As part of our 2018 Local Election coverage, we have contacted each candidate standing in 16 wards across South West Birmingham, asking them to contribute to this election’s ’500 Words’ series.
Each candidate has been invited to describe themselves and their campaigns in their own words. Their submissions will be published – without editing – in the order that they are received. Should they be longer than 500 words, they will be cropped.
With the formation of new wards across the city, this is an all-out election, with every seat up for grabs. Some wards have one seat and some have two. Learn more about the ward changes and your candidates.
Our latest submission comes from one of two Conservative candidates for Edgbaston ward, where two seats are being decided: Deirdre Alden
Deirdre has helped many residents over the years and been involved in many campaigns – from opposing inappropriate planning applications, getting axed bus stops reinstated, going out on Streetwatch patrols with residents, to fighting for parking restrictions and CCTV cameras, and dealing day in and day out with residents’ problems such as missed bin collections, pot holes, and housing issues.
Deirdre works closely with Cllr Matt Bennett who is also standing in Edgbaston for the Conservatives. Together they have pledged to continue the work to protect Edgbaston’s heritage and Conservation areas. Under Labour, enforcement is insufficient and some Conservation areas in the city have been abolished because so many breaches of regulations rendered them meaningless. They will not let that happen in Edgbaston.
Deirdre and Matt will continue to press for more street cleaning at weekends as cleaning vehicles cannot access many Edgbaston streets in the week because of parked cars from the two Universities, QE Hospital and offices.
Air quality is a big issue in Birmingham and Conservatives have many policies to deal with it rather than introducing a crippling congestion charge. If Conservatives take control of Birmingham they will introduce green living walls in canyon style locations such as the Aston Expressway and by the Mail Box, introduce new technology such as “city trees” which have the cleaning impact of 275 trees but are the size of two benches, and increase the tree canopy in the city from the current 18% to 30% in line with other global cities.
Labour have introduced a policy of building on eight acres of parkland a year. Deirdre believes Birmingham’s parks are a valuable green lung which improve the health and quality of life for residents, and should not be built on.
Under Labour, the refuse system is a shambles. In Edgbaston, Deirdre finds the same residents have their bins missed week after week. This is often the elderly and vulnerable who have requested assisted collections – and then find their bin is left while the rest of the road is collected. This is unacceptable and adds to the cost of the service when wagons continually have to go back to collect from one or two properties in a road. Conservatives will keep weekly bin collections and will re-introduce free bulky waste and garden waste collections in order to cut fly tipping.
When Conservatives last ran Birmingham they introduced recycling. Under Labour, the city’s recycling figures have collapsed. While other major cities have increased their recycling rates by 3% since 2012 (the year Labour took office in Birmingham), Birmingham’s figure has fallen by 28%, and that’s before the effects of last year’s strike are taken into account. Recycling must be improved so Conservatives will introduce an incentivisation scheme.
Edgbaston is a great place to live and work and Deirdre will fight tirelessly to make sure it stays that way.