Thursday, 29 April 2010

Worcester Park Ward: Meet The Candidates - Conservative Party

Ahead of the local Council elections on 6th May, The Worcester Park Blog profiles the main candidates for Sutton Council's 'Worcester Park Ward' and asks what their top priorities would be if elected.

The Conservative Party candidates for the three seats in Worcester Park Ward are (left to right) Stuart Gordon-Bullock, Marie Grant and Alan Swinton.

Councillor Stuart Gordon-Bullock: Prior to retirement, Stuart was an adviser to several central European Governments and continues his work as an occupational health and safety consultant.

Stuart has been Chairman of the Sutton Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee as well as the Joint Committee with Surrey and Merton.

He has held the Health Trusts to account, earning praise from GPs and Lib Dem councillors. Following his report into hospital acquired infections there was a reduction in infection rates.

Marie Grant: A local resident for the past 25 years, whose children went to Sutton state schools, Marie has always been active in the community. One such example is working with Sutton Voluntary Centre. Prior to her retirement, she was an Executive Director in the NHS. She continues to work part-time as a healthcare consultant.

Marie’s priorities are to ease the traffic misery in Worcester Park and to promote the development of a new secondary school to serve local residents.

Alan Swinton: Alan has lived in the Borough since 1970, where he and his wife have raised their three children. He has been involved in voluntary work and fund raising for local charities and good causes.

Alan wanted to enter politics so that he could help people, having experienced the same range of problems that all residents face when dealing with the services that Sutton Council provides.

Q. As you seek re-election, what are your proudest achievements as Councillor over the course of your term in office?

A. Ensuring that the voices of Worcester Park residents were clearly heard in the Hamptons planning appeal. Stuart was pleased to play his part in getting the £35 per bag green garden waste charge reversed.

This unpopular extra tax and the £800,000 cost of the u-turn could have been avoided if the Liberal Democrats had spoken to residents first.

Q. Councils are likely to come under increasing financial pressures in the forthcoming term. How would you propose meeting this challenge and ensuring that costs can be cut and savings made without essential services suffering?

A: The Conservative Group proposed a council tax cut of 1.75% this year. In doing so, we sought to improve services rather than cut them including offering financial incentives to reward residents to recycle and a more customer-focused planning service.

We were amazed to see the amount the Council spends on outside consultants and agency staff. Savings need to translate into reduced budgets rather than ‘unavoidable growth’ as we are told each year.

Q: The last couple of years have been very tough ones for Worcester Park's independent traders. What would you seek to do to help small businesses in the area and make sure Worcester Park's high street not only survives but thrives?

A: We want to continue to work with Terry Dobbs and the Worcester Park Traders’ Association to get their voices heard in Sutton’s Civic Offices.

All new Council policies need to be assessed for their impact on businesses as well as residents. We also need a marketing strategy to get a greater choice of shops in the area.

Getting Central Road moving will help bring back people who avoid the choking congestion and choose to shop elsewhere.

Q: Availability of primary and secondary school places is a key concern for local parents. What should be done to ensure a fairer system for children in Worcester Park?

A: We need a new Secondary school in the west of the Borough to stop children having to go so far across town and out of Borough. We need to work to expand good primary schools to provide adequate places.

Q: Aside from the above, what are your top priorities for Worcester Park?

A: Ensuring that local traffic issues are properly tackled and attracting inward investment into the area.