Last night’s St. Hustings for the St. Lukes Local elections has now been and gone. The good news is the whole show went smoothly, without a hitch, thanks mainly to Ferndale Church and the candidates for their support, more of which later. The bad news is despite our efforts to let it be known this was happening, only twenty other persons turned up (half of which were linked to one of the candidates), which is bad for democracy for I wonder how the several thousand other ward residents are going to decide?
But back to the positives, of which there are many. At times it felt like a love in with the candidates all getting on well and being nice, while robustly making their distinctive points. The briefing notes given to the candidates half an hour before we started describe how we were going to proceed, including questions, all of which we got to ask within the time allowed (check out below). The candidates all gave it a fair crack in terms of answering the questions. I won’t go into detail of what they said, but it has at least helped me to come to a view on how I might vote on May 5th (see next blog). I decided though my “man of the match” award should be given to Jason, the Green guy. While the youngest, and excuse the pun maybe the “greenest” of the candidates, was refreshingly honest with some good ideas, with some not coming from any of the other candidates. For example, he did not support developments on Fossets farm.
Our chair made a good point – that St. Lukes is fortunate in having a number candidates standing who would do a good job if elected. The meeting was informative, lively and proceeded in a good spirit.
St. Lukes Hustings 22/4/16 – briefing to candidates
Thank you Brian Ayling (IND), Jason Pilley (GRN), Donna Richardson (LAB), David Stansfield (UKIP), and Del Thomas (CON) for coming along tonight. Please note the other candidate for the May 5th St. Lukes election, Tomasz Lachowichz (LD), has sent his apologies. I hope the following notes will be of help.
We are hoping for a decent turn out and for a constructive, well ordered meeting, where issues of concern to ward residents will be properly addressed. There will be strict time keeping and you will be warned 10 seconds before your time is up. We will also be rotating the strike such that a different candidate starts off answering the question. We will reiterate to everyone the need for respect. Those speaking should not be interrupted and not personally attacked. There should always be moderation in language used. We advise candidates to focus on the answering the questions put to them, as best they can. Stephen Dray will be chairing the hustings and I will try to coordinate events on the night. I hope you will find this a helpful experience and go away thinking that democracy has been well served.
- As councillor, what would be the number one thing you would want to achieve over your four year term?
- There have been concerns raised over speeding traffic in the ward. What is your assessment of the issue and what will you do to improve road safety?
- In recent years, there has been a reduction in neighbourhood policing. What measures will you introduce or support that will ensure anti social behavior and other police related concerns of residents are properly addressed?
- There has been a long ongoing saga over less than satisfactory health provision in St. Lukes. What do you think St. Lukes needs and what will you do to ensure St. Lukes gets this?
- Southend Council have said they will be building homes at affordable rents for residents. What measures would you advocate to relieve the housing crisis? Can you say what is an affordable rent and how do those on zero hours contracts pass the credit check for these rentable homes?
- What will you do to support community groups such as the Community Hub in Cluny Square?
- Lukes ward has within its boundary two community minded churches (Ferndale and St. Lukes). How will you work with them in order to better support the residents of the ward?
- The current rainbow coalition could be toppled as a result of the elections on May 5th. What are your hopes for the next administration of the Borough of Southend?
- There are two big developments in the offing: Fossets Farm (in our ward) and Seaway Car Park (next ward). What are your hopes for those developments and what will be your involvement?
- Both the Tories and the Rainbows have accused each other of gross budget mismanagement. Who is right, why do you think that and what are your thoughts on managing the budget?
- Looking at two ends of the spectrum in town and ward life, what would you do to help businesses and those with disabilities if you were elected?
- Last night’s Council meeting ended in a vote of no confidence in the Leader of the Council. How would you have voted; would it have been on party lines; please give your reasons?
7.30 introduction and housekeeping
7 40 each of the five candidates will be invited to provide a 3 minute introduction about their candidature, why we might want to vote for them and what they will do for the residents if elected.
8.00 12 primarily ward related questions – 90 seconds given to each candidate to answer (second round of answers at chairmans discretion, with some questions omitted if time does not allow)
9.15 each of the five candidates will be invited to provide a 2 minute closing speech to tie up any loose ends and make any closing points.
9.25 close (chairman wraps up)
John Barber – St. Lukes hustings coordinator 22/04/16