Independent and proud of it

Some views from candidates who prefer to stand for election outside of political parties VOTERS wanting an alternative to the main parties are looking to promises made by independent candidates across the district. Derrick Beckett is fighting for his sec

Some views from candidates who prefer to stand for election outside of political parties

VOTERS wanting an alternative to the main parties are looking to promises made by independent candidates across the district.

Derrick Beckett is fighting for his second term of office in Isleham after serving for four years on the district council.

Having lived in Isleham all his life and farmed in the area, he has pledged to work to secure affordable housing for village youngsters and will continue his Safe Routes to School campaign for a ramp outside the entrance to Isleham Primary School.


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Long-standing villagers will know Littleport East's candidate Andy Wright who has served on the district and parish councils for the last 31 years.

He believes party politics are divisive and too many decisions are pre-determined or made as private group meetings and not in the transparency of the council chamber.

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"I still feel our job is to represent the people who elected us to the council and not just represent a political party," he said.

Ely North councillor Mike Bunting is fighting to retain his seat and said: "Councillors are expected to make decisions about local issues for local people and I seriously question the benefit or, in fact the need for politics at local level."

He has made, among others, the following election pledges:

# continue to press to ensure that essential infrastructure keeps pace with the growth in housing development

# seek to increase the number of affordable homes for the young and needy

# actively seek solutions in the city centre to reduce traffic congestion and improve parking facilities

Ely businessman, Will Burton, is standing for election in Ely East ward and believes in dealing with local issues not politics.

He wants more support for the elderly, not cuts; less reliance on outside consultants; clear, plain speaking at all times; a transparent planning process and practical sustainable conservation.

"All too often the resolving of issues is being protracted by political wrangling and no other reason," he said.

Ely Traders' Association chairman, Elaine Griffin-Singh is standing as an independent in Ely North ward and intends to be "open, out-spoken and community minded".

"It is time to look at people, local people, and begin addressing their needs and daily problems," she said.

"I see the role of councillor as a link between the community and local government. I believe the public should be consulted on issues and the majority opinion followed."

Soham candidate, Donna Martin, believes being independent is a major strength when it comes to representing the people of the town.

She said: "We can support each other with decisions or can work with people to make the right decisions for the town. I feel party politics has got in the way of local government and they are not doing the best for our community."

With a 17-year track record on the district council, Soham North candidate, John Palmer is standing again.

He has served on the council's planning committee, joined the campaign to save St. Andrew's Parish Hall from developers and believes he has a "good record". He said: "I will work hard and help the community in any way I can."

Littleport villager, Owen Winters is standing in Downham villages and John Kirkham is standing in Soham North.

Mr Winters, founder member of Downham Independent Youth Club, has been involved in several campaigns, and promises to "look at every situation on its merits". "We need a local person who knows and loves the area," he said. "I am that man."

Soham Town Councillor, John Kirkham said: "My aim is to seek quality development within the area concentrating on people's needs and giving much consideration to the young, elderly and the disabled.

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