Yesterday was my first day (ever) walking the streets as a candidate in the upcoming district election, meeting residents of Feniton to hear their views and concerns about the village.
It was a fascinating exercise. In total, I spent ten hours delivering my campaign leaflet and chatting to those who were happy to be engaged in a brief debate on the doorstep. Two issues came up time and time (and time) again … development and flooding.
I was asked:
• We have Cranbrook on our doorstep, so why are we being targeted by developers?
• Why are we considering mass development when the flooding issues have not yet been addressed?
• Where will all the new residents work?
• Where will they all come from?
• Where will their children go to school, as our schools are at capacity?
Residents of Feniton are a savvy lot.
They know more than most that promises from developers can be ‘empty promises’. Where, I was repeatedly asked, are the tennis courts which used to be where Acland Park now sits? We were promised that these would be reinstated, but they haven’t been. Apparently, there was a thriving tennis club in days gone by where youngsters could knock about, dreaming of greater things to come in south west London.
Other issues were raised, including the Coalition Government’s reforms to the welfare system and the relaxing of the planning regulations. Many of these issues were beyond the remit of district council and I will leave it to the Conservative candidate to explain their national policies … I am not an apologist for Cameron et al.
This week I’m off to Buckerell and Gittisham. I shall be interested to understand what their local concerns are … I suspect they will have much in common with the residents of Feniton.