Final contenders for Melton seats in County Hall elections

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Four Melton seats are up for grabs at County Hall next week when residents go to the polls in the local elections.

Four Melton seats are up for grabs at County Hall next week when residents go to the polls in the local elections.

We published profiles of candidates for Melton East and Melton West in last week’s Melton Times.

This week we focus on the contenders for the remaining two wards - Melton Wolds and Belvoir. Ballots will be held on Thursday May 4.

MELTON WOLDS:

WOODY KITSON (GREEN)

Woody is creative scientist and having followed the path of computer science through school, college and university, he broke away from the corporate IT environment in 2002 to start up his own successful IT business.

Woody grew up in Goadby Marwood and has recently moved into Melton with his young family.

Our democracy should be participatory and empowering, allowing people to take an active and informed part in the decision-making processes that affect their lives.

Major decisions, such as new residential developments, transport, education (including schools) and economic developments should be made for the benefit of the local community, not just the planning developers and big businesses.

IAN LAUDER 
(LIBERAL DEMOCRAT)

Ian is from County Durham but has lived in Leicestershire since 1984 and he takes great interest in local issues. Formerly Head of the Medical School at the University of Leicester for nine years having qualified as a doctor in 1969, he is a trustee of two medical charities including a major local cancer charity.

In the past he was a district councillor and deputy group leader on Gateshead MDC.

Since retiring in 2008 Ian has devoted much time to his political and scientific interests especially climate change and energy conservation.

He campaigned in the original ‘Britain in Europe Campaign’, Ian is particularly concerned about the hugely negative impact of Brexit on UK Science in terms of both funding and expert manpower. Having worked alongside the NHS, Ian said: “I really appreciate the role of social care. In Leicestershire this has been a disaster under the Tories. There is no back-up to the single provider in each area. Up to a third of some NHS beds in acute hospitals are blocked by those who should be in social care.”

Regarding highways, Ian is very concerned about the lack of verge cutting and the number of dangerous potholes in our roads.

JOE ORSON (CONSERVATIVE)

First elected in 2005 to serve as a Leicestershire county councillor, Joe is currently cabinet member for Safer Communities and Trading Standards.

He also chairs the Leicestershire Safer Community Strategy Board plus the Leicester, Leicestershire, Rutland Police and Crime Panel.

Joe says he has an excellent grasp of what matters to residents in the Melton Wolds Division as he has lived and worked all of his life in the patch.

His heart and his work are in the countryside and he is passionate about defending the rural way of life in the borough. One of Joe’s strengths, he considers, is a proven ability to listen to all and translate residents’ concerns into actions.

Areas he will address include continuing to work to deliver super-fast broadband to all who live in the Melton Wolds Division and speeding traffice through villages which he considers to be anti-social behaviour and should be tackled with a programme of community speed cameras.

Joe says he will continue to defend Melton’s rural bus services to enable people to get to work, college, schools, shops, post offices and doctors’ appointments. He will also continue working closely with parish councils and community groups.

JOY SHARMAN (UKIP)

Joy is keen to talk up the continuing relevance of the UKIP party despite the Referendum result.

She said: “Our manifesto in 2015 was widely regarded as being the best manifesto of all, and indeed the Conservatives have since borrowed from it.

“We have been the people’s voice, and can be so again. Brexit was only the start of reform. There is much work still to do, beginning with fair deals for our farmers and fishermen. We want our NHS well-funded and used properly rather than abused. Our schools need to be the best for our children.

“Nigel Farage always made it clear. It’s about the people. This I totally support. I hope you do too.”

MARION SMITH (LABOUR)

Marion is a retired pharmacist and takes a keen interest in health and social services. She knows local government well having been a borough councillor in Leicestershire for a number of years and a school governor for almost 30 years.

Marion is married with four grown-up children and two grandsons. She is very concerned about the future of social care, especially for the elderly, who she says have seen in recent years the county council close elderly care homes, increase social care charges above inflation and, in Melton, attempting to end the extra care provision at Gretton Court. Marion said: “We should do more to care for our elderly, supporting them to remain independent through the provision of services at home and more locally.”

Marion is a beekeeper and a keen gardener and was vice-chair of her local Bloom Board. She is very concerned that our towns and villages should be clean and attractive. Marion believes that through encouraging community participation in our villages more can be done to make them more vibrant places to live.

The county council can support this, she believes, through the provision of local services and better transport links.

BELVOIR:

GRAHAM HALL (UKIP)

Graham Hall has lived in the Melton area since 1989. He was responsible for managing the Petcare supply chains for the Mars Group until 1994 and has since worked internationally to bring increased cost-efficiency to large multinationals through his own consultancy company.

Graham is a staunch supporter of UKIP’s aims in the Referendum and has been an outspoken libertarian since he was old enough to think for himself.

He would like to use his decades of commercial experience to address the many areas of waste within the local government bureaucracy, acting with the same fearless resolve for which UKIP is nationally acknowledged.

Above all, in a constituency where a large Tory majority has been in place for many years, Graham sees himself as the logical choice for voters who would like to challenge the complacency that leads to ever-increasing costs.

He stands firm against the hypocritical cynicism, wishy-washy political correctness and incoherent policies of the mainstream parties that so often seem to disregard the needs of a hardworking local electorate. His primary focus would be to reduce Council Tax while prioritising expenditure in areas that bring direct benefit to residents through better infrastructure and improved quality of life.

LILY KAUFMAN 
(LIBERAL DEMOCRATS)

Lily is an experienced councillor who has lived in Leicestershire for over 20 years, and who has brought up a family using the Leicestershire state school system.

As a result she has a special interest in the education of local young people, and says she is horrified by, and wants to resist, the cuts that are leaving state schools under funded, even to the extent of having to cancel certain subjects. 

Working as she does in recruitment, she: “I am always delighted when I place anyone in employment, but it is especially rewarding if they have been long term unemployed.

“Also times are hard for young people as youth unemployment remains stubbornly high, and good jobs are hard for them to find. I make young people my priority and the rewards of placing a young person in their first good job at the start of their career is another highlight of my work.”

She is concerned about what she considers to be the draconian cuts that have been made across the county, and she wants to sit on the county council as a Liberal Democrat to fight further cuts, and find less harmful ways to manage its finances. She is also keen to find out more about and address the pressing issues in Belvoir Ward.

BYRON RHODES 
(CONSERVATIVE)

Byron is a standing county councillor and says the Conservatives have run the council for the last 16 years and proved that they can do the job. He champions the party’s motto that ‘Conservatives manage your money and services better’.

Byron said: “Over the last seven years, Leicestershire, like all councils, has faced an unprecedented reduction in funding. The county council responded by reducing costs and trimming services and managed to make ends meet every year.

“Our priority has been, and will continue to be, to look after our elderly residents and those who are disabled, whilst protecting and maintaining front line services for everyone.

“We are also working with others to promote Leicestershire as the best place to invest and set up businesses.

“In the rural areas, like the Belvoir Division, many people are worried about excessive development in their village, which would overload the local infrastructure. I am standing up for them and campaigning for a more reasonable distribution of housing to the areas that have the infrastructure to accommodate it.”

COLETTE STEIN (GREEN)

Colette has lived in Goadby Marwood for 30 years working locally and raising a family. She has been a school governor for Scalford School, a parish clerk and councillor and was secretary of the village hall committee for many years.

Colette has a background in computer programming.

She said: “The residents of Vale of Belvoir should vote for me because I will represent them actively and tackle the thorny problems that beset the local environment, such as litter and broken pavements. I will work to improve public transport and cycling and walking facilities, so that the traffic congestion in Melton can be relieved. l want to see more transparency in government at the local level, with decisions made for the good of all, and more cooperation between the parties.”

Colette wants to reduce pressure on the NHS by working creatively with social services to support patients better at home.

She also wants to ensure libraries are funded and well provisioned and is keen to support farmers to trade with local customers.

ANDRE WHEELER 
(LABOUR & CO-OPERATIVE)

Andre has been involved in education for many years. He is self-employed and a supply teacher.

Andre has been a borough councillor in Leicestershire for eight years and chairman of his local parish council for four years.

He supports developing leisure and sporting facilities for young people and was involved in transforming four play areas and worked with the FA and local football club to obtain £600,000 to build a new pavilion.

Andre believes that the county council should do more for young people in the Vale of Belvoir and elsewhere to encourage them to get involved in positive activities.

He says that the county should support transport to help young people into Melton to use the facilities there, particularly in the evening and at weekends.

The reduction in subsidies to rural bus services also affects those wanting to work in Melton and elsewhere as well as access to doctors’ surgeries and other services.

He said: “People don’t realise how isolated people can be in rural areas especially if they don’t have their own transport.

“The county council should provide better transport links and provide more services locally.”