Election preview: Thornbury and Severn Vale wards
RESIDENTS across the Thornbury area go to the polls this week to elect South Gloucestershire councillors for the next four years.
The elections on Thursday May 2 are the first to be held since a change in ward boundaries, which has seen the total number of councillors cut from 70 to 61, with 17 wards abolished and nine new ones created.
Instead of the previous Thornbury North and Thornbury South and Alveston wards, which each had two councillors, there is now a single Thornbury ward covering the whole town, with three seats up for election.
The area around Alveston has now been merged with the old Severn ward, which had one councillor, to make a new one, called Severn Vale, which also includes Almondsbury and will have two seats.
The old Almondsbury ward has disappeared, with the areas which have not gone in to Severn Vale becoming part of a bigger Pilning and Severn Beach ward.
South Gloucestershire’s ruling Conservatives had a majority of 10 on the old council but the new ward boundaries and cut in overall councillor numbers, added to political upheavals since 2015, make the result of this year’s poll more difficult than usual to predict.
There will also be parish council elections on Thursday: you can read our guide to them here.
Residents on the electoral register should by now have received polling cards with the name of the ward which now covers their address.
If you haven’t had one yet, you can still vote, provided you are on the electoral register: call the council on 01454 863030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to check.
The Voice has asked all the parties contesting the election in the Thornbury and Severn Vale wards to tell readers about their candidates.
Here are the responses we have received:
Simon Begbey, Conservative:
Married with a young family and works as a finance director for a local charity. A governor at the school his children attend, a parish councillor and a long-standing member and treasurer of South Glos Hockey Club. He wants to use his local knowledge of schools and finance on the council.
Steve Chubb, Conservative:
Grew up in Thornbury, attending Gillingstool and the Castle School, before spending his working life at Oldbury Power Station. Married with three children and two grandchildren, and a long standing member of Thornbury Sailing Club. Wants to use his extensive knowledge of the Thornbury area to serve on the Council.
Sue Gillett, Conservative:
Lived in Thornbury for over 40 years. Sue has worked in banking and for a charity as a financial administrator. Now retired, she has won awards for her volunteering at a local charity shop and running a lunch club for the elderly. Her work in scouting was recognised with the prestigious Silver Wolf medal.
Shirley Holloway, Liberal Democrats:
“A South Gloucestershire councillor for 12 years, I have served on the health scrutiny committee throughout, criticising unfulfilled promises for Thornbury and pleading for improved health facilities. I will continue to object to increased development without infrastructure and, as a retired teacher, campaign against the reduction in funding for Education and Youth Clubs.”
Jayne Stansfield, Liberal Democrats:
A Thornbury town councillor, Jayne has lived in Thornbury for 25 years. As a maths education lecturer at Bristol University, having previously taught maths at the Castle School, education and youth services in Thornbury are of particular importance to her.
Maggie Tyrrell, Liberal Democrats:
“I've been a councillor for many years, so know how to get things done for individual residents. I'm campaigning to get Thornbury an upgraded health centre and enjoy working on the Armstrong Hall redevelopment project. Beyond council work, I'm a tennis referee and organiser. And I've got 4 fantastic grandchildren!”
Severn Vale ward
Keith Burchell, Conservative:
Married with two sons and three grandchildren, Keith has lived in Almondsbury for 32 years, having worked as a Rolls-Royce apprentice, a police officer and now for the Football Association, safeguarding children. Vice-chair of the local community engagement forum and treasurer of the Almondsbury Recreation Centre Charity. He has campaigned for safer roads around the area.
Louis Crawley, UKIP Make Brexit Happen
Gillian Foxton, Labour
Marion Reeve, Liberal Democrats:
“I have lived in Alveston for 18 years and have been active in the community, being a member of the twinning association, Alveston WI and the Alveston Forum. I worked as a nurse within the NHS for 30 years and if elected would work for better health facilities and a greater Police presence across the whole ward.”
Matthew Riddle, Conservative:
Having lived in the Severn Vale all his life, Matthew attended St Mary’s and the Castle School. He is married and has two sons, who also attended local schools. Matthew has campaigned on local issues during his 16 years on South Gloucestershire Council. Member of a local church and former school governor.
David Ward, Labour
Tony Williams, Liberal Democrats:
“I moved to Olveston 30 years ago, supporting youth in our community as a Scout and sports leader. A long time committee member and currently treasurer of Olveston United FC. As councillor for Severn Ward in the past I succeeded in getting the footpath between Olveston and Tockington completed so everyone can walk safely between the villages.”
The candidates standing in the Pilning and Severn Beach ward, where one seat is up for grabs, are:
Alexander Akerman, Labour
Gabrielle Davis, Liberal Democrats
Robert Griffin, Conservative
Tom Meadowcroft, Green
Olga Taylor, Independent