On Thursday 14th September there will be a by-election for a vacant seat on the North Petherton Town Council and already Labour supporters have been out there in force putting out leaflets and knocking on doors. In a 3 way contest Labour-Tory-Independent, the local Labour candidate is resident Chelsea Chadwick, already a District Councillor and also the Labour Party’s Womens’s Officer.
Bridgwater and West Somerset Labour members have been out every day canvassing for her. New member Julie Cordiner gives us her impressions.
“On Friday evening I joined the canvassing team at Stockmoor with my two daughters to garner support for Chelsea Chadwick in the upcoming local council by election. It was an uplifting evening, and a joy to meet members of the public who are supportive of the Labour Party. There were quite a few promises of support from the public who were generally pleased to have a candidate who lived in the community that they would be serving. One of my favourite quotes of the evening came when a canvasser asked if the householder would be supporting Labour, the Lady replied “You don’t have to twist my arm to vote for you” What a joy to hear wholehearted support for the Labour Party!”
Julie added “It was great to get out into the community and be a part of the drive to bring a fairer and more compassionate society to our community and as a bonus my youngest daughter had a great time socialising with all the dogs and cats that we encountered throughout the evening. I would recommend joining the canvassing team to all members, but one word of warning, make sure you wear comfortable shoes!”
Labour’s candidate in North Petherton, Chelsea Chadwick says “it’s a straight Labour-Tory fight in North Petherton – so for jobs, safer communities, and an economy that works for all, vote Labour on September the 14th.”
Bridgwater Branch secretary Gary Tucker said “ We’ve been working hard as an active branch to identify Labour voters and persuade undecided voters. We had a chance to try out persuasion training for real on the doorsteps. The mass canvass at Wilstock was particularly successful and one Street in particular had people who had voted Tory in the general election and were now voting Labour reflecting the current polls. Rather worrying was a big tranch of non-voters who were obviously hit the hardest by this cruel government and if they were to actually vote, it will help to destabilise this weak government by voting in yet another Labour councillor.What’s been really heartening is the new members getting active. Newer members keep hearing about what we are doing and keep turning up.”
All Hands on Deck
In the new estates of Stockmoor and Wilstock, which are virtualy part of Bridgwater, residents are especially concerned about the upkeep of the estates since the developer pulled out. In particular, the green spaces and unfinished roads. Another concern often found on doorsteps is the need to address the lack of fast broadband.
North Petherton Labour Councillor Julian Taylor adds “The developers, in particular Persimon, have sold the development as a village in North Petherton with none of the normal community facilities. The roads and other services will not be fully adopted until the development is finished in about 5years time when the County Council and the District takes responsibility. Cables,fiber optic, should have been put ready for connection to the network, The developers do not feel unduly worried about this once the houses have been sold. All this being said many residents feel very happy with their homes, houses are easily re-sold. There is concern over the number of bought to let homes. There have been attempts to run a residents association, funded by NPTC, but this has failed, The TC also gave £5000 to a Timebank organisation in May 2016. There is no evidence of Timeback activity so far.”
Lynda Hyde, also a Labour town councillor, supports this view and says “Labour Councillors listen, advocate and campaign on behalf of all North Petherton residents about planning decisions and where services have been cut or are at risk . We work hard and proactively to ensure problems and shortcomings with the local infrastructure , particularly the congested road ne
twork, are addressed and challenged with the relevant authorities. Vulnerable members of the community are championed and local initiatives set up, such as the current plans to set up support systems for isolated and lonely older people following on from a successful Jo Cox memorial event. NPTC currently contributes funds to the running of both the library and the youth club and Labour members are very active in improving facilities at the town’s playing fields, aiming to involve and empower young people in decision-making about this.”
So on Thursday 14th September Labour could chalk up another victory. The Tory hold on North Petherton has been wavering and their candidate this time round has even put on his leaflet that the Conservative team for North Petherton is just ‘himself and MP Ian Liddell-Grainger’. Best of luck there then…..And despite Lib Dem gains in recent County and District elections, it seems that the yellow parties descent continues and they’re not even standing a candidate this time round….