Moving beyond our local election defeat.

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I would like to apologise to and thank everyone that took the time to go down and vote for me on election day, we may not have won but together we can still make a difference.

Firstly me standing in the election was due to the fact the way our community is going did not sit well with me, I wanted to do something about it and I still do. The fact the Tories got returned in both seats with a majority, should not deter us from wanting to change our communities.

While two thousand odd people are happy with the way our villages are turning out, there was still a sizeable chunk of people that were not.

So what is next for us? We need to come together to fight for the community we want to see, in the hope that we can direct and effect the changes that our community needs.

To do this I’m going to set up a community association for Roade, it will require your support and participation. With the community association we can have a positive impact on our community, and together we can do something.

What is a community association? A community association is a non governmental organisation which is made up of members of a community to carry out a specific purpose which is of benefit to said community. It will be an official organisation, and exactly what our role and remit will be, will ultimately be decided by those who wish to engage within it.

I will write further on how I feel the community association will be good for our community in the future, in the mean time further information can be found here: http://www.communitymatters.org.uk/content/463/1-Setting-up-a-community-organisation

Once again thank you, but the real challenge begins now. Get involved, lets create the community we deserve.

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Roade: Double the school, double the problems?

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As it was reported here: http://www.northampton-news-hp.co.uk/8203-Plans-double-size-Roade-Primary-School-210/story-25728510-detail/story.html#ixzz3MD3eCqBX Roade School is going to double in size from 210 places to 420.

I attended Roade School from 1995-2000 but since then I have had little to do with it outside of attending a planning meeting to get a crossing put outside the shop, so I am not the most knowledgeable on the current state of the school nor its facilities.

However there are some concerns that I have about this development, the roads not only outside the primary school but in the wider infrastructure of Roade already face problems in the morning and evenings, just how much stress are these extra places going to put onto the roads?

The development is of course happening because Roade it self is nearly doubling in size with various housing developments completed or about to commence, which means more people, more cars and more kids.

This is further evident in the fact a large chunk of the money is coming from a Section 106 developer contribution, which for those that don’t know mean developers who are going to build in the area have to provide money to fund a certain project, in this case expanding the school.

While it is of course obvious that if Roade is going to grow then our infrastructure needs to grow with it, there are still pressing concerns that need to be addressed before the building of new houses and more stress is added to the road network.

We need an improvement to the roads in the area, the a508 is struggling to cope with the present traffic, and this is going to add further stress alongside the houses that are being built. That being the case any developers first concern should be sorting out the road network before being able to add more cars to the mix.

On top of this nothing has emerged to replace the services we have lost over the last five to ten years, with Roade expanding we still lack amenities we once enjoyed, which not only enrich our community, they provide valuable job opportunities.

I have been contacted by numerous parents who have children that attend Roade Primary and they have expressed concerns that the vital Bumblee Bees service currently housed at the school is going to be ended due to the development, as there will be a lack of room.

This means that they are doubling the school, while cutting another vital service from the area! Which makes me think, just how are the school going to afford the extra staffing costs and other stresses which this is going to cause?

Under no circumstances should the school be cutting away a vital service to the village, that is lets not forget well used, for any reason what so ever. Those involved and the wider community should not only come together to support this service, we should be looking at how we can ensure its survival.

Under the Localism Act 2011 local communities have certain powers which they can use to take control of their areas, and we should be exploring how we can do this to ensure whatever happens to this village, is in the benefit of the people who live in it. (Information on the Localism Act can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/5959/1896534.pdf)

Lets take our community back!

Roade, no jobs, no future?

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What has happened to Roade? When I was a child growing up here the majority of people not only lived here, they worked here too, yet by the time I reached working age there was next to no job opportunities.

My grandparents worked in the Factory, my mum and stepdad worked at Walkerpack and much more than providing a stable source of employment for Roade residents, these places were important for creating a sense of community and belonging.

In the coming years Roade is going to almost double in size, yet where will these people work? Roade to me is much more than just an ideal commuting location, it is a community and a community I love.

There is nothing wrong with commuting to work but having to do so means we have less disposable income, as a huge percentage of our pay gets spent on getting to and from work, on buses and on petrol.

Lets face it now all these people moving here, how many will be working within the community? What job opportunities are there for the next generation of Roade residents? The answer to both is of course very few and very little.

You only need to have lived here a relatively short time to see sources of employment for Roade residents diminish, and it is such a shame because with the loss of these places a little bit of Roade is lost with them.

It is time the council both parish and district begin looking at how they can provide job opportunities not only for those who currently live here but for the future too.

For a long time now I have witnessed the decline of the village I love, and I find it sad when I walk around the village and see what we have lost. Roade is our village, it is our community and I do not want to lose another piece of Roade, we need to fight tooth and nail so the council doesn’t forget about us, so that Roade is not left behind!

Why I’m standing for local government, and why you should too

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Lets not beat around the bush things are bad, we feel disconnected from our political masters in Westminster, we feel let down and betrayed by those that proclaim to represent us, we feel we are losing out, we feel powerless, we feel hopeless but most of all we feel like we cannot make a difference. Our money isn’t going as far as it used to, we are struggling to get by, our communities are being stripped of all their character, our lives are being dictated by how much profit this or that corporation is making, at the end of the day we are that tired and stressed out worrying where we are going to get the money for this bill, or the next. Not a day goes by where we do not hear more lies either coming directly from the mouths of politicians or in the media, as they clutch at straws to justify our suffering, while they get to live in luxury. Well enough is enough, things do not have to be this way, we can make a change, we can make a difference, we can take charge of our communities. What is stopping us?

I love my community, It is the place I grew up, it is where I went to school and it is where my family live. In the twenty years of living here, I have seen things change, not for the better but for the worse. We have lost untold amount of employment opportunities, and we have lost untold amount of services, the bank and the cricket ground were the first to go in my memory and more recently we have seen the stain on our landscapes which have come about on the George and Club sites. At the same time of losing all these, we are getting more houses, the majority of which are not affordable, but homes which are there to profit a small amount of individuals. We need to put the community at the heart of these decisions, are decisions being made to benefit the community or are they being made to benefit self interest? I look at the future of our village and I think unless we do something things are going to get worse, that is why I’m standing, not because I want to, but because I need to, we can all moan about how things are going but unless we actively try to change them, what is the point?

The people are the beating heart of any community, I do not want our community spirit to die out and become a shell of itself, if we work together there is no limit to what we can achieve. I am standing because I want to do a new kind of politics, a politics that puts people at the heart of the decision making process, a politics that builds communities from the bottom up, a politics that is engrained in the community, a politics which is there to help not hinder. That is why if I’m elected I will be doing things very differently to our current representatives, who got in unelected at the last election. Ultimately our democracy only works when power rests with the people, everything being in the public domain, the people should have a say in how and what their representative fight on, they should be approachable and accessible, but most importantly our representatives should inspire us to get involved in politics ourselves. This community is ours and its future is our future, what kind of future do we want to build?

The more people that stand on principal and conviction with a desire to improve and help their communities, the healthier our democracy will be. Participation doesn’t begin or end at the ballot box either, there are untold amount of ways to fight for what we want, and fundamentally that is the only way we will ever change things in our favour, if we fight for them. This change has to come from below because there is not the political will for it at the top, the top 1% have the same combined wealth as the bottom 50%, and the only people that know what is best for the community, is that community it self. By having local representatives who live, breath, eat and sleep in their communities, we can begin to effect change at a local level and in the long term we can transfer that to regional and national platforms. Without an active and engaged local level of participation, we have a democracy that does not function, a top heavy regime which implements things not to improve, but to profit. Ultimately who should decide what is best for us, the people who live here, or the people that don’t?