Sue Baxter, WRA Candidate 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 Friday morning we interviewed Sue Baxter. She is a candidate for the Wythall Residents Association standing in Drakes Cross.

We invited Sue to discuss what her main goal is if she's elected.

"I'm already District Councillor in that area and over the last few years I certainly have helped quite a few residents with planning issues helping them with BDHT housing association. Trying to facilitate where I can round there and generally being supportive of the local community.

"Also on the council I lead the Independent Group at the moment, although we're a group we're not like any of the other political groups because we don't have a whip. We all vote exactly as we want but by forming a group it means we get places like committees and its easier for the council to manage because they only talk to one person.

"But I'm standing as a Wythall Resident Association candidate, again we have no whip we all vote exactly as we wish.

"We act as independent councillors we do have some things in common and very much aware at the moment that crime is a big issue in Wythall.

"But crime is outside the remit of both the District council and the Parish council, having said that we can influence and we can always help although sometimes we might appear to be quite ineffective that's because it is outside of our power.

"Another thing that is really important is planing. Bromsgrove is undergoing a refresh in its local plan at the moment and we're very much aware and understand the need for more housing. What we want [is] to make sure in Wythall, while this plan is evolving, its the right sort of housing in the right place and the right infrastructure around to support it.

"We need houses for young people so they can stay in the village, we need houses for older people like myself, we rattle around in a big old house which we don't need anymore. But there isn't anywhere locally. We need social housing.

"We need to make sure we get the right mix of housing, we know we're probably going to need to loose some of our green belt [but] we know which bits are important to us. One lady wrote about keeping the green fields between dark lane and Birmingham so we know that's an area we need to protect.

"The other thing is infrastructure our roads around here, certainly following the development in Dickens Heath, and the stress Majors Green is suffering is horrendous, so we need to make sure that if there's any housing we've got the right highways in place, the right transport, doctor schools all these things.

"It's going to be a major issue in Bromsgrove over the next four years and is something I'm really keen on supporting our communities with.

"We're sitting here in the Community Hub and it's school holidays at the moment, it's great but parking around the school is horrendous and as an Independent Group we actually put a proposal together to increase the number road traffic wardens.

"We think that's financially viable because they'll get the money from fines and it will pay for itself. That got thrown out by the conservative group. They laughed at us in the council meeting. Again it's why him so proud to stand as an Independent because I don't have to follow a party whip, I can vote as I feel suits my community."

We then asked Sue what she'd propose to do address the parking situation around school time on Shawhurst Lane.

"I'd really like to investigate, and I don't know how practical its going to be until we investigate, is to have a half mile or a mile zone around the school between 8 and 9:30 in the morning then again between 2 thirty or 4 o'clock in the afternoon which is allegedly a no stop area.

"The problem with anything like that is you move traffic on, so encouraging people to work with local parking areas, encouraging people to park at the White Swan, the Community Association car park the Packhorse car park. We've got parking areas nearby and I think if we could move vehicles onto those, you could have walking buses.

"These are the ideas that have been tried elsewhere in the county and [I'm] looking more creatively at those.

'We held an open day last October and we collected some ideas then. Some of them are short term some of them are long term.

"One of the short term things people wanted was more street lighting. This year we've actually put money in the budget to add to our street lights, one down Fenton Road, one on Silver Street and others as well.

"Another thing is condition of pavements, there is some work we can do there. We can certainly clear them out and make more room on the pavements to walk, especially in the rural areas. We have a man that comes out, who clears the gutters and does odd jobs or us and we've doubled his time so hopefully we'll see an improvement during the year.

"Longer term things, we want to put a diary together of all the local events -  that's now started. Encouraging local people to do litter picks, the parish council supply bags and day glow jackets and gloves and things.

"Having our own PCSO that is a cost of about £70,000 a year because they have to come in pairs, if you've got one the time you gain from it isn't worth it. Also we share a police service with Alvechurch and Beoley, ideally what you'd want to do is have a joint venture with those and employ someone - depending on the size of the areas you'd charge out pro rata.

One thing I'd really love to do is install variable speed cameras between the Maypole and Wythall island. One of the problems with that is the Parish Council pay to get them installed, but all the revenue goes to central government now we think there is an opportunity to actually work with central government, at least until you get the money back for the cameras and then they can have the money. But at least if we can get some money back for the investment."

Sue also wanted to address one question from a conservative candidate: "I've never spent, and the parish council have never spent £3,000 on a bench."

Just as we were about to pack up Sue said she'd also like to add: "we heard yesterday (Thursday 25th April) from the elections team in Bromsgrove they're going to be sending out polling cards for the European elections for the 23rd May.

"So please when you get those polling cards, because they'll all arrive before Thursday, don't get confused ignore them for a few days and then look at them on Friday morning. Don't get confused by that!"

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


  1. Talk about plagiarism, how is she going to implement Adams plan if she’s a councillor in Alvechurch ?

    1. Please all remember Sue Baxter promised to put Drakes Cross First, then for fear of losing her position stood for an uncontested Parish seat in Alvechurch. She’s already elected don’t waste your vote.

    2. JSmith at least WRA answer questions put to them, unlike Wythall Conservatives, who block you from HWE if they don't like questions asked !!

    3. That’s a laugh she never answered any of the questions and where’s the voice recording? Some interview looks like she plagiarised a load of ideas off the Tory leaflets. Sorry she’s just out for no one “Just Herself”

  2. Youve been in power for years had your finger in every pie and not been seen, yet now you are going to do all this when sitting in London as Chairman of Nalc and a Parish Councillor in Alvechurch give us all a break Sue...

  3. The independents have been in-power for many years and are now having the idea of more PCSO why don’t we have them already Sue, what makes this election any different! And where were you all when our houses were flooded and we needed help?


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