
2. Resolve traffic and parking problems
3. Upgrade local facilities

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The Town Website team thanks the Candidates above for their contributions.

Election details are HERE

Comments (2)

  • Kevin Lucas

    Can I ask what happened to Tom Thacker’s answers ?

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    Edit note:
    The same questions were sent to all candidates but Tom Thacker has not responded.

  • Barry Jackman

    Sincere thanks to the team who put the questions and to the candidates that replied.

    This helps folk to understand the views of candidates on real local issues and makes voting even more clear for those that may have been unsure.

    Now go and use your vote for the good of Whitchurch.

    Well done to all who took part.

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