May 6 local elections: Meet your candidates for Handside Ward
- Credit: Supplied
On May 6 all 16 wards will have a seat up for grabs in the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council elections - with Welham Green and Hatfield South ward having two.
Of the 17 seats up for election, there are 10 Conservative seats, four Labour seats and three Liberal Democrat seats.
The WHT has given each candidate the opportunity to tell you why they are running.
They are listed alphabetically by surname:
Helen Beckett - Labour
"I have lived in Welwyn Garden City with my family for over 20 years and enjoyed many of the positive aspects of living here. There are things that could and should improve though.
"I believe that councils can be inspirational and councillors should be proactive – always listening and always searching for ideas for how to improve things for residents. The local Labour policies for this election are an indication of how local government can deliver change by investing in the local community, in town centres, in housing and public services. Our policies would put people and planet at the centre of any council initiative.
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"The pandemic has revealed to everyone the power of community action. I have always tried to put this in action for example, volunteering locally for Home Start, Age UK, Oxfam, local environmental groups and local schools and supporting Herts Young Homeless, the local food bank, renters’ groups and the local Women’s Refuge."
Gemma Moore - Liberal Democrats
"Welwyn Hatfield is lovely place to live, and I am standing as candidate to ensure it stays that way. Whilst we need to build more homes, we also need to ensure that new developments are in keeping with the vision for the area and have adequate facilities to support the communities they are building.
"I am passionate about protecting our environment, having worked in the field of climate change, and more recently, as a health and safety manager, I have been involved in the appalling failure of fire safety measures in blocks of flats. Therefore, I will push for better standards in our council housing stock, as well as seeing a more through consultation process for housing developments.
I am proud to call Welwyn Hatfield home, and my daughter attends a local school. Another key area I would like to champion the delivery of a wider range of services to young people.
Ian Nendick – Green Party
"I am standing in the local elections because I believe that there should be representation for those persons who want there to be more consideration of environmental issues by the council. Although these issues are becoming more mainstream I do not consider that sufficient importance is attached to them. The other parties seem to me to be more interested in arguing about what I consider to be inconsequential issues.
"I am standing at the invitation of the local Green Party because I have previously been frustrated at the lack of a Green Party candidate to vote for in local elections. The first past the post system favours established parties which is why they do nothing to change it.
"I appreciate that I am unlikely to be elected but if nothing else I believe that increasing the number of Green Party votes nationally will indicate the growing support for environmental issues to the government."
Fiona Thomson – Conservatives
"I have been a borough councillor for Handside since 2008, and I’ve lived here for over 30 years. I’m a mum of three, former NHS Midwife, and the council’s executive member for governance, public health and climate change. I also volunteer as chair of the Welwyn Hatfield Dementia Action Alliance and as a COVID Information champion.
"Residents have told me on the doorstep that feeling safe in their community, enjoying clean green space, and shopping in an attractive and thriving town centre is important to them, even more so since the pandemic. I will continue to work with the council, local organisations and community groups to help deliver these, building on initiatives I have been involved with e.g. bike marking, litter picking, Healthfest, and Splashlands.
"I think it is crucial that the people representing Handside on the borough council understand what it is like to live here, and in my view in order to understand that you need to be a Handside resident yourself (which none of the other candidates who can win this election are). If Handside puts its faith in me on May 6th I will continue to do everything I can for it. I will continue to help deal with whatever local issues are brought to me, and I will ensure residents’ voices continue to be heard by speaking out on issues like the future of the old Shredded Wheat site."