Sunday, 21 April 2019

Former mayors to stand in district council elections

Former mayors to stand in district council elections

THREE former mayors of Henley are to stand for Henley Residents Group at the South Oxfordshire District Council elections.

Ken Arlett, Kellie Hinton and current district councillor Stefan Gawrysiak will contest the three Henley seats at the elections on Thursday, May 2.

The trio have more than 50 years’ experience as councillors between them. All are currently on Henley Town Council and Councillor Gawrysiak is also a member of Oxfordshire County Council.

Councillor Gawrysiak, of Elizabeth Road, has lived in the town for 35 years was formerly assistant headteacher at Gillotts School.

He became a town councillor in 2012 and served as mayor in 2013/14 He was elected to the district council in 2015.

He is a member of Henley Bridge Rotary Club and the Henley Show committee and helped found the youth project Music on the Meadows when he was mayor.

Cllr Gawrysiak said he used his district councillor grants to support Henley Cricket Club, AFC Henley and Henley Operatic and Dramatic Society as well as for road repairs in the town.

He said: “I have been successful in achieving many of my objectives on the district council. HRG, in conjunction with Grundon, removed the business waste in the evenings from the streets of Henley.

“HRG made sure that our local community bus was secured Monday to Saturday.

“I secured the £100,000 for air quality measures in the district council budget and we have plans for £43,000 of this money for Henley.

“We have had major funding to refurbish the leisure centre and I will continue to press for fair funding for Henley’s schools which have a funding deficit of more than £100,000.

“Having this team means we will have a strong voice, communicating the same message, able to ensure Henley’s needs are properly taken into account at district level.”

Councillor Arlett, who lives in Elizabeth Road, was a founder member of HRG and was elected to the town council in 1992, serving as mayor in 1991/2. He also served as a district councillor for 12 years.

He stood down in 2007 to concentrate on his work as a builder and other business interests.

Cllr Arlett joined the UK Independence Party and stood for election to Oxfordshire County Council in 2012 but was unsuccessful. He was chairman of UKIP’s Henley branch from 2013 until 2017 when he resigned to rejoin HRG.

He was re-elected to the town council at a by-election in 2017 and now chairs the planning and neighbourhood plan committees as well as being Deputy Mayor.

Cllr Arlett said: “It is time to engage with the district council once more — they are the planning authority for Henley and we need to ensure our concerns for the future are met, which can only be good for Henley.”

He vowed to support Henley clubs and societies seeking grants from the district council and to represent the town view’s in relation the district council’s emerging local plan.

Councillor Hinton, who lives in Queen Street, was elected to the town council in 2011 and then became involved with Henley in Bloom, serving as vice-chairman and then chairman.

She became the town’s youngest ever mayor in 2017, aged 31, and was named national Young Councillor of the Year in the same year.

Cllr Hinton said: “With Ken and Stefan, my colleagues for years, we make a good team. With their experience and knowledge and my youth and enthusiasm, we will be a force to be reckoned with. I want to ensure we have a strong district council voice fighting for our open and green spaces, air quality, conservation, waste collection, litter management and our sustainability as a town and as a district.”

Gill Dodds, leader of Henley Residents Group, said: “This team brings together the younger and older generations — delivering energy, enthusiasm and those little grey cells — a perfect combination for Henley and probably the strongest we have ever put forward.

“Stefan, Ken and Kellie have all shown their passion for Henley and the needs of its residents.

“HRG’s executive committee is 100 per cent confident they will work for the interests of the town and the district rather than for political reasons.”

The Conservatives have also put forward three candidates.

They are Will Hall, who currently represents Sonning Common on the council, and town councillors Will Hamilton and Laurence Plant.

The three seats are currentlly held by Cllr Gawrysiak and Conservatives Joan Bland and Lorraine Hillier.

Councillor Bland, a former town councillor, has decided not to stand again while Councillor Hillier, a former mayor who stands as in Independent Conservative on the town council, was not chosen as a candidate by the Tories.

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