Campaigning for the upcoming by-election in Bradley Stoke’s Meadowbank parish ward has got under way, with the first party political leaflets being delivered to homes in the area.
The by-election, now officially confirmed for Thursday 2nd October 2008, sees one candidate from each of the local Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties battling for the seat that became vacant after Caroline Charlton (Conservative) resigned after just 18 months in office.
Despite numerous attempts by phone and email, The Journal has been unable to contact Ms Charlton, but a spokesperson for Bristol and South Gloucestershire Conservatives informed us that Ms Charlton had stepped down “because she was finding it increasingly hard to balance her work responsibilities with the council work.”
The Liberal Democrat’s “Focus on Bradley Stoke” leaflet leads with an article titled “Bowls Club – The Fiasco Continues”, referring to the ongoing dispute between the Conservative-led Bradley Stoke Town Council (BSTC) and North Avon Bowling Club (NABC). The row hit the national headlines in April when the Council called in the police as Bowls Clubs members staged an impromptu match at the Baileys Court Bowling Green despite being banned from using it by the Council. The two parties subsequently failed to reach agreement and the Bowls Club was finally evicted from the Council premises in May.
The article claims that the Council is now losing bowling green revenue amounting to £2,000 p.a. and that further public money is likely to be wasted in a “pending court case”.
A contact at NABC confirmed to The Journal that the Club is considering court action against BSTC, but added that they were unable to disclose any further details at the present time.
Elsewhere in the leaflet, the Liberal Democrats criticise the Council for allegedly making cutbacks in funding for young people’s activities in the town.
The Conservative’s “in touch with Bradley Stoke” leaflet highlights progress in plans to build a new sixth form centre in Bradley Stoke, which it is claimed is the result of petitioning by local Conservatives. A planning application for the £5 million centre has been submitted and a decision is expected in October.
The leaflet criticises Liberal Democrat by-election candidate Jon Williams for allegedly “attempting to oppose” the sixth form plans.
The Conservatives also give prominence to their successful campaign for a “local residents (sic) competition to name the new town centre”, referring to the fuss they kicked up after Tesco claimed in April that it was too late in the project to stage such a competition, despite having promised one before the project got under way.
Asked about the allegations that he opposed the sixth form plans, Mr Williams described the claim as “absolutely ridiculous”, adding that he has always supported the need for a sixth form and did so “from before the school was even built.”
“I have expressed my concerns about the plans for our sixth form in as much as it will only cater for 50% of the students when there is a strong likelihood that there will be a greater demand.”
Contesting the Meadowbank by-election are:
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