New political party launches in West Suffolk

Cllr Simon Cole
Cllr Simon Cole
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A new political party which has launched in West Suffolk is aiming to ‘bring more common sense to local government’.

The West Suffolk Independents (WSI) wants to support independent candidates standing for election to parish, town, district and borough councils in Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury in May’s local elections.

Cllr Simon Cole, who has served as an independent on Forest Heath District Council for about two years, said he was prompted to form the group - which was established on January 1 - after becoming ‘frustrated with party politics and self interest groups’.

He said: “I’m fed up with party politics that seem to hinder the progress of local government. What we need is more common sense and councillors being responsible for their electorate and the people that elect them.

“Housing, development, education, places in schools, childcare, transport, business - these are the things we should be concerned with.”

John Smith, independent candidate for Eriswell and the Rows, said he joined the WSI because he thought it was a ‘marvellous idea’.

He said: “There’s generally a lot of dissatisfaction with politics. There’s not really a great deal of space for politics in local government because on a small scale you can’t get whipped and follow the party line - it’s just not relevant.

“If people have to wear another hat before they even get to the issue, that’s one more thing making them disjointed from the local populace - it shouldn’t be that way. With us, what you see is what you get.”

He added: “I think what’s happening now is we’re undergoing massive change - now’s the time when independents can speak up.”

The WSI currently has six members, all in Forest Heath. It has not yet started recruiting but will soon be reaching out to St Edmundsbury.

“It’s the largest independent party in the area, probably ever,” said Mr Cole, who is encouraging anyone interested in standing as an independent to get in touch.

Call 07974 443762 or email