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Meet our election candidates

2021 Local Elections: Meet our candidates in Reigate & Banstead

On Thursday, 6 May 2021, you have a chance to vote for councillors to represent you on both Reigate & Banstead Borough Council and Surrey County Council. Polling stations will be safe places to vote.  Polls are open between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm. 

If you want to vote by post or by proxy, you should apply as soon as possible here Surrey Council election site

If you have a Liberal Democrat candidate standing where you live, please give them your support. You can put up a poster to put in your window to show your support.

If you would like to help us win here by delivering leaflets, or join our local campaign team, please e-mail [email protected]

Candidates for Surrey County Council

The Reigate and Banstead area divided into County Council divisions, including:

Banstead, Woodmansterne and Chipstead

Mark JOHNSTON

Originally from Cheshire Mark has lived in the area for six years. He is an EU policy specialist with two decades working in Brussels on environmental protection legislation. Mark joined the Lib Dems after the 2016 referendum and hopes to see Brexit reversed within a decade. His priority is helping local businesses recover after the ‘double-whammy’ of the pandemic and dishonest Tory rule that has, for example, left the City financial services industry hit hard. Mark also wants to transform local mobility by making walking, cycling, buses and trains all more popular alongside fewer and cleaner private cars.

Horley West, Salfords and Sidlow

Geoff SOUTHALL

Long standing resident of Horley, Geoff has stood as a Liberal Democrat candidate in Horley West on several occasions. He has been a Surrey County Councillor.  He’s insistent about the full consideration of the economic, safety, noise and climate change implications of any proposals that make significant change to Gatwick. 

 

Merstham and Banstead South

Jemma DE VINCENZO

Jemma lives locally in Merstham. She chose to set up home in a community that benefits from green spaces and community facilities, viewing this as the perfect place to raise a family. As an NHS clinician working with schools, young people, and families daily, Jemma recognise the pressure services are under and the fight families face to get the support they need. She’s passionate about ensuring children and young people have the best start in life by protecting valuable services and promoting joined-up working so that all children can all have a brighter future.

Nork and Tattenhams

Andrew KNIGHTS

Andrew has been a Liberal Democrat for the past 40 years. He’s committed to a fair and equitable society where all sectors of the community have the same opportunities through education, work and life. He’s now standing for election to put his convictions into action. Andrew is a committed activist and now gives time to activities in Reigate and Banstead as well as across the South East Region. He believes that we must fight for our principles of being fair, green, and caring. He’s a committed European, married to a Belgian, with a son living in Germany.

Redhill East

Peter LAMBELL

Peter has lived in the Reigate area for most of his life. He is an active member of the community, representing Reigate as County Councillor from 2009-2013.

As a former Vice Chair of Governors at Brooklands School, he has a particular interest in education. He was the Lib Dem spokesperson for Education serving on the council's Education Select Committee. As a councillor, he successfully worked to protect bus services from cuts, and to ensure respite care for parents with disabled children.

He is a graduate of Oxford Brookes University and the College of Law and now works as a Business Analyst.

Redhill West and Meadvale

Steve KULKA

Steve has been a local Councillor since 2002. He has campaigned successfully for the completion of 6 pedestrian crossings and the reinstatement of footpaths for parents walking their children to school. He supported residents in successfully opposing the siting of seven mobile phone masts. He also successfully campaigned for many of our roads to be resurfaced. He has helped residents with numerous parking issues in residential roads, along with potholes, damaged kerbs, and drains. He has also pushed Surrey County Council to retain local bus routes. Steve would work to improve the working relationship between local council departments.

Reigate

John VINCENT

John has lived in Reigate for 30-years. He represented central Reigate as a County Councillor from 1993-1997 and a Reigate and Banstead Borough Councillor until 2000.

John has been campaigning since the mid-1980s and stood as a Lib Dem European and Westminster parliamentary candidate.  He has worked on policy and implementation of environmental, planning and transport problems.  He likes to walk in the local countryside, amateur gardening, and travel. John is a chartered engineer who has worked in aerospace and international aviation. In his retirement he runs a small charity and undertakes consultancy work on aircraft safety.

Tadworth, Walton and Kingswood

Chris THOMPSON

Christopher has lived in the area for the past 7 years with his wife and 8-year-old daughter. A financial columnist by background, he joined the Liberal Democrats in 2019 and takes a particular interest in policies designed to boost businesses and grow the economy in a more inclusive way. He is a volunteer at the Trussell Trust foodbank, a keen footballer and outdoor swimming enthusiast.        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Candidates for Reigate and Banstead Borough Council

 

The Reigate and Banstead Borough is divided into wards, including:

Banstead Village

Mark JOHNSTON

Originally from Cheshire Mark has lived in the area for six years. He is an EU policy specialist with two decades working in Brussels on environmental protection legislation. Mark joined the Lib Dems after the 2016 referendum and hopes to see Brexit reversed within a decade. His priority is helping local businesses recover after the ‘double-whammy’ of the pandemic and dishonest Tory rule that has, for example, left the City financial services industry hit hard. Mark also wants to transform local mobility by making walking, cycling, buses and trains all more popular alongside fewer and cleaner private cars.

Hooley, Merstham and Netherne

Jemma DE VINCENZO

Jemma lives locally in Merstham. She chose to set up home in a community that benefits from green spaces and community facilities, viewing this as the perfect place to raise a family. As an NHS clinician working with schools, young people, and families daily, Jemma recognise the pressure services are under and the fight families face to get the support they need. She’s passionate about ensuring children and young people have the best start in life by protecting valuable services and promoting joined-up working so that all children can all have a brighter future.

Horley West and Sidlow

Geoff SOUTHALL

Long standing resident of Horley, Geoff has stood as a Liberal Democrat candidate in Horley West on several occasions. He has been a Surrey County Councillor.  He’s insistent about the full consideration of the economic, safety, noise and climate change implications of any proposals that make significant change to Gatwick. 

 

Lower Kingswood, Tadworth and Walton

Chris THOMPSON

Christopher has lived in the area for the past 7 years with his wife and 8-year-old daughter. A financial columnist by background, he joined the Liberal Democrats in 2019 and takes a particular interest in policies designed to boost businesses and grow the economy in a more inclusive way. He is a volunteer at the Trussell Trust foodbank, a keen footballer and outdoor swimming enthusiast.        

Meadvale and St. John's

Martin ELBOURNE

Martin has lived in Redhill for 25 years. He has worked in the live music industry for over 40 years. Martin is best known for his work with Glastonbury Festival and co-founding the great escape and Womad festivals. He also works as an advisor to various governments and cities on their music strategies. Martin is keen on helping to create a more vibrant Redhill town centre particular its evening economy. As a dog owner he’s very aware of the poor conditions of many of our local paths in our open spaces. Improving these would be of a priority for him as a Councillor.

   

Nork

Claude KNIGHTS

Claude is a committed professional working on family and child protection issues. She wants to see a fair and equitable society where all sectors of the community are given the same opportunities to achieve their full potential. If elected, Claude pledges to do her best for the constituents of Nork. The Liberal Democrat principles of being fair, green, and caring reflect universal values and provide a solid moral compass. She will highlight the inadequacies of the Conservatives and their policies, which demean the NHS, fail to manage Covid-19, fail the police service, and fail the country through Brexit.

Redhill West and Wray Common

Stuart HOLMES

Stuart has lived in Redhill and Reigate all his life. He lives in Redhill with his wife and 2 children. He attended South Park, St Luke’s, and St Bede’s schools. If elected Stuart promises to work hard, listen, and get things done for Redhill West & Wray Common residents Stuart's top priorities are: Making Redhill greener by reducing the Borough’s carbon footprint and supporting biodiversity, making active travel safer with m             ore cycle lanes, school streets and reduce urban speed limits to 20mph and repairing our roads and footpaths, and protecting Redhill’s green spaces.

Reigate

John VINCENT

John has lived in Reigate for 30-years. He represented central Reigate as a County Councillor from 1993-1997 and a Reigate and Banstead Borough Councillor until 2000.

John has been campaigning since the mid-1980s and stood as a Lib Dem European and Westminster parliamentary candidate.  He has worked on policy and implementation of environmental, planning and transport problems.  He likes to walk in the local countryside, amateur gardening, and travel. John is a chartered engineer who has worked in aerospace and international aviation. In his retirement he runs a small charity and undertakes consultancy work on aircraft safety.

Nork and Tattenhams

Andrew KNIGHTS

Andrew has been a Liberal Democrat for the past 40 years. He’s committed to a fair and equitable society where all sectors of the community have the same opportunities through education, work and life. He’s now standing for election to put his convictions into action. Andrew is a committed activist and now gives time to activities in Reigate and Banstead as well as across the South East Region. He believes that we must fight for our principles of being fair, green, and caring. He’s a committed European, married to a Belgian, with a son living in Germany.


What are your rights as an EU citizen living in the UK?

Reigate’s Lib Dems are concerned about the situation for long standing European Union citizens living in the UK.  It’s good that reliable information is available to support EU citizens in the UK but not everyone knows where to find it. 

This free leaflet provides answers on the settled status process, who has to apply, how to apply and access to benefits and pensions post-Brexit. The leaflet is available in all EU languages. It’s ready to read, download, print and share:

https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/d5c0ac34-b689-11ea-bb7a-01aa75ed71a1/language-en

 

 


You can Vote

You Can Vote

Local Lib Dem Party Chair John Vincent welcomed the announcement that resident EU citizens will be able to vote and stand in the Thursday, 6 May 2021 local elections.

The coronavirus pandemic has seen the 2020 Borough Council local election pushed back to 6 May this year. Taking place at the same time will be the 2021 Surrey County Council local election and the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election.  To vote in any election in the UK, you must be registered to vote.

John Vincent said: “EU citizens who have chosen to make their home in the UK contribute a great deal. It’s more than appropriate that they are able to vote and stand in our local elections.”

An "EU citizen" is someone with citizenship of one of the EU Member States.

For more details follow the link below

https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter/which-elections-can-i-vote

 


Act now. Don’t lose your vote.

Act now. Don’t lose your vote.

Local elections in England are to go ahead as planned in May.  It’s going to be a bumper set of local elections this year. With the local elections postponed from last year because of the coronavirus pandemic this will make May 6th a “Super Thursday.”  You will be able to elect local Borough and County councillors and a police commissioner for Surrey. 

Local voters who wish to vote at a local polling station will need to abide by new coronavirus safety rules.  That’s likely to mean you have to take your own pencil to mark their ballot paper.  If you prefer to vote by postal ballot please remember the deadline for application. 

In Reigate & Banstead, the deadline to apply for a postal vote for the elections in May is 5pm on Tuesday, 20 April 2021. You must also be registered to vote by midnight on Monday 19 April.

Find out how to apply: https://electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter/voting-person-post-or-proxy/voting-post

 


Make a difference in 2021

Make a difference in 2021: Become a Borough or County Councillor

Find out more at our “Ask the Experts” discussion: Monday January 11th at 8.00pm (Links to follow)

Are you passionate about helping your local community? Perhaps it is providing opportunities for young people, caring for the environment or supporting local businesses to thrive. Whatever it is Councillors make a huge difference to the quality of life of local people and you could be just the person to do it by becoming a Councillor.  

Reigate Liberal Democrats wants to identify interested and committed local residents who are prepared to stand in local elections, for the Surrey County Council and the Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, whether you are already a member of the liberal democrats or not.  You don’t need specialist skills and any training is provided.

If you want to know more ask the experts! We are holding an online discussion where four of our current and past, County and Borough councillors will tell you what its really like and be available to answer all your questions. Monday January 11th at 8.00pm. We will send links nearer the time. If you are interested let us know by signing up here or email us on [email protected]

You may also want to look at the information provided on becoming a local councillor here: https://www.reigate-banstead.gov.uk/info/20044/your_council/323/be_a_councillor and  here: https://www.local.gov.uk/be-councillor and for a County Councillor here  https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/councillors-and-committees/how-to-become-a-councillor

Being a councillor is both challenging and rewarding.  You can really make a difference,  so get involved.

Your Community needs you

 


Fighting the Phenomenal Cost of Early Childcare

Jemma with Pushchair

As of this week, I am a working mum. After a (mostly) wonderful 50 weeks of maternity leave, returning part time to my career in the NHS will ensure I grow my clinical expertise and upskill our workforce. I also want my son to learn and evolve under the dedicated professionals who look after children in early years settings.

That may sound reasonable enough. But being a working mum is a luxury. Why? Because the phenomenal cost of early years childcare means returning to work for many families simply doesn’t pay. The cost of my son’s provision is a snip under £1000 a month for 3 days per week of nursery. I’m lucky to be in a senior position in the NHS so, in my case, returning to work makes financial sense. But if I was a nurse or therapist earlier in my career, paying a student loan and pension contributions, my take-home wage would be £969 a month for a 3 day week, so less than the cost of nursery. This makes staying at home the more viable option, costing the NHS another skilled clinician.

If a nursery is signed up to the government’s tax-free childcare scheme, then there is the benefit of a 20% top-up from the government to help with costs. But that only applies up to a maximum of £500 every three months. If you’re a junior nurse, for example, that makes you less than £2000 a year better off, which is quickly absorbed by the cost of commuting and professional registration fees. There is some additional help from the age of 3 years for working families, but only for 30 hours a week (6 hours a day) and only during term time. After a three-year break, our junior nurse would have to update their training before they could return to practise.

The Liberal Democrats believe all children should have the right to quality, early years childcare provision, and all parents should be able to return to their careers. That’s why we are committed to funding 35 hours a week of high-quality early years provision for the children of all working parents from 9 months of age, and crediting providers with the true value of what it costs them to care for our infants. As for our public services retaining valuable workers.... well, that’s just a bonus!

 


Have your say in our new party leader

The party leadership election is well underway. Nominations have closed and the two candidates are Ed Davey and Layla Moran. Find out more about both here:

libdems.org.uk/ed-davey

libdems.org.uk/layla-moran

Or why not participate in one of the many hustings? All are being held entirely online and so are more accessible than ever. 

Three types of hustings are being held:

  • Regional Hustings focusing on local issues, party strategy and leadership;
  • Thematic Hustings focusing on key policy areas and;
  • Question & Answer Sessions hosted by specific interest groups.

You can find the schedule here:

libdems.org.uk/hustings

The list includes the South East regional hustings on 8 August 2020 at 11 am to 12:30 pm. To participate in this event RSVP here:

libdems.org.uk/south-east-hustings

Hustings videos are archived and can be replayed here:

libdems.org.uk/livestream

Voting on-line opens on 30 July and closes on 26 August. The winner will be announced on 27 August.


Is the emotional wellbeing and mental health of young people being monitored adequately within schools?

As our young people face returning to school after lockdown, are we giving them the support they need?

Jemma de Vincenzo looks into this issue.

Imagine a meeting in school, worried that your child is in turmoil, only to be told that unless they’re at risk of harming themselves or others, they’ll wait a very long time to see a specialist. Sadly, in many parts of the country, this is commonplace. I know, because I’ve been the professional sat in that meeting.

There is no doubt that children and young people need earlier and quicker access to specialist mental health support. Currently, only 10% of all mental health funding is spent on young people, despite the fact that many long-term mental health disorders are established by age 14.

In 2017 the government recognised there was a crisis and set about its plans to tackle mental health through schools, with a target date of 2025. The plan involves training a mental health lead in each school to recognise early indications, and specialist support teams from the health service to respond. Yes, funding is provided to train those members of school staff, but funding will not be given to schools to finance this additional demand day to day.

Currently, the level of emotional support a young person receives in school is dependent on a school’s capacity to provide it. In an already pressurised financial climate, schools are expected not only to educate our young people, but provide wrap-around care, extra-curricular learning and manage medical needs. Whilst many teachers strive to provide all they can for young people, just how many strings can one add to a bow?

Our children and young people absolutely need improved and consistent monitoring of emotional well-being within our education system, but schools and the NHS need appropriate levels of funding to do it. That’s why the Liberal Democrats are committed to investing in mental health services for children and young people.


What Next for Reigate High Street?

The farce that played out in Reigate Town shows that you must take the community with you when making major changes. During the COVID-19 lock-down it was sad to see the ghost town like atmosphere. However, the pure delight at the fresh clean air and the quiet, calm of the place was wonderful. No noxious fumes or thunderous vibrations from heavy lorries. 

As a crossroads, Reigate’s traffic problems have been with us for generations. Now, the level of traffic far exceeds what the town can stand.  Unrelenting road traffic creates a toxic environment in the town centre.  Reigate has grown at the intersection of the main east-west road (A25) and the north-south road (A217). The town centre is best recognised by its Old Town Hall. This building is right at the heart of the congestion in the town. It’s interesting to note that until the 1970s, the A217 went through the Reigate Tunnel. 

However, since the time that Reigate became a large-scale roundabout, nothing has been done to address an escalating problem. Only the naive would think this is easy to fix. I’ll venture into that territory having lived in the town for nearly 30-years.

I believe, a phased approach is more likely to deliver results.   

Firstly, HGVs must be banned from the High Street, except when making local deliveries. 

Secondly, Castlefield Road and Bancroft Road needs to be two-way.  

Thirdly, open the Town Hall carpark in Castlefield Road to the public full-time.

Fourthly, build a dedicated cycleway from the Railway Station to Church Street via the Town Hall.   

To advise and monitor such proposals a representative Town Center Steering Group, that includes the town’s businesses and local cycling and walking groups needs to be in place. 

These are modest proposals that would take some traffic pressure away from the High Street. Once that is achieved the proposal for a cycle way through the town centre should be viable.

Yes, the second part demands resources but this is for a long-term investment. A new junction by the entrance to Reigate College (South side) would be needed. A roundabout where the A217 meets the A25 would need careful planning.  

 

Part of this proposal is not new, but it has been sitting on the books for a long time:

https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/164030/2018-April-SCC-Major-Road-and-Rail-Schemes.pdf

 

Reigate Relief Road Reigate Surrey County Council Proposal to introduce a dual carriageway along the A25 in Reigate between London Road/Castlefield Road and Castlefield Road/Church Street junctions. Includes alterations to Bancroft Road, Bell Street and Church Street to create a clockwise gyratory system. The line of the Relief Road is safeguarded in the Reigate and Banstead Borough Council Local Plan 2005.


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