Video replay – St Faith’s ward election hustings

Last night’s Zoom call turned out to be a good show and well worth watching before you cast your vote.

The HCS committee try our best to hold an apolitical line, although there are doubtless some on the Council who might find that hard to believe. The root of the problem is that Havant is pretty much a one party state. The late lamented Ray Cobbett once put it quite succinctly when he told me on the doorstep that “you could put a blue rosette on a lamp-post here and people would still vote for it”.

Because of its lack of opposition, the quality of debate and hence the quality of decision-making lacks the breadth and depth that a more balanced council would have. Until recently, the only effective challenge came from some of the more determined ladies in the Tory ranks, one of whom was once referred to me by the current Council Leader as ‘the opposition’. (The fact that both of these ladies have recently ‘been moved’ off the Planning Committee is a question that a neighbouring council ward need to think closely about, but that’s another story.)

Here in St Faiths, as well as in the other wards, voters have a choice from four candidates. Instead of simply ‘voting for the usual’, please give them all some serious thought. On the strength of last night’s meeting, they all have much to offer. In fact, in discussion afterwards, all four members of the HCS Committee were agreed that if we could vote for them all, we would. With this foursome working together in the council, things might improve.

Sadly, you can only vote for one so please watch the video below and think carefully before you mark that ballot paper.

If you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, take the links below to skip to the individual segments.

The Candidate Introductions – we asked each candidate to address the following brief:

“You have up to two minutes to introduce yourselves, time in which we would like you to include the following information:

  1. Why you have decided to stand in this election
  2. What other roles you currently perform and how much of your time will you be able to give to the role of Havant borough councillor
  3. What makes you qualified to represent the St Faith’s residents
  4. What you believe to be the main issues facing Havant borough today.

Please bear in mind that this is a local election focused on local issues that local government has the power to address. We already hear enough about your parties’ national policies through the national news media so please don’t waste the time you have by simply throwing in quotes and catchphrases from national campaigns.

This is about Havant, the issues facing the residents of St Faith’s, the issues facing the wider borough and the performance of the council which exists to serve us and on which you hope to serve. This is also about the future. You should assume that matters associated with the impact of the current pandemic have now become ‘business as usual’ and the council’s focus is fully on the day-to-day business of running the borough.”

Question 1

“There have been a lot of posts on local community Facebook pages about antisocial behaviour among young people.   The last year has been understandably hard for children and young people. What will you commit to doing for children and young people in St Faiths if you are elected?”

Question 2

“As our local councillor, what will you do to help prevent the continued destruction of our Borough’s green spaces, trees and hedgerows, by the construction of unsuitable new housing developments?”

Question 3

“The Havant Borough Council Head of Regeneration has asked HCS to suggest improvements which could be made to the town centre through the Regeneration Strategy’s ‘Civic Plaza Plus’ project.   Now that Havant Borough Council own the Civic Plaza site, the Meridian Centre and the Bulbeck Road multi storey car park, what do you believe that the council should do with these assets?”

Question 4

“Are you an active cycle user?  (yes/no)

The lack of effective traffic management and the consequent risks to the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and the residents of local streets has come into sharp focus with the current New Lane planning application.  Havant residents seek a safer, greener balance between motor vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic.  Do you agree with them, and if so, how should HBC deliver the change required?” 

Question 5

Do you feel that being the local representative of a national party will help you to do the job as councillor for St Faiths and if so, why?”

Setting the homework – Three more questions.

Being sneaky, we then raised three more Questions which we’ve added as comments below the video on YouTube:

Question 6

“Do you think the new housing development sites in the Havant Local Plan to 2036 should be approved by the planning committee before the Plan has been agreed by the Planning Inspector?”

Question 7

a) What action would you take to improve the water quality of Langstone and Chichester harbours, given that untreated sewage is regularly released into the harbours?”

b) Do you think it right that waste water is treated by a private monopoly such as Southern Water where profit motives may conflict with public health?

Question 8

“How would each candidate respond to the opinion/statement that “it’s the property developers, vested interests and lobbyists in central government” who now govern what happens in Havant, not the residents or elected councillors.”