On 22nd January they’ll be a By-election for the vacant seat for Crowborough West on Wealden District Council. On Monday evening UKIP chose Simon Staveley as their candidate.
In the first of a series of candidate profiles – Simon introduces himself and explains his reasons for standing:
I’ve been in the Wealden District for the last five years and I live in Crowborough, just a few minutes’ walk from the Goldsmiths Centre, with my wife Amanda and our two year old son. I was brought up in Tunbridge Wells, attending Claremont County Primary School and then Sandown Court Secondary, and I worked for Marks and Spencer for seven years after completing my GCSEs. After a year of working in France in 2000, I returned to the UK and began working in the technology sector, firstly for an I.T. contracting company and then later in the online media sector. I currently work for an independent IT Solutions Company based near Crowborough, where I’ve spent four years as the company’s Business Development Manager, focussing on improving I.T. for the Education and Charity Sectors.
I decided to get more involved in politics eighteen months ago because like many people in the UK, I did not feel that I had any representation in the main political parties; whether at a local or a national level. I wanted my voice to be heard, and I realised that the best way to achieve this would be to find likeminded people who also wanted to campaign for a change for the better. The UK Independence Party was unquestionably the party with whom I shared the most views at a national level, and after meeting Peter Griffiths, UKIP’s Parliamentary Candidate for Wealden, it became apparent that the party also shared my views on local issues too. It was very reassuring that UKIP Wealden were already engaged with many of the community groups who are putting their hearts and souls into resolving these issues in a fair and justified way.
I found it troubling to read about the potential closure of Crowborough’s Birthing Centre and Minor Injuries Unit, as they provided such an exemplary service during the birth of our son, and they have been there for many of our friends. I am also concerned about the proposed development at Walshes Road because the potential profits for the developers seem to be more important than the concerns of the local residents, who already have major issues with HGV traffic caused by the low bridge at Jarvis Brook.
The Walshes Road development also highlights one of the other major problems in Crowborough, and the other towns and villages surrounding Ashdown Forest. In so many cases there seems to be building restrictions for building restrictions sake, and this is having a negative impact on business in the area. Successful businesses who are looking to increase production and premises size, are being forced to take their business and jobs out of the area. Similarly, many of the local building supplies firms are having to deliver further afield because smaller property developments are rarely granted planning permission. I’d be very surprised if Rydon Homes would source locally for the Walshes Road project.
I don’t think that the majority Conservative Council considers these local issues properly, and for too long they have sat complacently in what have become very safe and comfortable seats. I believe I can better represent the people of Crowborough West and I believe Peter Griffiths has a real chance to win the Wealden seat from the Conservatives in 2015.
I will of course be campaigning around the town over the coming weeks, and indeed leading up to the elections in May. I will also be at the meeting on the 12th January at the Community Centre to discuss the Pine Grove proposals.