Labour is putting forward candidates in the 10 Gloucestershire County Council divisions that make up the Stroud constituency area. The Tories at the County Council have reduced the number of Councillors from 63 to 53, dating from the election on Thursday 2 May. The 'divisions' that have been created are much larger because of this. As a result, in many cases this has meant putting together communities that would not normally be combined - as well as in some cases splitting communities between two divisions.
Bisley and Painswick division - Sheila McGrath
(The division includes Bisley, Oakridge, Painswick, Edge, Sheepscombe, Slad, Pitchcombe, Eastcombe, Cranham, Miserden, Harescombe, Brookthorpe, Upton St Leonards, Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe)
Sheila moved to Gloucestershire a few years ago - her husband spent time in Bisley when young, where his grandfather, Arthur Davis, was the blacksmith. She spent her working life in education and social care, both in the public and voluntary sectors. She understands the issues families struggle with as the recession bites. Sheila has used her knowledge to support a number of local voluntary organisations here. “As a Gloucestershire County Councillor I’d use my experience to work for local residents to achieve better, fairer services. I’d like to make sure rural areas don’t lose out - we need better bus services, improved employment and housing opportunities, access to affordable childcare and good public health services. I’m concerned about rising unemployment, about communities having to step in and take over services like libraries and youth work, about reductions in police numbers. I want to see bus passes available to use before 9.30am.
Cam Valley - John Fowles
(The division includes the whole of Cam, Berkeley and Sharpness)
John moved to Cam in 1992, working at Berkeley Labs and Oldbury Power Station - he’s just retired. He’s on Cam Parish Council and previously served as a District Councillor, so has experience to offer residents of Cam and Berkeley. He’s married with two children and two young granddaughters and supports Forest Green Rovers. “This election is about the services provided by the Tory Council. Tory cuts left us without youth workers and I’m concerned about cuts to care and to services for families and children. Local roads are full of potholes - we need a review of how road repairs are dealt with. We must fight the threat of hundreds of houses being built in fields round Cam since a Government Inspector allowed housing at Box Road after the Council refused it. We need affordable homes but jobs must come first. I’d like to see bus passes accepted before 9.30am and the Council supporting a Living Wage.
Dursley - Steve Lydon
(The division includes Dursley, Coaley, Uley, Nympsfield, Leonard Stanley, Frocester and Owlpen)
Steve is 56, married with 2 sons and born and bred in the south west, now living in Leonard Stanley. He played rugby at County level, and is an enthusiastic Gloucester supporter and occasional visitor to Forest Green Rovers as well as a local Scout Leader. Steve’s career has been in the public and private sectors, on promoting skills and learning. He’s advised local and national Government on education policies particularly getting the unemployed into work. “The Dursley area has worse unemployment than many other parts of Stroud District and we must tackle this. We need jobs and affordable houses locally. In Leonard Stanley, Dursley, Coaley, Uley and Nympsfield, I’ll work with parish & town councils in co-operative partnerships to support shops and businesses, improvements to Dursley town centre and local jobs/training for young people. We must continue the fight to stop the incinerator and get proper pothole repairs that last. I care passionately about public services, particularly health and education - we must defend both from privatisation.
Hardwicke and Severn - Sarah Madley
(The division includes Hardwicke, Elmore, Longney, Epney, Moreton Valence, Frampton, Arlingham, Whitminster, Slimbridge, Saul, Fretherne, Haresfield)
Sarah was born and brought up in Gloucestershire and has lived in Stroud with her family since 1991. She worked previously for David Drew in his constituency office but now works for a recycling company in Stonehouse. She’s served as a school governor and parish and district councillor and currently volunteers as the Secretary of Care and Repair Stroud, a home improvement agency which helps adapt and maintain the homes of older and disabled people. Sarah has seen for herself the problems that the Government cuts are causing to some of the most vulnerable locally. “I'd like to see better financial planning on the County Council, avoiding costly fiascos like the attempt to foist an incinerator on the area. I’d also like to see the Council leading on the Living Wage, defending our education and health services from privatisation - and a review of how the council deals with road repairs and potholes.”
Minchinhampton - David Taylor
(The division includes Chalford, Bussage, Minchinhampton, Toadsmoore, Thrupp, Brimscombe, Rodborough Common, Box)
David has lived in Bussage for 29 years. He’s retired, having worked in the health service - 13 years with the Ambulance Service, 20 years in the Fire Service. He still works part-time, running his own business. His experience of both public and private sectors is a helpful background to represent the interests of Chalford and Minchinhampton residents. “As a Labour and Co-operative Party candidate, I like to see more co-operative enterprises: community bus services, credit unions and housing co-operatives helping identify solutions for local communities for better local services - particularly in rural areas. I want better control of potholes, speeding and parking, maintaining public transport links with Stroud and Gloucester and having bus passes accepted before 9.30am. I am totally against the huge, unnecessary incinerator - the planners rejected it but we must hope the Government Inspector at an appeal will listen to common sense. If elected, I promise to serve you well and to work hard for our community.”
Nailsworth - Jo Smith
(The division includes Nailsworth, Forest Green, Horsley Amberley, Woodchester and Kings Stanley)
Jo has lived in Amberley for more than 30 years and loves the area. She’s always campaigned for socialist and co-operative ideals, especially healthcare. Having retired from her lifelong profession, nursing, 2 years ago, Jo continues to co-ordinate monthly Alzheimer cafes as a volunteer. She enjoys working with young people and as a Town Councillor helped with a funding bid for the games court at Forest Green. “We need co-ordinated, better trained home care services for older and disabled people plus close scrutiny of the merger of health & social services, greater access to education and jobs for young people, better repairs to highways and pavements and traffic calming in residential areas. I am saddened to see the destruction by this coalition government of so much we hold dear – the stripping away of public services and threats to the NHS. We’re seeing a rise in inequalities - tax breaks for the rich, benefit cuts to the disabled and for those on the lowest incomes.”
Rodborough - Brian Oosthuysen
(The division includes Rodborough, Dudbridge, Cainscross, Cashes Green, Lower Westrip)
As Rodborough County Councillor, Brian worked hard for local people and the community. Now Rodborough, Cainscross and Cashes Green are in the same County ‘division’. If elected, Brian would work hard for those communities too. On the council he challenged how the Tories cut services and ignored public views. He challenged privatisation of local health services and hospitals. He campaigned for more waste recycling, not burning it at vast expense in an incinerator. Brian helped found the local Foodbank and works there as volunteer. He’s been a school governor and parish councillor, opposed housing that would ruin a beautiful part of Rodborough and called for more effective action on local potholes, speeding and parking. He supports a co-operative approach: Parish, District and County Councillors working in partnership on improvements for the community. Brian’s a trustee for local charities and works with Stroud Beresford Group, supporting women taking refuge from domestic violence. He is a keen environmentalist, involved in a local green energy company.
Stonehouse - Lesley Williams
(The division includes Stonehouse, Ebley, Eastington and Standish)
Lesley lives in Kings Stanley. A County Councillor since 2001, she has worked for the community since then. Tory reductions in the number of councillors mean Eastington and Ebley are part of the Stonehouse ‘division’. If elected, Lesley would work for all three communities. She’s a school governor, on Stonehouse Community Partnership, member of the Credit Union Board and a parish councillor. She’s challenged Tory cuts to the library service and the dilapidated state of the Sstonehouse building, the closure of the Police Station, reduction of police numbers and loss of youth work locally. “I will continue to oppose the proposed incinerator, why burn when we can recycle? I support a £1 travel card for young people and want more free school meals provided. We need effective speed controls in rural areas and a common sense approach to pot holes and road repair. As a Labour and Co-operative Party candidate, I support a collaborative approach, working with local people and their parishes to solve local problems.”
Stroud - Tosca Cabello-Watson
The division includes the 6 wards of Stroud town - Central; Farmhill/Paganhill, Slade; Trinity; Uplands and Valley
Tosca was brought up in Gloucestershire, and has lived in the Cashes Green area since she was 11. Having been to university she’s now at college, training to be a mechanic. She lives on a boat on the Sharpness Canal, in part because she can’t afford to live in Stroud. She volunteers with the Cotswold Canal Trust among others. Her main priorities are local jobs, wages, housing and education. “As a first time candidate, I may not have the track record of others, but I do have the passion and dedication to represent Stroud residents. I’d like the chance to do what I can to make life better for people, to reduce the impact of central government cuts as much as possible. I am passionate about the power of communities to make positive change for the people that live in them. The power of co-operation is priceless, especially when living costs are increasing whilst services and benefits are being slashed.”
Wotton-under-Edge - Laurence Cotterell
(The division includes Wotton-Under-Edge, Newport, Stone, Ham, North Nibley, Stinchcombe, Alderley, Hillesley, Tresham and Kingswood)
Laurence lives in Coaley, and has taught English in state secondary schools for the last 14 years. He’s recently been studying at Bristol University as well as working as a volunteer in Dursley library and supporting local care for the elderly. In his spare time he plays, very, amateur football and runs for a range of charities. He notes “I believe community services and access to libraries, organised sport and health services are essential for connecting a rural community under threat of being abandoned and marginalised. I’d like to see better public transport and bus passes accepted before 9.30am. We need to focus on jobs before housing locally, though we do need affordable houses. The County Council should take a lead on paying a Living Wage and increasing the number of local jobs. I’d also like to see a complete review of how the Council deals with road repairs.”