With county council elections on May 2, a wave of Independent candidates are expected to stand.
With nominations due to close today, the Bury Free Press has profiled a number of those who have already declared their intention to fight for a seat. An official list of candidates is due to be made public next week.
If elected as a county councillor, Paul Hopfensperger will ‘work for all the people of the Hardwick division’ concentrating on issues including an improved bus service and educational attainment in schools.
Based on the results of a survey he conducted, the 50-year-old says he will also focus on the ‘many parking issues’ especially those involving West Suffolk Hospital which affect the Hardwick Lane and Barons Road areas as well as road resurfacing in Hervey and Bristol Road.
Another issue is litter - generally and on the A14 – and speeding problems throughout the division.
A St Edmundsbury borough councillor for the St Olaves ward, Mr Hopfensperger runs a personal wellness business and is chairman of the Risbygate Street Traders Association.
David Nettleton says ‘stamina is a key requirement of a successful councillor’.
He explains: “The checks and balances of local government mean that nothing worthwhile is achieved in a hurry. Months, sometimes years, of painstaking work is needed before the electorate gets what it wants. The agent of this delivery is the democratically-elected representative chosen by the people. Those who vote along party lines simply miss this point – the best candidate isn’t always the one who agrees with you politically.”
Mr Nettlon, who has represented the Risbygate ward as a St Edmundsbury borough Independent councillor for 10 years, has tried five times to win a county council seat over the last 16 years. He is standing in Tower Divison.
Independent candidate Tony Gearing is appealing for volunteers to help him find out people’s concerns.
The father-of-four has distributed surveys to half of the 5,000 homes in the Clare division.
Mr Gearing, founder of young people’s charity Young People of the Year (YOPEY), is particularly keen on having young people work on his campaign. He says: “Traditional politicians have driven young people away. I want to bring them back. ”
The 53-year-old, who lives by the A143, in Stradishall, has been campaigning for a year to reduce speed limits on the A143.
Contact him on 01440 820860 or email email@example.com
Trevor Beckwith is seeking re-election as an Independent for the Eastgate and Moreton Hall division because ‘the people of Bury deserve someone who puts them first’.
Cllr Beckwith, who has represented the area at county level for eight years from 2001-2005 and 2009-2013, says his work with the community has ‘achieved a lot but there is still much to do’.
He cites St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Vision 2031 framework which ‘against the wishes of most’ will introduce 6,000 more houses and 15,000 residents to the town.
He says: “I do not believe the county council has any viable highway mitigation measures to prevent the existing shambles getting worse and I will speak up for the town when proposals are known.”