Election week: On the doorstep with candidates

Bradley Stoke local and dsitrict elections 2011

Local elections on Thursday this week (5th May) see all the seats on South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) and Bradley Stoke Town Council (BSTC) up for grabs.

Electors will also be asked to vote yes or no to the introduction of the Alternative Vote system for choosing MPs.

Most residents will by now have had a fair few election leaflets through the door, with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats being, as usual, the most prolific.

Here at The Journal, we wanted to find out what issues the candidates are encountering in their conversations with voters “on the doorstep”, so we contacted the hopefuls in the SGC Bradley Stoke North ward, where each of the three main parties has put up a candidate to contest the single seat.

Jonathan Moore (Labour) in Stanley Mead, Bradley Stoke

First to get back to us was Jonathan Moore (Labour), a first-time candidate who lives in Wheatfield Drive. We met up with Jonathan in Stanley Mead, off Ormonds Close, where he and his team were delivering the South Gloucestershire Reporter, Labour’s local election newspaper.

The paper has little to say on local topics, focusing instead on national issues such as “unnecessary” health care reform and increases in student tuition fees. South Gloucestershire’s “biggest ever” drop in Government grant settlement and the Council’s £2.3m “raid on reserves” are mentioned as is Bradley Stoke Conservative Councillor Robert Jones’ infamous “we’re not cutting enough” message on Twitter.

Jonathan himself highlighted concerns over SGC’s closure/privatisation of care homes for the elderly and he questioned Conservative promises to put more police on the beat when budgets are being slashed.

Jon Williams (Liberal Democrat) in Ottrells Mead, Bradley Stoke

A few days later, we met up with Jon Williams (Liberal Democrat), who currently holds the Bradley Stoke North seat, canvassing in Ottrells Mead.

The Lib Dems have been campaigning on a “let’s keep it local” theme, with a recent edition of their Focus on Bradley Stoke newspaper urging voters “not to take the opportunity to register dissatisfaction with national politics” as this might mean “losing candidates who can make a positive difference in the town”.

Jon’s approach was to show voters a list of topics picked from previous Lib Dem street surveys (faster broadband, part-time lights at roundabouts, better ways to recycle, initiatives to tackle anti-social behaviour, more computers in our libraries, more parking at the Leisure Centre) and then ask if any of these struck a nerve.

Jon says Lib Dem pressure has forced Conservative-controlled SGC into a U-turn over cardboard recycling, for which residents will soon be able to obtain a free weighted bag. He says he would rather see the green bin bought back into use, possibly sectionalised so that it can hold different materials, thus cutting down on the number of collection lorries.

Ben Walker (Conservative) pictured in Pear Tree Road, Bradley Stoke

Ben Walker, the Conservative candidate, couldn’t find time to meet up with The Journal, saying that his team had “already canvassed Bradley Stoke North twice earlier this year” but he did send us some comments and a photo by email (he’s on the left of the group in the photo).

He said:

“The responses on the doorstep have been very varied with lots of comment based on the national picture, concerns about Government spending cuts, lack of electorate trust with the Liberal Democrats and a real resentment of Labour’s mismanagement of the economy.”

The main issues that Ben has picked up are:

  • Parking throughout the town with special mention of the Leisure Centre and Pear Tree Pavilions
  • Facilities at the Leisure Centre
  • The disregard that some businesses off Woodlands Lane show residents living adjacent to it
  • The speed of vehicles travelling along Woodlands Lane and speed humps throughout the town

When questioned, residents are generally happy with the local councils and the local area itself, says Ben.

Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday (5th May). The count for the Bradley Stoke district and town wards takes place at the Leisure Centre on Thursday night.

Look out for The Journal’s round up of Town Council election news later this week.

Related link: 2011 District and Town Elections (The Journal)

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  1. Until I read this I had no idea there was a labour candidate and there he is outside my house. The leaflet didn’t even mention him, did it?

  2. Your article is quite partial. Ben Walker (Conservative) is the Mayor of Bradley Stoke. He campaigned for the Faster Broadband and many other local issues during his term. Your article tried to hide it, which is quite unfair. Shame on you, Journal.

    I hope you have good number of photos of Ben too. But you put up a small group photo to confuse voters.

    The battle in Bradley Stoke North is between Ben Walker (Tory) and Jon Williams (Lib Dem).

  3. @Matthews, Sorry you feel like this. The article is not intended to present a comprehensive statement of each candidate’s policies, just a selection of the issues they say are creating interest on the doorstep.

    We asked to photograph each of the candidates out on the street during the campaign but, as stated, Ben Walker was unable to find time to meet us over the one week period that we offered. He did, however, provide us with a photo taken during the camapign, which is the one we’ve used.

    It is standard practice not to mention any civic positions currently held by the candidates, as this could be seen to be giving an unfair advantage.

  4. It’s a bit depressing really. Labour candidate has nothing to say on local politics. Lib Dem is going to really struggle after the way his party has made concessions in the coallition and the Conservative couldn’t be bothered to come back and canvass before the election. OK I know there are a lot of Fetes to attend this time of year being Mayor and all 🙂

    It’s hard to separate local and national politics but it really is very different. But as the encumbent seems to actually be championing some local issues and has a track record of having made some difference it seems a clear choice to me…

  5. Dear All,

    Just to let you know that both myself and the Editor are extremly busy people and the reason I couldn’t meet at the required time was due to work/family and campaign commitments.

    The Conservatives have been working on the broadband issue for some time and we even travelled to London at our own expense to discuss the matter with the Minister responsible for broadband, Ed Vaisey MP. You will be able to see details of that visit within this site and the Town Councils. Our MP Jack Lopresti has also been working hard to force the issue and its through us you will see progress on the matter.

    The picture supplied was of a recent litter pick organised in Bradley Stoke North as part of the South Gloucestershire “Big Spring Clean”

    I myself and our team work all year round for every part of the town and our record speaks for itself. We deliver on our promises and will continue to do so.

  6. As I sit here in the Meadowbrook ward, I don’t think I have seen any Conservative material. We have been door stepped once by the Lib Dem candidate and had numerous flyers. And to keep it balanced Labour isn’t standing for the town here.
    And as for South Gloucs nothing much from anyone.
    And they say the electorate isn’t interested.

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