• ALASTAIR McCRAW POLITICAL BLOG: Brantham Parish Council Election 2019.

    I haven’t written anything on this blog for some time now. There’s been enough from me elsewhere anyway. 

    This piece will focus on an unusual subject, the Candidates for the forthcoming Brantham Parish Council Election. For entirely valid reasons of neutrality that Parish Council is unable to provide more than a list of the Candidates. That’s a shame. It’s difficult for people to know or identify those people. I’m going to attempt to redress that. As there are more candidates (13) than the 11 seats which need filling, an election has been called.

    The first thing to say is every single one is a good candidate, but as I’ve said elsewhere, people might give a little extra consideration to existing and past Councillors. If nothing else, retaining their skills and experience would be useful. I’ll list the candidates as they appear on the ballot paper and in that order, along with any Identification such as Independent. Anything in ‘’quotes’’ is from the candidate themselves. I’ve edited down to stop this being too long, but readers will get the idea and some insight into each person.

    ABRAHAMS, Verity Ann: Independent.

    ‘’Having lived in Brantham for 17 years, I am married with 2 grown up children who attended the local schools. I am a midwife and currently working as a health visitor and believe I could offer a different perspective to the parish council. I’m keen to maintain Brantham as a beautiful place to live. I would also like to be able to contribute to the community and learn more about what’s happening in Brantham.’’

    AHERNE, Mark: Independent.

    Mark was co-opted in 2016. He has served as a member of the Planning Committee, the Village Hall Management Committee and the Legal Sub-committee. His background is in Tech and IT and Management of those businesses. He has also been appointed as an auditor for The Suffolk Association of Local Councillors. In addition, he was heavily involved in the PC’s attempts to retain a Post Office Service, and he maintains the village Speed Indicator Device (SID).

    BISSETT, Angus John: Independent.

    Angus is the youngest candidate. Brantham has been well served by other younger members in the past. He would seek to balance our age representation, providing some perspective from a significant section of the Parish. He is questioning and follows up on these, often with more questions. He is an active sportsman and can hold his own in any conversation or discussion.

    ELLIOTT, Christopher John: Independent.

    Chris was co-opted to BPC to fill the single vacancy after the 2015 Election. He has served on the Planning Committee, the Legal Sub-Committee and undertook the complex role of our Emergency Planning Co-ordinator. Few are aware that, because of this work, Brantham has an Emergency plan in line with SCC Emergency planning requirements. Chris had to stand down a year ago for health reasons. Those now resolved, he feels he can stand for the Parish Council again and continue to refine his previous work.

    HEYWOOD, Jackie: Independent.

    Jackie was first elected in 2011 and has served on several of the committees at various times. Her principal role has been as Vice Chair initially, and for several years, as Chair of the Village Hall Management Committee. This has seen a drive to numerous improvements in the Hall including the addition of a disabled ramp and toilet facilities, installation of film and sound equipment and has overseen the recent Hall redecoration. More improvements have been planned. She also founded the Village Choir and co-organises Brantham Film Nights and Quizzes.

    HUDSON, Mary Ann: Independent.

    Mary runs a busy family business in the Village with her husband. ‘‘My son has grown up in Brantham, attending the local Schools, and involved with village clubs and activities. I could not have wished for a better place for him to spend his childhood, and that is something I would like to help maintain. I think I could be a good communication link between residents and the Parish Council and would really like the opportunity to become more involved with actively helping this village continue to be a lovely place to live, for all members of the community.’’

    MCCRAW, Alastair William: Independent.

    ‘’I was first elected in 2011. I thought of it as a way of repaying Brantham for being the place it was, the place that has been my home now for most of my life. I’ve been on the Finance Committee throughout. As it’s the main ‘driving’ committee, I’m very pleased to say that the finances are in excellent shape. There are some long planned projects that can take place, and soon. I currently chair our Legal Sub-committee which has seen a lot more work in recent years. In 2013, I found myself taking a lead in the Parish and Village responses to proposals in the Brantham Regeneration Area. It wasn’t what I looked for (who would?), but it was what we all got. That disappointment led me to standing for Babergh in 2015. I’ve continued to speak out throughout the process. You’ve all seen my leaflets and reports, I hope. I report regularly to the PC that I regard as my home, in the political sense. I will always remain a Parish Councillor, both at heart and in my approach, always aiming to serve our home.’’

    OSBEN, Eric John: Independent.

    Eric has a work background in the Royal Mail and the railways industry. He has strong feelings for the tradition of providing a public service. ‘’I have lived in the village for 30 years on the 'Pippins' Estate. I have no political affiliations and no specific agenda. I care passionately about our village and the people who live here and, if elected, will do my best to ensure that local views are strongly represented.’’

    PHILLIPS, Clare Elizabeth Anne: No description.

    Clare is a local broadcaster and journalist and has been an active member of Brantham Parish Council for more than four years. As part of her role on the Council Clare is the Chair of both the Footpaths Committee and the Recreation Committee. This period has seen steady but significant maintenance and improvement of play facilities. In the most obvious examples, Clare successfully applied for external funding to enable the improvements to the Gravel Pit Lane Play Area and Lottery funding for Merriam Close. In addition, she wrote both successful bids for the Brantham to be awarded the ‘Most Active Large Village in Suffolk’ title.

    RASCH, Gary Paul: No description.

    ‘’I’ve lived in Brantham for the last nine years with my wife and family and enjoy living in East Anglia and Brantham and have great admiration for the people who live here. I have concerns about the eradication of the countryside whilst still realising the need for housing but feel it needs to be on a far more proportional scale, by hopefully being on the Parish Council I would do whatever was in my power to keep the village as it is now as a warm, safe and welcoming place to live. On a professional level I work as Head of Operations and Facilities for an inner London Council and have worked in Building services in total for over 30 years.’’

    REVELL, Pippa: Independent.

    Pippa was raised in Brantham, attending both Brooklands and East Bergholt High. Working in Payroll and Accounts, she is raising her own son here, who now goes to Brooklands and the local Beaver Scouts. She has long been something of a star performer for BATS, and more recently has been the Director of an award-winning production of ‘Sister Act’. There is also a strong family tradition of service to this village. ‘’I believe I would be a good representative and voice for the parish; As a parent, a daughter, a friend and a part of our community, I have quite an extensive knowledge of the village we live in and I would be proud to serve on the council for you.’

    SAWARD, Paul Christopher: Independent.

    Paul was elected to BPC in 2015. With his professional background as a partner in a major London firm of architects, and years of varied experience in the field, he was a natural fit to chair Brantham’s Planning Committee for the last four years. The reports that he drafts from our planning meetings have often been quoted verbatim by Babergh Planning officers in their own reports to committee. They have also been an invaluable help to inform the current District Councillor in his own work with officers and committees at Babergh. This same background has also been highly useful as a member of the Legal Sub-committee and in dealing with SFG, Taylor Wimpey and a variety of contractors operating in the village.

    THOMAS, Ivor Trehame: Independent.

    Ivor is the Landlord of the Ark Bar and Restaurant in The Street, Cattawade. He qualifies as a candidate doubly, for having property here and for having his occupation here. ‘’As a local Business man of 35 years, now located in Brantham, I obviously want to see the village flourish and prosper. My experience is in running a focused organisation, maintaining customer service and communication with customers and local people alike. Having a keen interest in the well-being of this lovely village, and having always been a ‘people person’, I am standing to help maintain a successful parish on behalf of everybody lucky enough to live here. 

    So there, you have some background and experience. I’ve gathered this from the candidates themselves and my own notes and experiences. As a candidate myself, I would be happy to be elected to work alongside any of the above. I hope this helps people make their choices of up to 11 of these 13 candidates.

     It is in the nature on larger Parish Councils that circumstances change, people leave, and we co-opt members from a selection of those willing. Any unelected candidate would be an obvious person to ask to put their name forward at such a time.

    Thank you, for your patience in following this. As you may see, I care passionately about our Parish Councils and this one most of all.

    Alastair McCraw

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