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 the Liberal Democrat candidates for Stirchley ward, Philip Banting
Three years ago I took early retirement after a working life in engineering. Plans to restore Stirchley Baths as a community hub were by then well advanced and I joined the volunteer programme even before I had set foot in the building. I have loved being a part of it and am also active in several other local community groups, all completely non-political. That sense of community has been enhanced by new businesses that have come to the area, joining successful ones that have been here for many years. There’s a lot of energy and creativity making a positive difference to Stirchley right now.
At the same time, the area has suffered from the unwanted effects of would-be developers, as the demolition site at the end of my road reminds me daily. We face uncertainty about the future usage of currently vacant land, and the ever-present problem of empty commercial properties, especially along the Pershore Road corridor.
Add to that the problems that afflict residential areas and the city as a whole – especially the dreadful state of the street cleaning services – and it’s clear that the newly elected council, and the councillor for Stirchley, will have a full agenda.<
As a resident here for 28 years, and a member of the Liberal Democrats for even longer than that, I’m pleased that the party’s proposals for Birmingham are so relevant to the needs of the area. One of our top priorities is to clean up the city: to reverse Labour’s cuts to the refuse collection service and to clamp down hard on flytipping. Our plans to give local communities real control over spending will allow each area to set its own priorities and to build the kind of partnerships that will be essential to the regeneration of Stirchley.
Another key concern of local residents – the constant spread of HMO’s (houses of multiple occupation) – will be addressed by extending selective licensing of landlords, eventually to the whole of Birmingham. I’m especially concerned to ensure that planning regulations are strictly enforced and that we don’t lose any more valued local amenities.
I am one of 101 Liberal Democrat candidates standing right across the city campaigning for change. The more of us are elected, the more we can achieve! You can find out more about our plans at: https://birminghamlibdems.org.uk/en/article/2018/1261864/birmingham-liberal-democrat-manifesto-2018-a-cleaner-greener-and-safer-city-the-change-that-birmingham-needs-to-make-it-a-city-fit-for-the-world-to-visit