500 Words From Adrian Knapper

I have 500 words but only need one to describe my role as a City Councillor in Stoke-on-Trent for the last 11 years: dedication.

Marriage may have taken me to live outside of the area, but being born and bred within the Potteries I am dedicated to doing my best to make Stoke-on-Trent a better place. This in mind I plan to expand my business to create more jobs in the City.

Since becoming a City Councillor I have helped establish the Staffordshire Credit Union, and, during my time as Portfolio Holder for Public Health, have introduced Street Games, Lifestyle Programmes and expanded the Energise Plus Leisure Scheme. I have also worked with Labour’s Ed Balls during his period of Secretary of State for Education to win extra funding for our Secondary Schools (National Challenge Monies). This has helped enhance the educational achievements of many young people within Stoke-on-Trent.

I am passionate about improving the prospects of the people in Stoke-on-Trent. During my time as previous Portfolio Holder for Regeneration many of the building blocks for projects like the refurbishment of Potteries Way, the new 6th Form College, UniQ, the building of the new Bus Station and other projects that will bring more jobs to the city were established as part of the North Staffordshire Regeneration Partnership Business Plan.

More employment is key to the future success of Stoke-on-Trent. I am proud I have put part of my councillor’s allowance into the North Staffs Risk Capital Fund that has helped secure and create more than 700+ Jobs.

But being a councillor has its share of downsides too. I would have preferred a new Community School in the Bucknall area and I fought hard against the closure of the City Farm. Unfortunately, cuts were forced onto the people of Stoke-on-Trent by this Conservative/Liberal Democrat Government. We were obliged to set a legal budget, but I did my best to ensure vital services were saved.

I am always a strong voice on local issues. I am committed to the people of Stoke-on-Trent and this is why I wish to serve them again on the City Council.

The revised ward boundaries have moved me side wards to the new Abbey Hulton and Townsend Ward and I look forward to representing an area in which I grew up ““ I attended Townsend Primary School and Carmountside High School.

I have a good record of doing my best to responding to people’s problems and representing their interests. If re-elected, I will continue my monthly ward councillor surgeries and carry out regular neighbourhood street level contact with local residents.

I can only give one election promise and that is to continue to do my best giving my time and energy to the people of our Stoke-on-Trent.

500 Words From Peter Hayward

Thanks to the resources provided by Pits n Pots I see that the 500 plus words I put together in support of my 2010 campaign are still there for all to see “¦ and judge this years efforts by no doubt.

I wasn’t successful last year, but as promised I’ve made good use of the spare time to put together ideas for the future, and used these as a base for my campaign this year. One thing is for sure “¦ I haven’t lost faith in the fact that there is an enthusiasm and an ability in Hanford & Trentham to bring about improvements in our community.

I have produced an election leaflet in which, as promised last year I’ve detailed my Mini Manifesto for the next four years. My targets have been researched, and are doable if I get elected.

I’ve now completed posting these leaflets “¦ sharing a few days with Terry Fellows helping with his, so that all residents in Hanford and Trentham are now fully aware that they have 2 Independent candidates, both of whom have a genuine commitment to the future wellbeing of Hanford and Trentham. Two candidates they can trust and vote for with confidence.

Time now to “Ëœgo public’ on Pits n Pots.

Attached “¦ my election leaflet & mini manifesto

500 Words From Liat Norris

As a student at Staffordshire University, an officer at the Students’ Union and someone who has lived in Stoke all my life, I feel a great commitment to students, Shelton and to Stoke as a whole.

Through the two colleges and the university, students make up a large number of the residents in Shelton and use the area daily. It is important that these students have a voice both in the ward and on the council. So if elected, along with working with the local community, I will make sure to work with the various Students’ Unions to ensure that all parts of the community are represented and to make sure that the experiences of students in the area is a positive one.

Government and council cuts must be opposed

Students nationally have shown opposition to the cuts being made both in education and wider public services through the student demonstrations at the end of last year; however there has also been student opposition to cuts locally. Whenever North Staffs Against Cuts has organised a protest against the cuts; I, alongside other officers at Staffordshire University Students’ Union, have rallied students, from both the university and the colleges, to come down to oppose the attacks on public services being spinelessly passed through by the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem cuts coalition.

A quarter of Staffs University students come from North Staffordshire and others live here for only three years but they all care about the attacks being made to the local community, and I want to give them an opportunity to vote for someone who will fight the attacks ““ to provide an alternative to the pro-cuts platform being put forward by the Tory, Labour and Lib Dem candidates also asking for your votes in Shelton.

We need councillors who will fight against the cuts

If elected, as with all other Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts candidates, I will vote against all cuts being passed on by the government, and will propose an alternative needs budget, based on the needs of the people of Stoke-on-Trent, rather than accepting the draconian austerity measures being forced on us by the government.

From threatening the closure of Thomas Boughey Children’s Centre (the Children’s Centres which Labour laughably claim to have saved despite both putting them under threat and cutting their funding by £2.25 million), closing the vital Shelton Pool, to allowing the lifeline that is EMA to be removed from working class youth in the city ““ the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem cuts coalition has passed on disgraceful attacks to our public services. This can’t be allowed to continue, and if elected I will vote against them and fight to defend people in Shelton and across the city from further attacks.

On the 5th May in this ward there is a clear choice ““ to vote for the three pro-cuts parties; or vote against cuts by voting for the Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts.

Party Political Broadcasts For The May 5 Election

We are slowly finding out what the local candidates are saying for the 5 May Local Elections but what is being said by the party leaders?

How does what the party is saying fit in with what the local candidates are saying in their campaigns?

Have a look at the videos below from the Tories, Labour & Lib Dems and tell us what you think.

If you know of any more PPB videos please let us know so we can add.

500 Words From Andy Bentley

As a Trade Unionist & Socialists Against Cuts councillor I can fight more effectively in Meir North and across the city to provide ordinary working class people with a decent future.

People in Meir and elsewhere face the most savage attacks in living memory on our jobs, services, pay and conditions at work, pensions and benefits. The NHS, Royal Mail and other services are lined up for privatisation. A generation of young people face a nightmare future – forced to ‘choose’ between a lifetime of university debt or a low paid temporary job.

But why should we have to pay for economic crisis and massive debt created by big business, top bankers and successive governments. Why should we pay when bankers still pay themselves massive bonuses and big companies continue to rake in enormous profits.

We say make the rich pay instead. The richest one thousand people have a staggering £350 billion! We demand collection of the £120 billion Corporation Tax which is unpaid every year by big companies.

We say NO to the savage cuts supported by the Tories, Lib Dems, Labour Party and implemented by councils across Britain. We do not accept the lame argument of Stoke-on-Trent councillors that, “There is nothing we can do to stop government cuts”.

If elected I, as a Socialist Party member, and other TUSC councillors, will oppose all cuts. We have already heard the argument locally, “if we keep this swimming pool open we must close that children’s centre”. That’s why it’s important we oppose ALL cuts to prevent government and local councils dividing opposition by trying to play off one campaigning group against another.

If elected we will oppose the cosy Labour, Tory, Lib-Dem and Independents Cuts Coalition which has run Stoke-on-Trent for years. Instead of sitting in rooms with these Cuts Councillors planning which jobs we can scrap and which services we can cut, close or privatise we will actively help to build the massive opposition to government cuts which is necessary.

We will propose a no cuts budget based on the NEEDS of Stoke-on-Trent people not what government ministers and local councillors think they can get away with. Liverpool city council did this in the 1980’s and won £60 million back from Margaret Thatcher’s government.

These local elections are more important than any in living memory. Firstly because we have to end this cycle of cuts, cuts and more cuts. Secondly because all those elected will be councillors for FOUR years. Stoke-on-Trent can’t afford FOUR MORE YEARS OF CUTS.

In February all Labour, Tory, Lib Dem and some independent Stoke-on-Trent councillors voted for savage budget cuts of £36 million. Other councillors who didn’t including BNP and Community Voice, proposed no alternative which effectively means they supported the cuts anyway.

On 5 May make sure you make the right choice. You can vote either for candidates who will carry out cuts or you can vote for Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition candidates who will fight AGAINST all cuts.

500 Words from Jeremy Dillon

Since coming onto the Council, my eyes have been opened to the many challenges facing the city, and I am committed to seeing them through. Stoke-on-Trent needs bold, creative thinkers, and I want to build a City that its citizens can be proud of; where people want to live. Oh, and just to show I’m not bluffing, I moved into a house overlooking Stoke Town (or Stoke-upon-Trent, if you prefer) to be a part of the action.

Marketing this city is at the heart of everything I stand for, and I have been sowing seeds for a City-Wide Business, Creative Arts and Local Government Network that would stimulate growth and help create new jobs. Having Chaired the Mitchell Memorial Youth Arts Centre Committee, I have seen first-hand a project that will act as an exemplar for future generations, and inspire future projects across the City. Spode is at the very heart of regeneration for the area, and I have been part of the consultation for its future development, as well as speaking against the idea of a supermarket on this historical site.

Penkhull is a place I’ve known for a long time. I am involved in local youth work, where every week, we give kids the opportunity to gain positive input, as well as providing table tennis/pool facilities. Some of them attend Thistley Hough, which has had a lot of bad press over the years. When I visited last year to meet students, I was impressed by the Headmaster’s initiative to give £1000 of his budget to them to decide what to with! Such empowerment and trust is to be commended, and as a media and arts college, I want to work with them further. I have also started to work with elderly residents in the area, and am trying to understand their concerns better by engaging in conversation with them.

Travelling to Europe (on my own money), I have been looking at ways to use public space better to generate revenue, as well as a better, more affordable, transport system for the City. I believe that Stoke-on-Trent would benefit from a transport infrastructure which includes a bus service that people can afford and that helps deliver other services, both in terms of tourism and local business. The Oyster Card system in London is one such system I have been looking at.

I want Stoke not only to be a working city, but an attractive city, which can find its way boldly into the 21st Century. For too long, it has grieved the loss of traditional industries, and it’s time to look to alternative methods of revenue. This decision will take courage and perserverance, but I believe WE can make it happen. Setting competitive business rates for the area is a massive priority.

At 30, I am in a great position to inject renewed energy and vision into a City that is in need of change.

500 Words From Randy Conteh

“When the Boundary Commission first contacted the City Council, regarding the proposed new wards, i was heavily involved in the consultation with many residents and our Community groups/Resident Associations.

I submitted petition letters and suggestions through the Council system and was instrumental in Thistley Hough School and an area known as Penkhull Garden Village being included and also the new name being changed to “Penkhull & Stoke.”

I would like to continue the good work i have been doing locally, for the areas of both Penkhull and Stoke and also the comprehensive committee/partnership work i have been involved in, down at the city council and around the ward.

I believe i now have the experience and quality after 9 years-indeed i have had extensive training-Improvement & Development Agency courses (I & DeA) and Community Leadership sessions-but one thing that does not diminish is the passion i have for my local area and our City!

Many of the Issues in our ward have been resolved personally by myself, over a number of years ““ e.g. the new improvements, paths, bins, seating and play-equipment for older children and youngsters in our 2 Penkhull parks-Richmond Street and Lodge Road.

There are still issues of Anti-social-behaviour, but hopefully the CCTV Cameras, within both parks and Penkhull village, (petitioned for by myself) will help to deter and reduce the ASB.

The new City General hospital development has brought issues of parking, by both visitors and workers; but we have endeavoured to solve a lot of those parking issues, with the successful installation of Resident Parking schemes, in the nearby streets- although more needs to be done around both parking and speeding issues.

The new Thistley Hough School will also bring additional issues to our area -If successful in the election, i will continue to work with the Council and the residents, negotiating compromises, regarding the planning conditions to improve pedestrian, road safety and access issues, in the streets and roads near the new proposed school.

The regeneration of Stoke Town is also a big issue and i am currently an active member of the “Stoke Town (shadow) Regeneration Board” looking at both the continued development of the Spode site and the improvements within stoke town and the surrounding areas.

Successes include the saving of the Merit School, in Penkhull through petitioning and submissions to Scrutiny and additional petitioning and representations to retain the no. 58/58a Bus service (ongoing.)

The ward of Penkhull & Stoke has 680 over-70’s from 3,570 households in 106 streets and i know many of our elders need and deserve these bus services and i will continue to provide additional representation and support.

I genuinely believe i am the ‘Right person for the job’, due to my passion, enthusiasm, dedication and commitment. I don’t have a full-time job, indeed i honestly think that being an effective community and City Councillor is a full-time role in itself!!”

Many thanks,

Randy Conteh

500 Words From Mike Barnes

This year’s local elections are more important than ever for the City, as well as for Dresden and Florence. My priority is to protect and continue the great improvements in Dresden and Florence that have been achieved over the last few years by the hard working community groups, Dresden Residents Association, Florence Residents Association and the Queens Park Partnership working alongside myself.

I am extremely pleased that Lilian Dodd, from Dresden Res Assoc and Queens Park Partnership has proposed my nomination in the election along with many others including Sue Walley, chair of Queens Park Partnership and Steve Mallam who plans and organises many of the events in Longton Park.

There have been many successes, top of the list is the transformation of Longton Park, which only a couple of years ago was in a terrible state, but working together it is once again becoming the Park I certainly remember as a boy growing up in the area.

Whilst I do take a prominent and active role in the council itself, my ward and community work has always been my first priority. Working with the local volunteers we have a new community hall opening shortly as well as a new community garden designed by pupils from a local high school. Notice boards have been erected to keep residents informed, new fencing in many areas to deal with anti social behaviour. We authorised £8,000 for extra policing in our area as well as £36,000 for 4 part time youth workers. The Park has had new fishing pegs, a fountain, a new playground, bridge repaired, a new adult gym, path improvements, bandstand has been painted and a bid has gone in for a cafe. Through ward funding I’ve paid for Florence Bowling Club to have a new lawn mower, the scout hall has had a new heating system and the local luncheon club for the elderly has had a new potato peeler. Three local volunteer youth clubs have been given £12,000 between them for equipment. There is lots, lots more I could list.

As your councillor I don’t claim to have made a difference to Dresden and Florence on my own. We are extremely lucky to have 3 hard working community groups without whom none of the improvements would have been possible, and its a privilege to see people who care, get up and do stuff, instead of just moaning about it. We’ve done it together and I want the chance to carry on being a part of that and hope that you will vote for me on May 5th.

I have lived all of my life in and around Dresden and Florence and would love to continue to help maintain what I think is a great place to live.

On a City level my priority will be to continue to passionately fight to protect the services that mean the most to people, particularly those that affect the most vulnerable ““ the elderly, disabled and children, which seem to be easy targets for the cuts and constantly under threat.

My no nonsense, “say it how it is” work in the council has seen plans for posh offices for officers and senior councillors costing £800,000 scrapped; the number of consultants slashed as well as countless wrongdoing and mismanagement exposed. Hopefully this means we can start to move forward in a positive way. It doesn’t always win me too many friends at the council but I never give up on an issue and this has paid dividends time and again in helping local residents with issues and changing the council’s mind on important matters that affect every one of us.

I am also very proud to have led the campaign that got rid of the Elected Mayor system, the only successful campaign of its kind in the country.

My aim is to continue to represent you, Dresden and Florence as well as the City with the same passion and commitment I have shown since last being elected in 2007.

Please consider voting for me, Mike Barnes, on May 5th. I won’t let you down.

Take the party out of politics.

Deadline For Postal Votes

If you wish to register for a postal vote for the May 5 Elections or you wish to change from postal voting to in person voting, you need to have completed a postal vote.

We have attached a PDF copy of the form you need to complete to register for or change from a postal vote.

We would recommend at this late stage, that you take the completed from to the Civic Centre personally to ensure that it is received and will be dealt with in time for the election.

Anyone registered to vote can apply to vote by post, great if you will be at work on election day, on holiday or just can’t make it to the polling station.

The deadline for applying for a postal vote is at 5pm on Thursday 14th April. If you want to cancel your postal vote the same deadline applies.

Image Credit

500 words by Warren Lloyd

A lot of you hear know me now, know who I am, and what I stand for. I am in true Stokie, born and bred. I grew up here and lived here all my life. I love this city and would not even think of calling anywhere other than Stoke on Trent home. In a nutshell, I love this old place and wish to do my part in helping this city to prosper.

I’ve held an interest in local politics for a lot longer than my time here. I think it’s been there since my college days in the early 80’s. In this time I have never seen this city prosper and we are at a point now, for whatever reason, that it needs to change and a wider body of people need to get involved in the running of the city. The reason should not be motivated by hatred or spite, it should be for the good of this city and wanting to work with a range of people of all thinking’s to push this city forward.

We need to present the views of normal people and act upon them, that is what’s important here, not a party whip or line, real people who have little interest in the goings on in politics getting what they need to enjoy a life that they want and they wish to lead. We by no means expect to give them everything they want or need, but we can take these views and try to do something with them.

What do we as a city need to push forward; I’ll tell you what I think. We need ideas. We need investment by whatever means in jobs and skills training. We need better homes, council or otherwise, homes that people can have pride in. We need to feel safe on the streets we live on. We need to offer kids and adults something to do. We need to offer and protect public service the council provide. Most of all we need to hear what the people who use the council are saying, and that’s everyone.

I’m running for council on May 5th in Meir South as an Independent. I feel I have something to offer the area and the city. I’m willing to step up and face the problems this city has. To me, this city is first, I’ll do all I can to help it.

Savings had to be made, we understand that, the last round of cuts are set in stone now and there is not one thing anyone can do about it. There are cuts that I think should have been made, and they were made, others I did not agree with, some I would have made were overlooked. It’s no good blaming one party or council member, it needed to be done and they did it, rightly or wrongly, it’s a question of needs and wants, needs are important, wants take time.

If I’m elected on the 5th May, my main aim will be to put the point of view of people to the council. I feel this needs to be my first aim, my second will be to represent the city I love and do my part in driving it forward.