*Statement by Lee McDougall, candidate for Clay Hill*
In last weeks NWN letters, Darren King raised a valid question about where the candidates of the Clay Hill Town Council by-election live, especially given that this whole event (costing the Town Council thousands of pounds) is because a previously elected Councillor failed to attend any Town Council Zoom meetings for 6 months. Interestingly he does still manage to attend District Council meetings on which he was also elected for Clay Hill. My address will be in the public domain as part of my candidacy and whilst it is around 500m outside of the Clay Hill boundary, I do live in the heart of Newbury Town Council’s domain and this for me is a critical point, to stand on the Town Council, you should at the very least live within the town boundary. We see time and time again the same old names and faces, standing in multiple Council roles, sitting on different Parishes and as duplicate West Berks and Town Council Councillors and we often see people making decisions about areas that they live far away from and are therefore not impacted by. With such a large population in Newbury, surely we don’t have to keep concentrating power into the hands of the such a small number of people by electing them into multiple roles? At the last elections in May 19, around 40% of the Newbury Town Councillors were also West Berks Councillors, this can’t be healthy for local democracy.
There aren’t any Labour Councillors on Newbury Town Council at the moment and that means thousands of people aren’t represented, to really represent our community we need a full range of opinions and perspectives. Just one Labour Councillor in a Town Council of 23 would be a start and I for one am not afraid to challenge things and champion the local community’s needs and I won’t be restricted by having to vote by how either my Party of my District Council tell me.
There is room for new opinions and I hope the residents of Clay Hill support me in my attempt to break the stranglehold of the same old faces, with the same old opinions in our local democracy and I’d love to hear your views at: email@example.com