It was great to welcome to Tim Farron to the south coast today. Tim came to Portsmouth to visit the Mary Rose Academy, an excellent special school which the local Liberal Democrats were instrumental in getting built.
Tim, as ever, was open to chatting with the crowd and the assembled local and national press. Tim spoke passionately about the need to protect local services from a hard, divisive Brexit which would leave our economy severely damaged.
Then it was off again on the Lib Dem battle bus. Elections are tiring times for all those involved in the campaign as every second counts.
Having grown-up on Hayling, and having returned to the island some ten years ago, it is an honour and a privilege to offer my services to the people of my home town and the wider Havant area. I returned to our constituency after university in Manchester and a career in London.
My extensive management experience, gained in both the public and private sectors, would enable me to ensure Havant constituents are fiercely defended against any attempts to force yet more cuts to public services. Ultimately, I got involved in politics because I dearly love our neighbourhood, the people in it and care deeply about the issues which affect us all. I joined the Liberal Democrats as they echo my passionate vision for an open, tolerant, and united community.
Most recently I was involved with the successful relaunch of the Hayling Ferry service and the Save the Tip campaigns (which are happening all over our constituency). I also volunteer for the Queen Alexandra Hospital supporting our local nurses.
Primarily, I want our local area to be represented by someone who grew up here, knows the issues that are most important to local people, and calls this place home. This is in contrast to a career politician dropped into our constituency by Conservative HQ as if we were just a pin on their map.
As as candidate for the Liberal Democrats in the Hampshire County Council Elections Paul was asked to answer some questions from a Hayling Island Group relating to some important local issues.
Here are the questions and Paul’s responses.
- Will you strive to ensure that Hayling Infrastructure is adequate and sustainable for all development planned until the year 2036 – especially the Havant Road arterial connection to the mainland and its bridge?
Infrastructure investment lies at the heart of my plans for the island. If the island is to prosper, it is essential that our one and only arterial connection is fit for the 21st century. Beyond that, it is an absolute requirement that our health service and schools are fully funded and equipped to ensure our elderly are cared for and our children educated to the highest possible standards. I am convinced that any additional housing on the island can only be considered AFTER first class infrastructure is in place.
- What measures will you take to tackle fly tipping on Hayling Island?
Fly tipping is an increasing problem on our island due to the insane decision by the Conservatives to charge us for dumping our waste. I, along with all my colleagues in Hampshire Liberal Democrats, have a clear promise to the people of Hayling: WE WILL SCRAP THE CHARGES.
- Will you support the maintenance of the Household Waste Recycling Centre on Hayling Island?
Hampshire Liberal Democrats are not only prepared to maintain the Household Recycling Centre, we are committed to RETURNING TO FULL OPENING HOURS. This, along with our commitment to SCRAP THE CHARGES, is our promise to you. In short, I and my colleagues in Hampshire Liberal Democrats will REVERSE THE CUTS.
- Will you strive to get the funding for an upgrade to the Hayling Billy Trail, to make it very attractive to cycle commuters (getting cyclists off the Havant Road to improve traffic flow and cyclist safety)?
Absolutely. The Billy Trail is our primary alternative route between north and south and offers commuters and the wider public alike an opportunity to travel vehicle free. The Billy Trail faces long term decline if it is not repaired and maintained. I can commit here and now to doing precisely that.
- Will you actively support the maintenance of a viable Hayling Ferry service to Portsmouth, including the encouragement to bus companies to provide an integrated service from Hayling Island to Portsmouth, via the Ferry?
The connectivity of the service is vital to long term sustainability. That is why I propose a fixed term period in which the ferry itself would be subsidised whilst fully operational bus links could be established on both our side of the water and over in Portsmouth. It is important however that the ferry does not become a burden on us as tax payers and therefore the public could not and should not expect to subsidise the service beyond the fixed term period.
- Do you have any views about the possibility of providing an ambulance facility on Hayling Island?
With an ageing population on the island it is time we addressed this very real need. There is an argument to say that the island doesn’t have sufficient demand for an ambulance facility. I would argue that a facility placed at the north end of the island, which would then be able to service both island residents and those on the mainland, would be a cost effective commit to care.
- Do you have any preferred Hayling charities or deserving causes that you would like to support with your annual grant?
There are a number of charities which I currently work with, all of which are hugely deserving. I would also however like to explore the possibility of a ‘Hayling Day,’ where money could be invested in a celebration of all the good causes and all the great businesses we have on the island. It is such a shame our carnival has gone and it is time we reinvented the idea to again bring the community together.
- Will you be taking steps to ensure that the Library Service on Hayling is maintained into the future?
Again, the position of Hampshire Liberal Democrats is very clear; we will improve and maintain all of our services. Libraries are an often under valued community resource. They are a shared community space, open to us all and provide a world of invaluable information. For too long our library has been treated as if it were an antiquated relic. It is not. It is a vital facility and I will ensure it goes from strength to strength.
- Will you be supporting and encouraging the work of Cycle Hayling to provide an off-road North-South cycle route?
I will be supporting and looking to work with Cycle Hayling and other cycling groups on the island to deliver a cycle ‘highway’ for the island. Whilst the Billy Trail requires renovation, which I have committed to championing, the east side of our island entirely lacks a cycling alternative. I believe this is a perfect example of where the best outcome can be achieved by working, and listening, to community groups and that is precisely what I intend to do.
- Would you support the reinstatement of the bus subsidy for schools?
Definitely. Education has to be of primary concern to all of us. Messing with education is messing with our futures. I believe that we have to ensure our children and parents are supported in every way possible in getting to and from school. Our promise to the parents of Hayling is very simple: WE WILL REVERSE THE CUTS
The Hampshire County Could Election are taking place today and Paul (obviously) would really appreciate your vote, but if not I do urge you still to get out and vote.