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What Makes a Green Councillor Different?

Green Councillors are different to most other council members. Greens come from all backgrounds and bring a wealth of experience to the job. Many run their own businesses or have done so in the past, so realise the pressures that are put on to small and medium sized enterprises. I co-founded and ran a large retail operation with branches all over the country, so I have a good insight into the problems now facing our post-Covid high streets.

Many other councillors have come from academia or the various public sectors or just from the same background as the people they represent. I was born to a working family in East London and grew up in South East London/Kent where I attended a secondary modern school in the 70s.

But the one thing that has driven us all to take on the job of a councillor is a desire to make the world a better place for everyone and a willingness to fully represent and work for the people who have put their faith in us by giving us their vote.

The Green Party doesn’t operate a party whip.  We always remember we are there to represent the people who voted for us, and we will always put people before party.

As a District Councillor, I’ve seen first hand how local government can work against the interests of our communities rather than for them.

Party dogma is the main reason for this with councillors being fiercely whipped, especially by the Conservative leadership.  This has resulted in some frankly bizarre outcomes with residents and council tax payers bearing the brunt.

The Green Party doesn’t operate a party whip. We always remember we are there to represent the people who voted for us, and we will always put people before party. Green councillors are free to vote how they see fit, which has resulted in far better outcomes for residents.

For example it only took one Green County Councillor, working across party lines, to secure 20MPH powers for local councils as part of the ’20 is plenty’ initiative. Of course other parties now claim credit for that great achievement, but we don’t mind, as long as our communities benefit.

The Green Party were one of the first instigators of the 20 is Plenty Campaign

But it’s on climate change that Greens really lead the way. While we’ve welcomed other parties into the climate awareness fold, they often still don’t get it. They don’t see environmentalism as literally a global issue, preferring to compartmentalise and focus only on their own operations. 

Of course that’s important, but in the midst of an emergency we have to tackle the problem at all levels, not just those that conveniently and comfortably coincide with other priorities such as exponential growth.

For all these reasons and many more, voting Green brings positive change for our communities and our planet. Change that’s needed now, before it’s too late.

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Watch – Why do I Want to be Your County Councillor? [VIDEO]

I currently sit on 4 different councils – Cherwell District Council, Yarnton Parish Council, Gosford and Water Eaton Parish Council and Kidlington Parish Council.

So why do I also want to be a County Councillor? Well there are many things I can’t get done without influence at a county level. I’ve tried several times to get the county to co-operate on issues that needs to be dealt with in my district ward, such as road repairs, tree planting and flood defences. Sometimes it can take me a whole year just to get a meeting with county officers.

As a County Councillor it will be far more difficult for the county council to ignore me. I’ll be able to get things done that have not been properly dealt with by the existing councillor in Kidlington South.

If you don’t know who that is and you live in the Kidlington South Division (check your polling card) then that’s a pretty good indication of how bad a job your current councillor is doing.

This short video gives you some more idea of why I would like to be your representative on the County Council, especially for people who live in Yarnton and Begbroke. As a Yarnton resident myself it will be nice to be able to help people in my local community.

Watch the video here https://youtu.be/YPQ00FGIlFc

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Greens Win Motion for Better Flood Response in Cherwell

At the full Cherwell District Council meeting in February I brought a motion calling for a more joined up approach to flooding response in our area and across Oxfordshire which was passed unanimously by members of the council.

The motion called for areas that are at risk of flooding to establish a ‘flood resilient community’, including the formation of local flood response groups and forums for residents to feedback information on current and potential flooding risks,

To support these groups I suggested the setting up of local flood response stores to provide locally available flood alleviation equipment. I had hoped that there would be funding for this, but there was some push back on this from the County Council due to shortage of money. I still don’t think that’s good enough and will be pursuing this more fully in the future.

The motion also said that updated surveys and maintenance programs, with maps of drainage and flood defences and associated repair responsibilities should be published regularly to help local groups and response agencies to maintain and monitor them.

Finally I called on risk management agencies across the county to set up a cooperative task force, including the provision of a centralised contact point which can trigger an immediate, proportionate response to all emergency flooding events. It is envisaged that all local councils and other agencies would play a part in this.

Flooding in Yarnton

I was very glad we managed to debate this motion, even though it only just made it before the new 11pm guillotine imposed by the Conservatives in the recent constitutional review.  If it hadn’t been discussed at this meeting, it would have been another 5 months before it would have been heard and obviously we could be facing many more flood incidents before then.

As a councillor, I’ve been trying to help local residents deal with flooding in both my Parish and District council wards.  It’s become apparent that there is no central co-ordination and no single contact point that can be called on to manage flooding at all levels.  Smaller floods are often given a low priority by the relevant agencies and even the new guidance issued by the County and District councils doesn’t provide a timely response to these incidents.

Cherwell District Council recently resumed responsibility for flood defence in the region and as we also work closely with the county council we are in a unique position to take some leadership on this issue and improve responses to these distressing and costly incidents.  This is even more important in areas like Yarnton and Begbroke which have been flooded recently and where the council has recently identified areas for development as part of the local plan review. 

Covering areas in tarmac and concrete is only going to increase the likelihood of flooding and we need to ensure that suitable and long lasting flood alleviation measures are included along with responsibility for maintenance.