City Council elections: Bowthorpe, Crome and Catton Grove candidates say why they deserve your vote
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Norwich goes to the polls next month for the city council elections. DAN GRIMMER focuses on the fights for Bowthorpe, Catton Grove and Crome wards.
When Norwich last went to the polls to pick who should represent them at City Hall two years ago, it was a good night for Labour, taking 44pc of the vote and four seats from the Greens.
Labour will be keen to build on that performance, but the Greens, who lost all their Norwich seats at county council level last year, will want to prove they can still thrive.
However, the wards of Bowthorpe, Catton Grove and Crome are unlikely to be a barometer for the battle between the two biggest groups at City Hall.
Labour currently hold all three seats through Sue Sands (Bowthorpe), Mike Stonard (Catton Grove) and Marion Maxwell (Crome), all of whom are seeking re-election.
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These have not traditionally been happy hunting grounds for the Greens. Former Breckland councillor Tony Park is standing again in Catton Grove , but could only muster 175 votes last time around. Fellow Greens Jean Bishop and Judith Ford have also both stood for Bowthorpe and Crome before without success.
But it was not that long ago that both Bowthorpe and Catton Grove had Conservative councillors.
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Indeed, Andrew Wiltshire, who once led the Conservative group at City Hall before their 2012 wipeout, is aiming to win back his former Bowthorpe seat.
However, in 2016, the second placed Tories were 831 votes behind the Labour candidate in Bowthorpe and 543 off the pace in Catton Grove, so they have some ground to make up.
With UKIP not fielding any candidates in Norwich at all, it remains to be seen which party would be the beneficiaries of their absence. They were second in Crome in 2016 and third in Bowthorpe and Catton Grove.
The Liberal Democrats were fifth in all three seats last time. Leigh Tooke (Catton Grove) and Sam Neal (Crome) stood in 2016, but, realistically, the Lib Dems will not be optimistic of success in these divisions.
Norwich City Council is currently under the control of Labour. They have 26 seats, the Green Party 10 and the Liberal Democrats three.
Polling day is Thursday, May 3 with 13 of 39 seats – a third of the council – up for election.
The count will take place the following day, with results expected in the afternoon.
Tomorrow: Focus on Eaton, Lakenham and Mancroft wards.
Who is standing in Bowthorpe?
Jean Bishop (G): 'Having had a career in horticulture and having run a small garden design and construction business with my husband for almost four decades, I am well aware that the environment needs to be protected and nurtured and not exploited for short-term gain.
'I believe the Green Party has the right policies to build communities from the grass roots up: affordable housing in all new developments; making sure vital services are accessible on foot or by public transport in order to reduce car use and clean up our air; access to green spaces so people and wildlife can thrive; and a focus on minimising waste and pollution, especially by reducing the use of plastic packaging.
'A thriving local economy where people feel valued and are paid a real living wage is vital for success.'
Oliver Healey (LD): 'Like many others, my introduction to Norwich has been through attending UEA. Through that I have gained a passion both for the city and for representing others in my role as a Union councillor.
'Bowthorpe is an area with both challenges and real opportunities. While developments continue to take shape in Three Score, there must be a better job done of building a collective sense of community among new people to the area, students and long-term residents.
'News of the re-development of Bowthorpe police station should also further focus minds on the need for a more holistic approach to anti-social behaviour and crime in the area.'
Sue Sands (L): 'I have lived in Three Score, within Bowthorpe Ward, for many years. I work as a primary school teacher and have raised my family in the community.
'Living in the heart of Bowthorpe I talk to local people, campaign for positive improvements and practical changes all year round.
'For many these are truly tough times as working people see the services they value and pay for eroded by ever more severe and serious Tory cuts.
'All around us we see the impact – our local police station closing, cuts to our community safety, our SureStart Centres at risk of closure and schools and libraries having their budgets slashed.
'Now more than ever we need a strong local Labour team which will champion our communities in Bowthorpe Ward – Larkman, Three Score, West Earlham, Clover Hill and Chapel Break and work hard all year round – for the many not the few!'
Andrew Wiltshire (C): 'I'm standing in Bowthorpe because it's a part of the city where I have a real affinity: it was where I lived in my first house after moving out; where I met my wife and where we started our family.
'It is a part of the city with fantastic open spaces, great parks and play areas, community facilities and so much more. But it's also a part of the city having problems with antisocial behaviour, housing and the city council.
'If elected on May 3, I will be a champion for all of Bowthorpe - I will fight antisocial behaviour, help with housing and be a strong voice at City Hall against waste and inefficiency.'
Who is standing in Catton Grove?
Henry Newton (C): 'Good local councillors can make a real difference to people's lives. I hope to be a real champion for Catton Grove – hardworking and dedicated – I look forward to working with residents to get results from City Hall and make a real difference in our community. 'I have a long history of being active in the local area and I hope to be chosen by the people of Catton Grove, to represent their views when it comes to improving our community.'
Tony Park (G): 'I have lived in Norwich since 2009 and was previously a Green Party councillor in Dereham, having been elected to Dereham Town Council three times and to Breckland District Council for one four year term.
'I ran a wholefood shop in Dereham for 17 years until 2002 and was chairman of Dereham Chamber of Trade for two years. I co-wrote the proposal that brought the local 'Nipper' bus service to Dereham. I now run an organic veg-box scheme based here in Norwich.
'I am standing for the Green Party because I am impressed by their caring, responsive approach to local issues, and I am interested in supporting local businesses and shops to help make our local community more vibrant. I try to live a 'green' lifestyle, and I believe that the old saying 'think global, act local' is still relevant today.'
Mike Stonard (L): 'I am a councillor who works all year round and listens to residents across Catton Grove. I know that many people are facing tough times right now.
'Vital local services – police, schools, NHS and councils – are being cut to the bone by the Tory government. One million people are fed by foodbanks, while the Tory Bedroom Tax pushes people from their homes.
'Last year, the Tories tried to increase National Insurance on self-employed workers while cutting Working Tax Credits. In Norfolk, they have made vast cuts to our police service – even though crime is rocketing again.
'I am passionate about fairness and justice for all. I detest the way the Tories are decimating our public services while giving tax handouts to the rich. That is deeply unfair and deeply unjust. I have spent a lifetime working in the NHS and now am a local councillor.'
Leigh Tooke (LD): 'As a long-time resident of Catton Grove I would be proud to represent my neighbours. There is a strong sense already of local activism and awareness of the issues facing the area. This is evidenced very recently by the actions of local parents protesting against Conservative cuts to children's centres.
'I would stand beside such initiatives and pro-actively listen to residents, fighting for the resources that are needed.
'The Norwich Lib Dems are particularly keen to seek opportunities to provide jobs through our investment in Norwich, such as our desire to see the Colman's site redeveloped as soon as possible.'
Who is standing in Crome?
Judith Ford (G): 'I was born, bred and educated in Norwich, and came back to the city in 2006 after working as a doctor in New Zealand, Cambridge and Los Angeles.
'I currently teach in the School of Health Sciences at UEA, focusing on palliative care and mathematics.
'I joined the Green Party when I returned to Norwich, being impressed by the way the party cares about people, the environment and the world we will leave to future generations.
'I know Norwich well and love it deeply, and I believe it is vital that our local government's planning and policy decisions improve the city we live in for the future as well as for the present.
'My major interests and experience are in health and education, but I am also keen to protect the environment and support local enterprise in ways that improve quality of life and wellbeing for all residents.'
Tom Sherman (C): 'I came to Norwich to study and I quickly became a firm fan of this fine city. It has long been my ambition to serve the people of Crome and I hope that on May 3 they will see fit to choose me as their representative at City Hall. I have spent much of my time here campaigning across not only Norwich but also all of Norfolk, meaning I have a firm understanding of the issues facing our area at all levels.'
Marion Maxwell (L): 'It has been a privilege to serve the Crome community as a city councillor (and to have represented our city as Lord Mayor last year). This is a community that I care deeply about and that is why I'm standing for re-election.
'Throughout the year I have taken on concerns raised by residents and have worked to resolve these. I have helped get new social housing built and existing homes improved, including ensuring that the Heartsease tower blocks remain safe after the Grenfell Tower tragedy last year.
'I am aware of the devastating impact of Tory austerity policies - as police, schools, NHS, social care, Sure Start Children's Centres and all essential council services – continue to be seriously damaged by cuts imposed by this Tory government. I have led the campaign to save our Plumstead Road Library and pledge to continue to fight for what is best for our community.'
Sam Neal (LD): 'I have lived and worked in Norwich for over 10 years, and am proud to call this fine city home. I moved here following a Masters degree in wildlife conservation from University College London.
'Since then I have worked to protect Norwich and Norfolk's special wildlife and environment by the work I do for Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service.
'I am a very keen cyclist, and have real concerns about the way that the Labour administration implemented the Pedalways project and the continuing lack of overall transport vision from the city council.
'If elected, I will make sure that Crome residents are represented properly at the city council and the real issues tackled without hesitation.'