A by-election for the Birchington South seat at Thanet District Council takes place on July 26.
The seat is vacant following the death of Thanet Independent Councillor Alan Howes, aged 72, last May.
The former Black Cab driver passed away following a collapse.
Three candidates are standing for Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. UKIP and Thanet Independent Councillors have not put forward a candidate.
A hustings has been arranged, with all parties invited, to take place at the Birchington Village Centre on July 23 from 8.30pm. Unfortunately, it is understood that Lib Dem candidate Hannah Lloyd-Bowyer will be away and so unable to make the meeting and Conservative Linda Wright is also unable to make the date due to personal reasons.
All are invited to come along and ask questions. Tea and coffee will be provided.
Helen Whitehead – Labour
I am 37, an ex deputy head, and Thanet resident for the last 30 years. I qualified as a teacher in local secondary schools 11 years ago and have previously worked as a parliamentary liaison.
I also work with the admirable and nonpartisan Save Our NHS In Kent. We are working currently to stop our stroke unit moving to Ashford, as travelling over an hour to treatment is simply too long. In London the average transport time to a Hyper Acute Stroke Unit is just under ten minutes. Here it will be over an hour. That isn’t equality of care and it isn’t acceptable.
Our GP services also stand to be cut; reduced from 14 centres of care to three “super hubs”. This is happening without formal consultation. Vulnerable, rural, disabled or elderly populations could potentially suffer greatly due to this decision, and with no consultation there is no chance to make our voices heard in a legal sense. I don’t find that to be acceptable. Birchington is especially vulnerable considering both the rural location and transport system; I pledge to keep fighting to make sure that vital NHS services stay exactly where we need them.
Effective local politics is both vital and necessary. A good councillor can make a profound difference to their area; I know that I have the skills to do so, and I hope to be given the chance to show that.
Linda Wright – Conservative
I have lived in Birchington for almost 20 years and am passionate about the village, our community and all that it offers. As a parish councillor I have been active in working with residents to provide events and activities that people of all ages can enjoy.
Previously I served on Thanet District Council so I am well versed in the role and responsibilities of a district councillor. You can be confident that I will always speak up for Birchington and ensure we receive the resources and funding that we need.
This is a crucial time for Thanet District Council, which is now back in Conservative control after the chaos of Ukip. We need experienced councillors who will put their residents first and fight for the things that are important to you; whether that’s bringing planes back to Manston, keeping our beaches at their best and parking charges fair to encourage more tourism or cracking down on rogue landlords and making sure everyone has access to a safe and suitable home.
The Local Plan is a challenge for Thanet and it’s crucial we get it right, to preserve the balance of coastal, urban and village life. Preservation and regeneration can go hand in hand, but only with a united community where people of all ages can be sure their voices will be heard.
You can call me on 07825 338999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannah Lloyd-Bowyer – Liberal Democrat
Hannah lives locally in Birchington with her husband and five year-old son. After serving for almost six years in the Royal Air Force, she moved back to Kent to start family life and begin further education. Hannah is currently a student at Canterbury Christ Church University studying International-Relations and History.
Hannah is an active member of the Liberal Democrat party because she believes in the party’s ethos of fighting for a fair, free and open society. She rejects the use of hostile and insular tactics as a basis for political reasoning, as it creates a divide within communities. It was the Lib Dem’s core values of liberty and equality in which became more relevant for her once she had her son, as it promotes an optimistic, kinder and more prosperous future.
Hannah is standing for election as the Birchington-South District Councillor as a Liberal Democrat representative.
It is the Liberal democrat approach in which promotes local government power as the foundation of a successful community and nation. Liberal democrats have always stressed the importance of community politics and the necessity to listen and communicate with local resident’s to improve concerns. Hannah will fight to ensure that public services are responsive to the needs of Birchington, with focus on family, environmental, and safety-based issues.
If elected as your representative, Hannah will use her previous experience to work for Birchington and be the voice of the community. She will run regular local surgeries for residents to meet and discuss issues, as well as being contactable via email.