City Independents take Springfields and Trent Vale from Labour

In a shock result which rendered the previously vociferous Labour Twitterati silent last night, City Independent candidate Jackie Barnes won the Springfields and Trent Vale by-election.

The seat formerly held by Sarah Hill until her resignation from the cabinet & the city council was thought to be a safe Labour seat. Continue reading

Eye Spy OmniCorp

Well we are in to the final week of campaigning for the much sought after seat of Springfields and Trent Vale, all the main parties have been up here pounding the streets over the past few days. Everything but the kitchen sink & PCC Candidate Joy Garner has been thrown at S&TV by Labour, even Council Leader ‘part time’ Pervez has been leafletting. Continue reading

Eye Spy Springfields and Trent Vale

Ever keen to promote democracy, Eye Spy feels it is his duty to bring residents’ attention to the candidates for the upcoming Springfields and Trent Vale byelection, seeing as the Council PR Department haven’t.

Anyone searching for the Statement of Persons Nominated at the end of last week could be forgiven for not finding it, tucked well away from the homepage (alongside the Masterplan for Stoke town centre no doubt…). Continue reading

Conservatives Select Harold Gregory For Springfields & Trent Vale Byelection

Stoke-on-Trent Conservatives have today confirmed that their candidate in the forthcoming Springfields and Trent Vale byelection will be local father of 3 and former soldier Harold Gregory.

Harold, who lives in the ward, now works for Network Rail however spent many years in the Army, stationed all around the world. In his spare time, he volunteers as an instructor with local Army cadets, using his skills to help young people. Continue reading

Eye Spy the By-election

So the by-election has finally been called for the vacancy for Office of Councillor for the Springfields and Trent Vale ward, it’s only taken since 27 April. So now the ballot boxes are being broken out and just in the nick of time… frustrated residents in Springfields & Trent Vale are already starting to petition the council over local issues, having begun to feel the effects of no local representation for the last few months.

Despite having more councillors than they know what to do with, Labour have not fallen over themselves to ensure residents have felt looked after, which is perhaps why there are rumblings that this by-election may see upwards of 8 candidates all vying to fix the numerous potholes and clear the litter on the yellow brick road from Trent Vale to Stoke. Hardly a ringing endorsement of previous incumbents…

Continue reading

Springfields and Trent Vale By-election called

Some late breaking news out of the Civic Centre tonight.

It seems the Springfields and Trent Vale By-election has finally been called just under 2 months after Sarah Hill resigned from her seat there. The date for the By-election will be July 26.

More as I get it..

Inside the Civic

Those who thought all out elections would bring some stability to our Council must be feeling embarrassed this week as Council Leader Mohammed Pervez took a scalpel to his cabinet, cutting out the disobedient Gratton and challenger Hill, and carving up the other portfolios in what is quite clearly more than the ‘tweaking’ he described it as.

The introduction of Platt and Dutton is seen as a nod to the left wingers in the group, who re-emerged in 2011 to rival the modernisers who were in danger of taking over Labour. Continue reading

500 Words from Sarah Hill

Some people have said I must be crazy to stand for the council at a time when we are facing four years of financial cuts from the ConDem coalition government.

My only excuse is that I’ve always enjoyed a challenge. There’s a huge and many faceted job to do and I very much want to be part of it.

For a start there’s Stoke Labour Party itself. There was a time when, as they say, they weighed the Labour vote. That time has long gone. The blunt truth is that our party lost the trust of the people it sought to serve through an arrogant failure to listen. The voters’ revenge came, as we know, in the loss of many seats and a period of serious political instability.

Obviously I hope that Labour has a clear majority in May but whatever the political complexion of the new administration there are major challenges to be faced:

* Managing with fewer resources now and over the next few years

* Getting clarity about what sort of council we want to be ““ how big a provider of services do want to be? ““ how do we better involve the voluntary sector? ““ how do we help people engage in the process more?

As a city we lack confidence and we lack pride. Closed shops, derelict buildings, brownfield sites ““ we all know how dispiriting this is. We also know how great it is when you come out of Stoke station and see the new 6th Form College and new university buildings going up.

To attract the investment that creates jobs we must continue to make the city more attractive. Our 3 Labour MPs are working hard for this and a strong Labour council would work with them on this.

As I said at the start I’ve always liked a challenge and looking back over my life in Stoke I can see that I’ve always worked outside my comfort zone. After graduating from Keele I worked as a social worker in the City, dealing with a bewildering array of social and human problems. I saw the distress it could cause and sometimes the sheer heroism which people could show in the most dreadful circumstances. Eventually I became an assistant director of social services, which taught me – from the inside – how local government worked and how relationships between officers and councillors could be meaningful and productive. I was always clear that my role as an officer was to advise and I came to value those councillors who were happy to see me as someone who was there to help rather than hinder their decision making.

When I moved on to be principal lecturer in social work at Staffs University I thought it might be my last job. How wrong I was. Election to the council last May and my subsequent appointment to the cabinet showed me what I really wanted to do. I decided to leave my job so I could concentrate all my efforts on my council role.

These next four years are going to be very hard for us.It’s a huge job and I feel that I’ve got the skills, passion and enthusiasm to help the City move on to much better things.