Candidates are being chosen for the Green Party ahead of the local elections on May 2nd.
In Weymouth, Jon Orrell (above) will be standing in Melcombe Regis. Jon has been a borough and county councillor and works as a GP in Melcombe Regis.
Standing in Rodwell and Wyke in Weymouth are (from left to right in the picture above) Brian Heatley, Clare Sutton and Daragh Croxson.
Clare grew up in Rodwell and returned to bring up her children here in 2005. She has been Rodwell’s County Councillor since 2015. As the founder of the Friends of Castle Cove and Chapelhay Community Playgarden, a Trustee of STEPS Club for Young People and a former Governor of Holy Trinity School, she is deeply committed to the area. In her ‘day job’, she is Head of Charity for a Housing Association which provides homes, support and care mainly for the former homeless.
Brian has worked at the highest level in finance, policy and industrial planning. Since moving to Weymouth in 2003, he has co-written two Green Party General Election manifestos and was our parliamentary candidate in 2010. Brian has been Clare’s ‘right hand man’ in Rodwell since 2015, helping resolve residents’ concerns about road safety and many other issues.
A former journalist, Daragh moved to Weymouth in 2000. He is a committed member of ‘the Green Team’ which regularly litter picks around Rodwell.
The Wyke figure is for the ‘top’ candidate. Lib Dems and Independents did not stand in Rodwell in 2017.
Rodwell and Wyke is a brand new ward made up of the County Council Division of Rodwell and the WPBC Ward of Wyke Regis. So we have combined previous election results in those wards. Here is a breakdown of the figures.
Here's a bit more on the candidates in Rodwell and Wyke:
Assisted by local Green Party members, Clare organised a petition to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council in 2014 asking them to work with the County Council, landowners and the local community to try to find a way to reinstate safe access. The petition attracted 2000 signatures in just 3 weeks, but only one councillor, Paul Kimber, supported it.
Clare then organised a public meeting, from which she formed The Friends of Castle Cove Beach (FOCCB) with 8 local people. She stood down from the committee in 2015 when she stood for election, to protect their political neutrality, but has continued to work closely with them, organising, for example, the Children’s Logo Competition, a Sandcastle Competition and the Heart of Sand sculpture. As County Councillor, she has worked with FOCCB to persuade Dorset County Council (DCC) to repair the upper part of the path, to persuade the Regulatory Committee to declare the route where the steps used to be a Right of Way, and is helping negotiate with Dorset Waste Partnership regarding litter removal. As local residents will know, after years of hard work by FOCCB and the local community, the Steps are now (March 2019) nearing completion.
Following a proposal to close the Weymouth Registration Office in 2016, Clare lobbied panel members repeatedly on why it must be retained, based on the size of the conurbation, levels of car ownership and other demographic data. Our Registration Office was saved.
As a Trustee, Clare has helped secure the future of the STEPs Youth Club on Chickerell Road following the withdrawal of DCC funding in 2016.
Clare supported the campaign by Jon Orrell to get a site for the Bus Shelter, a project to help homeless people. She continues to lobby for the reinstatement of the Emergency Local Assistance Fund, which help those who are moving into accommodation with rent deposits and essential items such as bedding and white goods, making it more likely that they can make a successful transition away from homelessness.
Following independent monitoring of pollution levels by the Green Party’s Dr Jon Orrell, the failure of the official measuring device was confirmed, and better and more accurate reports were obtained. Clare has worked long and hard with DCC officers to find ways to reduce congestion and pollution, but it remains a very difficult issue. She has lobbied officers and fellow councillors for 3 years to reroute HGV’s via Lanehouse. This was agreed in 2018 but has STILL not been actioned.
Clare strongly opposed this in 2016, on the grounds that it would make congestion and pollution even worse, but unfortunately WPBC Planning Committee approved it on the Chair’s casting vote. However, permission will lapse if work does not commence by 19 October 2019.
Following an accident at the Ryland’s Lane school crossing in Autumn 2016 and representations from Clare, works were carried out both at both the Rylands Lane and Holy Trinity crossings during 2017/18 to make them safer.
After repeated interventions by Clare, many of the most severely pot-holed roads in Weymouth West were re-surfaced in 2018.
Clare’s intervention helped get the North Quay car parks re-opened when the sale of the Council Offices site was delayed. This helped the Old Town Hall in particular. She has pressed relentlessly for parking restrictions on Chapelhay Street and at Oakley Place, where double parking create huge problems for emergency vehicles in particular. After interminable delays the first was completed last summer. Clare has been promised that the Oakley Place restrictions will be completed in Spring 2019. While some Chapelhay residents have pressed for a Residents’ Parking Scheme, this requires 60% of residents to agree. The survey Clare carried out in 2016 showed very little support. A detailed survey in one particular road where there seemed to be more support also showed that the majority were against it.
With the help of Green Party colleague Brian Heatley, who is standing alongside Clare in the forthcoming elections, Clare has responded individually to large numbers of individual residents’ concerns. These include waste collection, lack of parking, pavement parking, overgrown hedges, speeding in residential roads, the dangers posed by railway lines in the roads for cyclists, HGV traffic and the bridge on Buxton Road, potholes, faded double yellow parking lines, participation in national Breathe Easy week, no idling signs near Town Bridge, litter in Chapelhay, drug use, coastal erosion at Newton Cove and fire hazards in Chapelhay Heights.
Clare has attended all but one of the County Council meetings since she was first elected in Autumn 2015. She has spoken at every meeting, raising issues such as the need for action over poor social mobility in Weymouth, cuts in Youth Services, the future of the Registration Office and, critically, the need to improve our local secondary schools. At the Shadow Dorset Council she drew attention to Council plans to take money from school budgets. She has been Vice Chair of the Audit and Governance Committee since 2017.
Clare submitted a motion to Dorset County Council pointing out that Weymouth and Portland is 322nd out of 324 local authority areas in England for social mobility, that 9 out of Dorset’s 12 most deprived areas are in Weymouth and Portland, and that the Council could help provide good jobs locally by moving some of its own services here. A fuller report on this can be found here
Clare has continually drawn attention to and opposed government cuts to local government funding, which is the ultimate reason for so many of residents’ concerns.
Clare is a regular member of the Green Team which picks litter in Rodwell and the Town Centre to keep our streets clean.
Brian Heatley has lived in Weymouth since 2003. Brian has a good working knowledge of Rodwell because he has been helping Cllr Clare Sutton for the past three years. Like Clare, he believes that the number one job of a councillor is to seek to deal with the local issues raised by residents.
Brian worked for more than twenty years as a senior civil servant. He has also worked as a maths teacher in Inner London. Convinced that the environmental and climate crisis is the most serious of the many issues we face, he joined the Green Party in 2001. He has co-written two Green Party General Election manifestos, and stood for the Greens in Dorset South in the 2010 General Election.
Brian says ‘The new Dorset Council offers both opportunities and dangers for Rodwell and Wyke. The opportunities include a fresh start with greater resources to find solutions to our problems. The danger is that Weymouth, as the main urban area in a mainly rural area, will be neglected, and its particular problems – poverty hotspots, low wages, low social mobility, problems with secondary education, homelessness, drugs and crime – will be ignored by a Conservative dominated Council. The new Council needs the sort of constructive opposition that Clare Sutton has been providing on the Dorset County Council, and which I have the experience and skills to reinforce.’