Friday, 12 August 2022

Residents' group founder rejoins party to contest by-election

chairman of UKIP’s Henley branch from 2013 until February this year and resigned from the party altogether two weeks ago in order to rejoin HRG.

Mr Arlett said he felt the need to return as he was unhappy at how the town was being run by the ruling Conservative group.

He said: “I suppose I am now more of a frustrated resident but I feel I am better going with a group of people rather than doing it on my own.

“In retirement I thought I should do a bit more gardening but I got a little bit lonely, hence I have been going to a lot more council meetings.

“I have got time now and I have got the energy that I didn’t know I would have at 68. I think I have got a lot to offer the town council.”

Mr Arlett was interviewed by the HRG executive committee before being chosen as the candidate for the Henley North ward.

He said: “I have met a lot of new people that HRG have got and I probably shocked them with the type of person I am but I feel comfortable with them. I don’t want to waste the 15 years I spent with the party to see things we worked for just drift away.

“I think I can add something. I have got the experience, which I think could be handy.”

Mr Arlett, who was born and educated in Henley, is married to Dorothy and has two grown-up sons, Scott and Dan.

He said his priorities for the town included improving the air quality, reinstating deep-cleaning of the streets, helping to fund the local bus services, reducing the number of heavy goods vehicles in the town and fighting to retain police community support officers.

However, he is most passionate about implementing the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan, having been on one of the groups that helped develop it.

He said: “I am a big believer in affordable houses for local people. Now is an absolute prime time to push that.” Mr Arlett will be up against Joan Bland, a Conservative who has also been a town councillor previously and still represents Henley on South Oxfordshire District Council.

Independent candidate Donna-Marie Crook, 42, of Abrahams Road, is also standing. Councillor Thomas stood down after taking a new job in the civil service which required him to be politically neutral.

The by-election will be held on May 4, the same day as the Oxfordshire County Council elections.

There will also be a by-election in the Henley South ward after it was vacated by former mayor Martin Akehurst, a Conservative who resigned on health grounds last month.

The Conservative candidate is businesswoman and mother-of-two Yasmina Siadatan, who won the BBC's The Apprentice in 2009.

HRG will be representesd by Glen Lambert, a father-of-two who works in IT.

He stood for election in 2015 but was unsuccessful.

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