Conservative Team Interview

The local elections are this Thursday, and to help our readers with their decisions we decided to interview the candidates to learn their policies and what they hope to achieve once elected.

Last Wednesday evening we interviewed Adam Kent, Derek Forsythe, Kathryn Powell, Sarah Hession, and Danny Bromage. They're all conservative candidates and are running for different wards around the Wythall area.

As this interview included 5 people we couldn't include all of their answers in this written interview. So we've included the recording of the meeting so that anyone who wants more information, or would prefer to listen to it, can. You can find this here.

Each candidate has different areas they're focusing on, and took a few minutes to talk about what their main goal is if they're elected.                  

Adam went first: "I'm Adam Kent, I'm the county councillor. I was elected a couple of years ago and one of the first things I did was ask the residents what the problems were. And straight away they told me - 70% of the stuff that came back was on crime, they were very concerned about it.

"That's why we've brought the smart water programme out. Then also there was the issue with the cars outside the school, which is still a work in progress. We have a zebra crossing, we have enforceable traffic restrictions the only thing we haven't got at the moment is people to enforce it and to actually do the tickets, [I] hopefully hope to solve if it get to the district council."

Next was Derek: "I'm Derek Forsythe, I'm standing in Trumans Heath Ward, I'm an ex-military and progressed from there into general management in engineering. My main concern is, of course Majors Green which is bordering on Solihull Council.

"The building [of] houses [is something] that we're very, very concerned about. The affect that [it's]  going to have on the road through Majors Green. Also one of the other issues I'm very concerned about is the speeding.

"Everybody tells me, 'don't worry about speeding everybody speeds through the whole area', I'm interested in my ward and working with Adam on some really good ideas how to curb the speeding."

Following on from Derek is Kathryn, Kathryn is the youngest candidate: "I'm Kathryn Powell, and I'm standing in Drakes Cross for both the Parish and the District Council. I live locally and I've lived locally since I was very young.

"I am a law student currently, and I plan to settle back down here with my family, so my main aim is promoting the interest, of not only just the young people in the area, but obviously the older residents too.

But I can do that with my experience and also to assist with John Blewitt setting up of the mental health group."

Sarah came next: "I'm Sarah Hession, I'm currently a Parish Councillor and also sit on the parent governors committee at Woodrush. I'm on the excessive board for the neighbourhood watch scheme across West Mercia.

"I've been instrumental in helping set up very organised Facebook pages and social media and have worked quite closely with John Campion, who's the Police Crime Commissioner and as I saw it when I came to parish, we didn't have a big team in the area and when Adam stepped forward I said to him I'd help him and I help John and what were doing is creating a really strong team.

"I'm standing at Wythall East as district, and also standing for parish at Grimes Hills."

And finally Danny: "I'm Danny Bromage, I'm relatively new to Wythall,  I've lived here for two and a half years.

"I live on the Parklands estate and the Parklands has suffered with crime its suffered with speeding. its a new community but it still has the same issues. I've tried to be the chair within that community to support them.

I've leaned in the current people who are here today to support me with that and we've been very successful in supporting the community. Off the back of the here I am today looking to support the wider community as part of Wythall West and hopefully extend the support offered from my local community to the wider community and get some good result."

Once the candidates had each gone round and introduced themselves and their policies, we threw the floor open to any questions we had and that our readers sent in. The first one was asking how the transport will be improved so older residents could get to Redditch and surrounding areas.

Adam had the answer to that: "I've been heavily involved on the transport side at Worcestershire County Council and there's a big transport review this year, but one of the things that I want to push is much greater community involvement in public transport."

The second question we had was about what measures the candidates would out in place to stop the speeding around the area, especially up the A435.

Derek answered that: 'We've been doing speed checks for the last year and we had one just two weeks ago, on Peterbrook Road, Haslucks Green Road. We've now moved up to Trumans Heath Lane, as a result of speaking to the residents who are very concerned of about coming off their drives or coming out the end of their roads."

We we're also asked why the Parish council had put the frontages competition on hold, we weren't sure if the candidates were able to answer this but Sarah could: "the Parish have over the years awarded various best kept frontages, the parish funds it and its really good.

"We've actually had a local organisation promote themselves and fund it as well. But unfortunately a lot of people don't enter it and that's the reason why the Parish decided to just put it on hold this year."

Sarah went on to discuss what she hope to bring to the community to fight crime: "Years ago I was a police special and I've just kept an interest in crime and the police and the work the police do.

"I noticed that we had a really strong safer neighbourhood team but they weren't particularly being supported by the Independent Police and Crime Commissioner at the time. When John Campion [came in] I thought 'yeah this guys means business' and got off his own backside and come out and talk to people which he did and still does. Then I started working with out neighbourhood watch team.

"Street crime, is not as high as Birmingham obviously, but we do get the across border crime from Birmingham and car jacking is a big concern for people. The police are obviously very aware of that and it how do we prevent that on a more local level and how do we put the pressure on the car manufacturers as well.

"You've got to have a strong team around you whether that's local or whether we're using people like John Campion [and] Sajid [Javid.]"

Danny is also helping with crime: "We want to tackle crime using innovation to support other crime measures. Whether it be ANPR, which is one of the future aspirations, and  CCTV.

"There's a big aspiration for the Parish to look at getting extra police officers so there is the ability to fund this which is going to support the community by having a visual deterrent of course. Giving the opportunity for community members to speak to them [the police] and get the cracking advice the police offers we currently have to offer."

We then asked Adam about the major floods that happened last year: "Straight away I was getting people phoning me up saying there was a problem, so immediately I came over and it was a scene of carnage. I've never seen anything like it, it was like a disaster.

"What was great, straight away was myself and Jeff Denaro and also the cabinet member at Worcester Tony Miller, got involved very early on, I was out at 11, 12 o'clock in my wellies bailing out houses and helping out other people.

But also I was on the phone at 3 and 4 o'clock in the morning to the leaders of Worcestershire County Council making them seriously aware of how catastrophic this actually was."

To finish off Kathryn gave a more in depth look at what she hopes to do if she gets elected: "We as a team are very passionate about promoting the community spirit. We're blessed to live in an area where we have so many people with different skill sets and we live in a world where everything is so 24hours so anxiety and mental health is prime.

Going to uni I experienced this first hand and having people in the community to support them other than services has been such a revelation.  Its been started already with John Blewitt starting the Stronger Together Mental Heath Group, and with Vicky and Di setting up the dementia cafe. Doing this sort of thing is so important in our community."

Adam Kent summed it up at the end: "Its not us telling the community what they want, its the community telling us what they want us to deliver.

If you'd like to vote, the election is this Thursday!