Monday, 20 May 2019

Voters go to the polls for town and district elections

Voters go to the polls for town and district elections

Hundreds of people are making their way to the polls today (Thursday) to vote in town and district council elections.

Polling stations in Henley and the surrounding villages opened at 7am and will close at 10pm.

The count will then take place at White Horse leisure centre in Abingdon overnight with the results expected to be announced tomorrow.

There are 27 candidates standing for the 16 seats on Henley Town Council, as well as as further 31 hoping to be elected to seven wards in the South Oxfordshire District Council elections.

The wards are: Henley, Benson and Crowmarsh, Kidmore End and Whitchurch, Woodcote and Rotherfield, Goring, Sonning Common and Watlington.

Elections are also taking place in the Caversham and Peppard wards on Reading Borough Council.

The Henley Standard went around the polling stations in Henley to ask how people voted in the town council election and why.

Nick Clemo, 62, of Green Lane, voted at the Christ Church Centre in Reading Road with his wife Kate. 

He said: “I just believe in expressing democracy and having my say on matters. As a place to live I enjoy Henley and I like to town to feel good.”

Mr Clemo voted for the Henley Residents Group and said he hoped they would look after local services such as the leisure centre in Gillotts Lane and the environment. 

Mrs Clemo, 58, also voted for the Henley Residents Group. She said: “I always vote when I can because a school teacher of mine told me that women had died in order to get us the vote. I think it’s really important that I excercise my constitutional right.

“People who are going to stand on an independent platform are going to work quite hard for the community. I think for Henley, it’s about keeping the town vibrant and supporting local businesses, in particular, so there’s a sense of continued community.”

Jo Wilby, 61, of St Mark’s Road, said: “I voted Conservative, particularly for Laurence Plant. I like the ideas that he had in his manifesto. He was talking about affordable housing for young people in Henley because I’m sure the demographic is towards the older, and young people can’t afford to live here. It’s nice to see a young person wanting to stand.”

Tim Capell, 57, of St Mark’s Road, would not say how he voted, but said: “I think you’ve got to get involved in local elections because it is important that we have a say and that we get involved in our local community and local town. The important issues are traffic, house building and the town centre. Some shops are empty and pubs are closing. We seem to have 18 coffee shops. We could make more of it.”

Ramsay Adams, 60, of Ravenscroft Road, voted for the Henley Residents’ Group at the town hall. He said: “I have always voted and I see it as a civic duty regardless of political parties. I believe that they (HRG) are apolitical, and at this level that politics should be apolitical.”

Richard Guy, 71, of New Street, voted for a mix of HRG and Conservative candidates. He said: “It is an opportunity to choose the councillors that are actually going to represent you. I voted on my perception of who the better councillors were or who will be a better councillor. I’ve met some of them and others I know by reputation. You read their comments in your newspaper and some of them I am not so impressed with.”

Andrew Fletcher, 61, of Western Road, voted for Henley Residents’ Group at Trinity Hall in Harpsden Road. 

He said: “I always vote and I just feel it is part of my responsibility. My father fought in the war and on his death bed he made me say I would vote in every election going. I’m just anti-Tory Party and what they stand for. They are more extreme now than they used to be.”

Caroline Thompson, 60, of Rotherfield Road, would not say how she voted but encouraged others to take part. 

She said: “People die for a vote and some still do not have a vote. It’s important that you use your right: you can’t complain aftwerwards if you don’t.”

Martin Eggleton, 66, of Gainsborough Crescent, voted for the Henley Residents Group at Henley Leisure Centre in Gillotts Lane.

He said: “I think they are more in touch with the issues in Henley. Most of them have probably lived in Henley all their life. I think most of them were born here. 

Conservative Jessica Piasecki-Jarvis is standing for the Conservatives. She said: “I think even though it seems to have been quiet this morning, I think the postal vote is going up. They are all positive signs. So much goes on behind the scenes. We have to push social media. I think people still care about Henley. They do still realise that this is about the town.”

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