Saturday, 24 July 2021

Meet your local election candidates

Tell you about themselves, their ambitions and why they want your vote


Ken Arlett, UKIP

UKIP has excellent national and local policies that the other parties do not. UKIP is an organisation that cares about people rather than the political mandarins who are attempting to run this country or, perhaps I should say, ruin it. Our extensive canvassing shows that people want change and UKIP is their choice.

UKIP is the only “independent” political group that is taking the threat of unmanaged immigration, a £12 billion annual deficit, our right to rule ourselves and the unaudited accounts of the EU seriously. All this is having a massive impact on local services, such as schools, housing, hospitals and jobs.

Over the past four years our Conservative county councillors have complained about the lack of funding from central Government. Why? Because it is all going to the EU. Lack of funding for our libraries, youth clubs, schools, social services and roads is turning us into a third world nation.

I want to help UKIP put the “Great” back in Britain. With my 15 years’ experience as a town councillor and 12 as a district councillor, we can achieve this together but I can only do it with your support.

Peter Dragonetti, Green

I AM a chartered accountant and have lived in Goring Heath for more than 25 years. I am chairman of the parish council.

I have been active in community action for many years, particularly in Goring Heath where I have initiated and organised things as varied as the local litter blitz, purchasing for the community common land to secure its future, securing a road closure order for the local Remembrance Day ceremony and creating footpaths.

The county council has let Henley down too often, whether it is the fiasco over the Bell Street highway “land grab” or the chaos over the route of Challenge Henley.

With the cabinet structure that has been set up by the Conservatives at the county council, any Conservative councillor elected is just lobby fodder, unable to challenge the party line, so a Conservative vote in Henley is a wasted vote.

Henley needs a strong independent green voice, someone who can represent the people, not the narrow interests of the Conservative Party.

Asbjorg Dunker, Liberal Democrat

“LIBERALISM is a faith, not a formula,” said the great Liberal Sir William Beveridge. What he meant is that liberalism is a set of timeless principles, married to an unshakeable belief in human progress.

We may be the smaller party but we have the biggest ideas. We never run away from change, which is why much of the radical thinking in this coalition government’s economic reform is Liberal-led.

We’re not just rebuilding the old economy, repeating mistakes of the past. We seek to build an economy that is resilient, sustainable, open and green. We’re working towards better schools and proper vocational learning, greater shareholder democracy, flexible working and shared parental leave and tax cuts for working families, paid for by higher taxes on unearned wealth.

Balancing the books is not a science, it’s a judgment. While sticking to a plan requires the Government to be resolute, in a fluid, fast-moving global economic environment, it also has to be flexible. Reducing the deficit is essential but it’s a means to an end — sustainable growth.

Stefan Gawrysiak, Henley Residents’ Group

DURING 30 years as a teacher and then as assistant headteacher at Gillotts School, I contributed to its outstanding success.

As a Henley town councillor and Deputy Mayor, I am heavily involved in the community and have helped to organise things like the Henley half marathon and Sue Ryder fireworks.

The other candidates are standing for national parties. Our government deals with things like Britain being in or out of Europe and the strength of the economy. That’s not something for Oxfordshire County Council and this election.

At county level I am fed up with things not being done in the interests of Henley — bollards and potholes, too few pedestrian crossings, too few buses, schools, hospitals and no funding for our youth centre.

All these are local issues and it is essential that Henley is represented by someone who will get things done.

This election is about local matters. As your HRG county councillor, I will fight for Henley and get things done. I willl be your independent voice for Henley.

David Nimmo Smith, Conservative *

MARRIED to Judith, a member of South Oxfordshire District Council, I have had 30 years of public service in Henley, including as Mayor. I believe I can powerfully and effectively advocate for Henley at the strategic county level.I have recently supported successful funding applications from Henley Youth Centre, Noman/d:two, Henley Good Neighbours and Henley FC. I have chaired the governors of Gillotts School and currently serve on the boards of both The Henley College and the River and Rowing Museum.

I champion the campaign to rebuild Townlands Hospital, which, through county council joint working, will site a reprovided Chilterns End care home, and I am on the Oxfordshire Health Improvement Board. I will fight to raise school standards further and to secure more youth service funding. As a civil engineer, I will tackle effective road maintenance. On the Chilterns Conservation Board, I help protect the countryside and on the Henley Neighbourhood Planning Group, I will work with you to develop the type of town we want for future generations.

Veronica Treacher, Labour and Co-operative

I HAVE lived in Rotherfield Peppard since 1975 and have always worked in the state education sector. My children were educated at local community schools and The Henley College. I have been a school governor and have always been actively involved in local issues, from planning to changes in the Oxfordshire NHS. I work as a volunteer for Oxfam in my spare time and chair the Henley Labour Party.

I believe in local government services delivered for the good of the community, not private profit, but the Tories dismantle the public realm. Slavishly following failed Tory austerity programmes, they enact an avalanche of divisive welfare cuts. In education, the academies policy is divisive, setting school against school, where once there was collaboration.

Oxfordshire is increasingly divided and I believe Henley electors deserve a chance to vote for real change. By voting Labour, you will be helping redress the balance at county hall. Looking after the young, old, weak and vulnerable is a proper function of government, especially in difficult times.


David Bartholomew, Conservative

I HAVE not been actively involved in local politics since I was a teenager and have not stood for election before, so I can’t list my political achievements or provide details of a track record at Oxfordshire County Council.

What I can offer is wide experience in business and a passionate commitment to this area, where I have lived with my family for nearly 25 years.

In the run-up to the election, I have attended parish council meetings in all nine parishes for which I would be responsible and I have met many constituents while out canvassing for support. This means I am fully up to date on local matters.

My career has spanned 10 years working for multi-national companies and 25 running my own business. For the last 15 years my company has been based in Henley, so I have been a local employer. This experience means I can understand the complexities of a large organisation without forgetting how decisions impact on real people at the sharp end.

If elected I aim to understand and act on local issues, protect essential local services and ensure spending is prudent and wise.

Craig Simmons, Green

I RUN an internationally recognised and respected sustainability consultancy based in Oxford, employing people from around the county.

I am an Oxford city councillor and was an Oxfordshire county councillor for 13 years before standing down in 2010.

I have played an influential role in developing local environmental policies.

I am a keen cyclist and last year cycled from Oxford to Cambridge, raising money for the British Heart Foundation.

David Winchester, Labour and Co-operative

I HAVE lived in Sonning Common with my wife Ruth since 1985. Our children went to Chiltern Edge School and The Henley College.

I own a computer consultancy that specialises in supporting small businesses.

I have been a member of the village hall committee and chairman of the governors of Chiltern Edge. I am an active member of the Reading Branch of the WEA, a voluntary organisation which provides short courses.

I am standing for election because I believes that local people need their councillor to help resist the relentless cutting of essential services.

I am committed to maintaining and improving services for the younger and older members of our communities, such as libraries, bus services, youth centres and day centres.

The time has come to break the direct Tory link from Parliament to pothole.

Vote for me on May 2 to obtain your voice on the county council.

Peter Barnby, UKIP

VOTE for me and I will...
  • Protect the area that you and I are passionate about.
  • Tirelessly work against HS2. Only UKIP says no to HS2.
  • Lobby town and district councils to act in the interests of my constituents and not out of party political loyalty or ideology.
  • Fight wasteful vanity projects, spendthrift policies and the local government “gravy train”
  • .
  • Provide you with open, honest and accessible representation.

The three old parties take your vote for granted while ignoring your wishes. How many times have you made a complaint or raised a concern only to be met with “buck-passing” or indifference from local councillors terrified to say something that would irritate their party or local government political group? That is not democracy, it is arrogant complacency.

Show the old failed parties who is boss and elect someone who will be a true public servant, listening to what people say that they want and not telling them what they need. Vote for me on May 2.


Nick Brazil, UKIP

I AM an author, film-maker and photographer who has lived in the Whitchurch area since moving to the village in 1976.

I have always taken an active interest in the area. This has taken the form of a series of documentaries about Whitchurch, including Mr Toad’s Village, which raised nearly £2,000 for a local children’s hospice. I also initiated and designed the Whitchurch Maze.

I am currently picture editor for the Whitchurch village website and regularly supply articles for the Whitchurch Bulletin.

If I am elected as councillor I would seek to represent the interests of all the residents in the ward.

Since UKIP councillors are not “whipped” in the way members of other political parties are, I feel this will give me additional freedom to act on behalf of all the residents of Goring ward.

Kevin Bulmer, Conservative

I’VE been on Goring Parish Council for several years and am currently vice-chairman as well as chairman of the planning committee.

I’ve lived in Goring for more than six years (before that in Guildford, Surrey) and my wife Mary has lived here for more than 30 years. Mary and I and have two sons and two stepchildren and four grandchildren.

My profession is a quantity surveyor and I’m a member of the Chartered Institute of Building. I have spent most of my professional life in the construction industry, although I had a short spell running an IT department.

I believe you should vote for me because local Conservatives give you value for money. I do, however, believe that Oxfordshire County Council has forgotten that it is primarily a rural county and I want to bring more emphasis on rural areas.

The state of the roads is a big problem in rural areas, both in the damage to cars and the negative economic impact. I also want to make sure we minimise the impact of the Whitchurch Bridge closure.

James Norman, Green

I AM an organic farmer and woodland manager with a keen interest in nature conservation. I have taken a committed part in the organic movement for 30 years.

I farm Hereford cattle and cereals on the Hardwick Estate at Whitchurch, which is a haven of species-rich pastures and other wildlife. I also run a renewable energy company specialising in wood-fired heating systems, which I see as part of the solution to the energy crisis.

I am a long-standing member of the Green Party and have stood as a candidate at district and county level several times.

In the local area, I am an active member of the Pangbourne and Whitchurch Sustainability Group.

I would like to represent the Goring area because everything about the rural world is under a multitude of threats. This includes nature and wildlife, the sustainability of food production and of rural communities and the quality of landscape and the air and water around us.

County councils can do a great deal to help protect and sustain our mutual dependence on the natural world.

Caroline Wardle, Liberal Democrat

I HAVE lived in Goring for 40 years and know how the village and local area has developed in that time, so am well aware of current local issues. I am a keen conservationist and will work to protect and enhance our beautiful environment.

I am married and I am an active member of St Thomas’ Church, Goring, serving as sidesman and driver. In the Nineties I produced the mystery plays, which combined members of the four Goring and Streatley churches and non-churchgoers in open-air performances of traditional medieval Bible plays.

I have been an active member of the Goring Gap Players and also produced the community play for Goring and Streatley’s celebrations of the Queen’s silver jubilee.

I am now retired, having spent most of my working in the IT industry as a programmer. I also worked as a qualified aromatherapist.

If elected, I will work hard to find solutions to local problems in Goring, Goring Heath, Whitchurch and Whitchurch Hill and to represent the views of the people in these villages and protect their interests.

Adam Wood, Labour

THERE is an alternative to a (raving!) loony Right “austerity on steroids” approach to economic recovery.

There is an alternative to closing well-used libraries. There is an alternative to reducing support services to schools. There is an alternative to giving millionaire friends of Cameron and Osborne a £100,000 tax cut.

The Tory-led coalition, aided and abetted by Tories on our local councils, are using the excuse of the recession to cut back on essential services that they are too rich to ever need.

The nonsense economics of George Osborne now threatens to plunge our economy into a triple dip recession.

It is much better to protect essential services and stimulate the economy through bad times.

We need a county council that will lead the way in allocating scarce resources more fairly.

The One Nation Labour alternative will still reduce the deficit over a number of years but give us a stronger economy at the same time, providing more sustained growth and a better life for all. We need fairness in difficult times.


Paul Collins, Labour

I AM 31 and started life in Watlington before moving to Chalgrove in 1983. I have cerebral palsy.

I am vice-chairman of Henley Labour Party and I serve on Chalgrove Parish Council.

I enjoy listening to music, swimming, reading and watching films.

I am standing for election because I believe the people in Chalgrove and Watlington deserve better than the ideologically driven cuts delivered by the wretched Tory council.

If elected, I want to restore funding for youth services in Oxfordshire and will ensure that the council provides accessible transport for everyone. I will also make sure that council staff are paid a living wage.

Nick Hancock, Liberal Democrat

I MOVED to Watlington with my wife Lorraine four years ago, fulfilling a desire to live in, and be part of, a smaller, closer-knit community. Previously, we lived in the Maidenhead area for more than 25 years.

I am a project manager and Lorraine looks after the IT in a primary school near Wokingham. We have two grown-up children, Stephen, who works in London for Comic Relief, and Michelle, who lives in Tanzania.

I am a member of Watlington Parish Council and stood for the Lib-Dems in the last Oxfordshire county council elections.

I am keen to promote local democracy and equality of opportunity in employment and education, all principles of the Lib-Dems. Too much power is centralised in Westminster, which is unable to give local issues the attention they deserve.

The coalition government is lasting the distance and has made progress in very difficult circumstances, notably the recent lifting of the personal allowance to nearly £10,000, giving tax breaks to many families.

Caroline Newton, Conservative *

I WAS raised in South Oxfordshire and returned to live in Britwell Salome with my husband when our first daughter was born seven years ago.

Our two children now attend a local primary school and we play an active role in our community and in supporting local businesses.

I was elected as the county councillor for Watlington last year and over the last 12 months have got to know the local communities, their concerns and aspirations.

I have been a strong advocate at County Hall on specific local issues: improving our roads, bringing fast broadband to local residents and businesses and reducing the impact of the Challenge Henley triathlon.

The Conservative administration is focused on improving services while cutting unnecessary spending. We have reduced the annual budget by £200 million in this spending period.

If re-elected, we will continue to manage your money responsibly while driving improvements in education and youth services, providing excellent services for older people and protecting rural roads and transport services.

Sue Tibbles, Green

I AM an active member of UNISON and secretary of both the Oxfordshire County Association of Trades Union Councils and the Oxford and District Trades Union Council.

Over many years I have helped to organise campaigns against austerity and the privatisation of our public services, including the National Health Service, education, public libraries and council housing.

I continue to be involved with many local campaigns for peace, human rights, animal rights, the environment and local community initiatives.

My particular interests are education, especially public libraries, public transport and the environment, and ensuring art, music and culture are accessible and available to everyone.


Tim Fenn, Green

I LIVE in Oakley Wood, Benson, and run my own sustainable construction design company and am a non- executive director of a number of new “green tech” companies and organisations. I am a keen cyclist and cover more than 5,000 miles a year on a Velomobile.

Born in Wallingford and educated at Reading University, I worked as a soil/agroforestry scientist in Africa for 13 years. I returned to England in 1997 and since then have been involved in the development of low carbon building projects both in the UK and abroad, winning numerous awards.

Both Cholsey and Benson have been earmarked for new housing and I believe the county council should promote higher levels of self-build in the county to develop local employment and satisfy people’s desire to build their own home. The council should support more community based, renewable energy projects similar to those developed in Germany and Denmark where local communities benefit from lower energy bills and/or additional income.

Oxfordshire has one of the worst accident rates for cyclists in the UK and the council should invest in cycle lanes.

Mark Gray, Independent

I HAVE lived in Oxfordshire most of my life, moving to Wallingford in 1989. I worked for many years as a social worker but now devote my time to community work.

I have chaired Cholsey Parish Council for five years, taking an active role in the work of the council, including running facilities, monitoring planning applications, working with residents to ensure new housing was sited in the best possible place and fund-raising for — and now building — a new village hall. I was a founder member of the Wallingford Local Producers’ Market and I chair the community library.

In 2011, I was elected to South Oxfordshire District Councillor and sitting as part of the Independents group. I have achieved much by working with the officers of the council and would like to take this on to the larger stage of the county council.

I believe that party politics plays a destructive part in local government. Councillors should represent the interests of their community, not be constrained by party agendas. I stand as an Independent because I believe that not being tied politically allows me to take a free-thinking, common-sense approach.

Sqn Ldr Robert Nielsen, UKIP

I AM retired from the RAF having served 30 years as a fighter pilot and pilot instructor. Following several front-line tours, I worked in research, safety, policy and command roles. Having raised four children while moving between bases, I know the challenges and joys of supporting a family while following a career. I have now settled with my wife Carol in Oxfordshire, where she grew up, and have built Brightwell Vineyard into a growing local enterprise.

As a parish councillor, I am dismayed at the ineptitude of the three tired old establishment parties and want to see evolutionary small-scale growth in our communities, not large-scale disruptive projects imposed from outside.

UKIP stands for greater independence — of the nation, the county, the community and the individual. I will campaign to reduce red tape, cut waste and seek efficiencies in council activities. With more responsible budgeting, there should be no council tax increases. I want lower business rates to allow small enterprises to prosper and provide local services and employment opportunities to maintain the character of our small market towns.

Dr Peter Skolar, Conservative **

BORN in 1944, I qualified as a doctor in 1968 and worked as a NHS GP in London for 40 years. I have two sons.I have lived in Oxfordshire since 2000 but been boating on the Thames for 35 years.

I have been a member of Oxfordshire County Council since 2004, representing Henley South, a division removed by the Boundary Commission. For eight years, I have been chairman of the county health scrutiny committee, overseeing the work of the NHS by John Radcliffe, Nuffield Orthopaedic, Horton and community hospitals and GPs. I have overseen the commissioning of new community hospitals at Chipping Norton, Bicester and Henley.

The council’s second biggest budget (after education) is adult social care, which is a growing problem due to demography and finances. The Dilnott report must be implemented in full to help provide seamless services for adults, children and health.

The locality budgets aid road safety issues and the Big Society fund primes voluntary initiatives such as youth services and libraries. Any spare money is spent on road maintenance.

Mandy Winters, Labour

I HAVE been a member of the Labour Party and a member of a professional trade union throughout my working life.

I have lived in Berkshire and Oxfordshire for 28 years.

I started my career as a music teacher and am currently employed by Oxford Brookes University.

I have consistently worked towards supporting improved educational practice and campaigned for intelligent educational policy.

A great believer in the power of the local voice, I became a member of Reading Borough Council in the early Nineties, serving as vice-chairwoman of the health and environment committee and chairwoman of the health and housing forum.

I am a church bell-ringer and I understand the issues associated with rural living.

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