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Candidates for the Christchurch Commons ward by-election

MORE than a year after the death of Christchurch Independents councillor Colin Bungey left a vacancy in the Commons ward, electors will be asked to vote in a replacement on Thursday.

Along with the Canford Heath ward, it is one of only two BCP Council by-elections taking place this year.

Six candidates will be on ballot papers, they are:

Peter Bailey – Ukip

He said his goal would be to “effectively carry out the tasks of local government without requiring massive budgets” and said money was “often wasted” on “good press” projects which do not benefit the public.

He said he would work to improve the council’s accountability and replace the council’s current cabinet system with a committee in a bid to “reduce cronyism”.

His priorities also include reducing council tax, “excessive” allowances and budgets used to promote “vanity projects”.

Carol Gardiner – Liberal Democrat

A nurser and classroom assistant, she stood in the 2019 election for BCP Council and is not a member of Christchurch Town Council.

Carol Gardiner
Carol Gardiner

She said that through this platform she had “championed” local groups and led efforts to put a greater emphasis on introducing measures to tackle climate change.

She said she would prioritise improving services for the elderly and carers with a drop-in centre at St Catherine’s Hill and promote initiatives to reduce fly-tipping and littering.

Fred Neale – Independent

A former mayor of Christchurch and current town councillor, he was also a member of the now-abolished Christchurch council.

He has been an independent since 2007 and says this has allowed him to put “residents’ needs first, not a political party’s view”.

Vanessa Ricketts – Christchurch Independents

The qualified town clerk and finance officer has spent more than 25 years working in local government.

She said she wanted to follow in the footsteps of Colin Bungey and has been supported by his wife and Christchurch town councillor Sue Bungey.

She said councillors should be free from “towing a party line” and said she would” ensure that it is the views of the residents of Commons ward which are represented strongly and effectively at BCP.”

Lisle Smith – Conservative

Another former elected member of Christchurch council, she has lived in the Commons ward for 15 years.

Lisle Smith
Lisle Smith

She works in a specialist school for children with social, emotional and mental health problems and said she is “passionate” about improving the futures for younger generations.

Her priorities include preventing “inappropriate” and green belt development, improving transport links and said she would give Christchurch residents “more say” in council policy.

Peter Stokes – Labour

Christchurch born, he is retired after a 36-year career in the oil and gas drilling industry and stood as the Labour candidate in the 2013 local and 2015 general elections.

Peter Stokes
Peter Stokes

He said he is “greatly concerned” with the amount of affordable and social housing in the area and said less emphasis needed to be put on building retirement homes in favour of new family housing and has called for an increase in bus services in the area.

He said he would work with the council’s existing group of Labour councillors to provide “a strong and unyielding commitment to make the voice of Commons residents heard”.

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