Babergh District Council Elections, Thursday, May 2.

Council Elections 2019

This page is dedicated to the Shotley peninsula wards, Ganges, Orwell, Stour and Brantham,  in the Babergh District Council elections,  on Thursday, May 2.

We aim to provide factual information and news articles regarding the elections and list all the candidates standing, along with a short biography. Candidates can place adverts with election posters or material, linking to their website or social media page. Contact advertising@shotleypeninsulanewsandfeatures.com for more details.

How New Boundaries Affect The Peninsula

There will be new look to district council wards in the latest elections on May 2. 

Shotley and Erwarton parishes are to come under the newly formed Ganges ward after the Boundary Commission review of Babergh district wards.

The neighbouring villages are currently looked after by two district councillors as part of Berners ward, which also includes Chelmondiston, Woolverstone and Freston.

Ganges, named after the former Royal Navy Training Establishment, will now be looked after by just one elected district councillor.

The move comes after the intervention of ex-Ganges boy and former chairman of the HMS Ganges Museum, district councillor Derek Davis, supported by two of his colleagues David Rose and Alastair McCraw.

The Local Government Boundary Commission For England (LGBCE) had originally looked at making much of the peninsula a three-member ward, but representations by Independent group Cllrs Davis, Rose and McCraw backed by a couple of parish councils, pointed out that would be unworkable and the panel agreed.

Boundary commissioners took account of development at the former Ganges site, comprising of 285 new homes, a small hotel, residential care home, a café, retail units and community facilities, which would add to the electorate.

 Stour ward, named after the river which flows down from Shotley, will also be a one member ward and will now take in Harkstead, Holbrook and Stutton, making it slightly larger than the current ward.

On the other side of the peninsula Orwell ward, will also be a one-member ward but will include Belstead, Wherstead and Tattingstone along with Freston, Woolverstone and Chelmondison.

Brantham will become a one-member ward as expected growth will also boost the electorate there. 

The division of those four wards means the same geographical area will lose one district councillor.

In total Babergh district council will reduce the number of councillors from the current 43 to 32, serving 24 wards, with the changes coming into effect at the next district council election in May 2019. 

In its report the Boundary Commission explained how it changed its original recommendation of forming a three-member ward to three single member wards after representations were made.

The LGBCE was tasked to reduce district council members but ensure they improved electoral equality by equalising the number of electors each ward councillor represents. They had to take into account community identity and provide effective and community local government.

The Candidates 
Brantham Ward

Alastair McCraw - Independent

A parish councillor for eight years and a district councillor for four years, I think I’m repaying my home of more than 30 years. I love where we live and have cycled all of it. I came from a background of studying science, by way of retail customer service. By now I’ve served on every committee at Babergh in some way, most recently as Chair of Scrutiny. I like to sing and to read anything from comic books through news to council papers.

Caroline Wheeler - Green Party Address given as in Chelmondiston

William Shropshire - Conservative Address given as in Acton, Sudbury

Ganges Ward

Derek Davis  -  Independent

Proud to serve our community as a councillor, volunteer and ambassador in many ways. Passionate about promoting the positive aspects of Shotley & Erwarton. I have helped bring tens of thousands of pounds in terms of funding and grants to a number of local groups and organisations, while also representing your interests at Babergh district council where I am currently the only non-Conservative on the Cabinet. A freelance journalist by profession, I have also recent qualified along with my teenage son as a Suffolk FA referee.

Sharon-Anne Kennedy - Green Party

I have lived on the Peninsula since 1994 and raised my son here. My assistance dog is a minor celebrity and together we're often seen at local groups and events, even 'braving the shave' for cancer at one last year. I've always been passionate about nature, animals and people (I'm doing a degree in social science) and so I am proud to be seen as the Green candidate in a place where I love the people and the beautiful environment we live.

Paul Clarke - Conservative

Address given as Chaplain's Farm, Capel St Mary

Tony Ingram - Lib Dem

Address given as Wherstead Road, Ipswich.

Orwell Ward

Jane Gould - Green Party 

Jane has lived on the Shotley peninsula for 42 years, the past 35 of them in Woolverstone where she has raised a family and now earns a living running a B&B and organising and coaching community choirs and other music groups. As Chair of Governors at Holbrook Academy when it was put into special measures, she played a key role in overseeing the appointment of a new headteacher and successfully bringing the school out of special measures. Her professional background was as a youth offending practitioner, visiting prisons all over the country to interview young offenders before they were sentenced.  She is warden for Woolverstone church.

Nick Ridley - Conservative Address in Sproughton

Stour Ward

Christopher Sawyer - Independent Address in Holbrook

Michael Bamford - Lib Dems Address in Bentley

Lyndon Ship - Green Party Address in Stutton

Mary McLaren - Conservative Address in Capel

To find the full list of candidates for the whole of Babergh, and for parish council candidates; click here....

Being Truly Independent

Being an Independent councillor is about putting people before politics.

It seems simple enough but we have seen how the electorate are understandably unhappy with the shambolic way mainstream political parties have been handling important issues.

As local elections loom, it is obvious voters, those that will bother to turn out, are looking for a better way and we as Independents believe we offer just that. 

Currently at Babergh the Independent Group, comprising of eight members, provides the largest opposition to the ruling Conservative administration.

Although on the surface it would appear to be an oxymoron that Independent councillors would need to form a group, it is more to do with pragmatism and the democratic process.

The Independents needed to be part of a recognised group so they could serve on the various committees, particularly important when having a part to play on Planning, Audit, Licensing and Scrutiny.

Independents have proven their worth by actively immersing themselves in wider district issues.

Derek Davis (Berners ward) is the portfolio holder for Organisational Delivery on the Cabinet, a model adopted midway through the Administrative term, Alastair McCraw (Alton ward) is the chair of Overview and Scrutiny, while Clive Arthey, David Rose and Stephen Plumb are on the vitally important planning committee.

Cllr Davis debunks the myth minority groups do not have a voice in the Council.

“Anyone who knows me will be under no illusion of my ability to ensure my voice is heard loud and clear,” said Cllr Davis. “That means I play a full part in the decision making but as a non-Conservative I can make my point without any fear of political group pressure.

“While I do seek wider views from fellow councillors, I’m very much there to represent the best interests of our residents.

“It is the same with ward matters. As an Independent I act in the best interests of the people of the ward. I’m there to represent the villagers of Shotley, Erwarton, Chelmondiston, Woolverstone and Freston.

“I’m not a delegate, I’m a representative and I don't answer to any political master, therefore all my actions and decisions on made on the basis that I live in the ward. I understand the issues, I listen to all points of views and act accordingly.”

Cllr McCraw added: “Independents come from their communities to serve the communities. Unattached to wider party political views and approaches, we are able to deal with issues on their own merits and serve the communities freely.

“In local government you’re electing individuals, councillors who will do the work, not parties who must serve several masters.”

It is said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and the emergence at national level of an Independent group comprising of disaffected MPs unhappy with their parties has struck a chord with the many who are fed up with the shambolic way the mainstream politics has been conducted for some time.

However, Cllrs John Nunn and Richard Kemp from Long Melford insist they should not be confused with the national group and like 1,700 Independent councillors across England and Wales are not affiliated in any way with them.

“We have been working hard for residents for many years, listening to you; acting on your concerns and improving our community,” said Cllrs Nunn and Kemp in a joint statement.

“Independents remain free of party politics to focus on the best for residents, not on any national party wrangling.

“We put the issue, resident, community first, without the interference of party politics. Be assured we are working for you and or local community.” 

Cllr Rose, a former Ipswich Town Club Secretary, has represented Holbrook ward for 16 years and remains convinced being Independent is vital at district level.

“I feel that the most benefit comes to be able to consider and vote on items without the pressure of party politics,” said Cllr Rose who is retiring and will not be standing at the next election. “To be able to consider the effects of the people you represent are vitally important and as an Independent you have that freedom to act accordingly.

Cllr Arthey, Independent Group leader, has been a district councillor for 28 years, key member of the Suffolk Waste Partnership, since its inception in 1999. He spent 10 years chairing Babergh’s Development (planning committee) and is a respected member of Babergh’s leaders' group.

Clive’s contribution to his ward was underlined when he was nominated by his constituents and subsequently shortlisted for the national councillor awards. A rare event as, even though it is open to anyone to make nominations, often it is only political administrations that make those nominations.

It is understood more than one current Conservative, and perhaps some from other mainstream groups, will stand as Independents so they can represent their villagers in the best possible way, without the shackles of party political pressures.