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I was elected as the Wiltshire Councillor for Chippenham Queens & Sheldon on the 4th May this year. I am hugely grateful to those who put their faith in me and gave me their vote, and I am here to support all people of the division that I represent, regardless of whether they voted for me or not...
Working for Queens & Sheldon
I have spoken to many people recently who have told me that Chippenham desperately needs change. Over the next 4 years, I will work to deliver the change that local people want – whether that be re-development of brownfield sites, securing funding to repair our roads and pavements, or helping to deliver a sensible plan for the development of our town and road infrastructure.
I will be a strong voice for our local area, getting local issues resolved, delivering community projects, and fighting for funding for our area. I am always interested to hear a range of views and opinions from local residents.
If you would like to share your views or raise a local issue with me, or if I can be of assistance in any way, please get in touch.
Some of my key priorities
- Support the most vulnerable in our community.
- Secure funding to repair our roads and pavements.
- Deliver better community, leisure, and entertainment facilities.
- Improve our road and public transport infrastructure to reduce congestion.
- Enhance recycling, reduce waste and tackle litter.
Ashley's Latest News & Projects
Wiltshire Matters (Feb/March 2017)
Help to mend our roads
I walk and drive about our town on a daily basis and there is no doubt that our roads and pavements are badly affected by the use that they are getting. Wiltshire Council has secured more funding to mend our roads, but we need to tell them where we want that money to be spent. Fellow Conservative Campaigners have set up Pothole watch groups via Facebook and I have done the same locally – search for Chippenham Pothole Watch on Facebook. This is a great way of reporting and checking on road repair progress. However, you can also report any issues to Wiltshire Council directly. If you have a smartphone, download the My Wiltshire app and report away. I have already identified and reported several potholes this way, and I am campaigning to get Westminster Gardens resurfaced. Please let me know if there are other roads I can help with.
I recently attended the Chippenham “Our Community Matters” event along with other local residents, local small business owners and other community leaders. The Chippenham Area Board, who alongside Wiltshire Council organised the event, spend thousands of pounds of OUR money every year in Chippenham and this event provided the opportunity for us to have a say on where that money should be spent in the future. As your local Conservative campaigner, I will continue to work with my fellow Conservatives on Wiltshire Council and with the council employees to make sure that the money spent in Chippenham is spent on OUR priorities. I want to ensure that Chippenham gets a fair deal all round and that our locally decided priorities are dealt with quickly. I will provide regular updates at future events on how matters are progressing.
Looking after our young people
I am keen to ensure that the young people of our community get a fair deal and get the best possible start in life. In our schools 93% of Wiltshire children are in Good or Outstanding schools. Apprenticeships increased by almost 20% in 2015/6 compared to the previous year, which is the 2nd largest growth in apprenticeship starts for a Local Education Authority in the Country. Wiltshire Council Conservatives redesigned the Youth Service with help from Area Boards, who have made youth grants of £800k, supported 297 youth projects and benefitted over 15,000 young people in the last year, which is a big increase from the 4,300 young people under the previous structure. I am actively involved in promoting youth issues and was part of the Children & Young Peoples Focus Group at the recent Chippenham “Our Community Matters” event.
I want to see Chippenham grow, but grow sensibly and in a managed way. I support plans to develop the town of Chippenham, but I want to see any development linked to significant improvements to our roads and other community facilities for people of all ages. I also want to see any plans for the development of our station and car park area taken up with the provision of more town centre car parking. I support the Council’s moves to attract more business to our town and thus provide more jobs for local people. I will be pressing for the development of our leisure, library and community services into a central community campus like other towns in Wiltshire. We need a sensible, long term, joined up plan for our town and I will be a strong voice for this in Wiltshire Council.
Wiltshire Matters (Sept 2016)
Several residents have contacted me about the state of roads and footpaths in several areas of our local community. Councils across the country have had money from central government to help with road improvements, but there are a lot of roads in Wiltshire. There would understandably be some disruption to parking for residents when these issues are dealt with, though I'd be personally minded to highlight it would be worth some temporary pain for long term gain. As and when residents contact me to highlight these issues, I will gather information together and contact the Highways department on your behalf if there are areas of particular concern to you. However, you can also use Wiltshire Council’s online website to report these issues too https://pages.wiltshire.gov.uk/report.htm which also helps to save Council Tax payer’s money.
Sports provision in Chippenham
On part of the boundary of the Chippenham Lowden & Rowden electoral area, lies the old Westinghouse sports ground. A growing evidence base is demonstrating the need for this area to help rectify a 'deficit' in sport provision. Wiltshire Council's own Leisure Strategy team has highlighted the potential need for the sports ground to be saved. I am keen to work alongside Michael Sprules who chairs RADAR (Residents Against Development Affecting Recreational land) in an attempt to help ensure that 'Sport Provision Needs' are adequately catered for, whether in this immediate area or another. Many people will have recently seen coverage and news about the Olympics, I believe that sport provision is a vital part of the community. If you would like to learn more about this issue then contact Michael Sprules (firstname.lastname@example.org), the role of a Councillor shouldn't just be banging on about themselves but also highlighting the good and important work in the community that others are doing too.
National Citizen Service
The National Citizen Service is an amazing chance for 15 to 17-year-olds to achieve fantastic things, build character and learn valuable life skills that will stay with them forever. Anyone who wants to learn more should visit http://ncsyes.co.uk. Recently I met up with fellow local campaigners to discuss the impact of the NCS in Chippenham over the summer. NCS takes place in communities across the country, including locally in Chippenham. NCS is delivered by charities, Voluntary Community Social Enterprises and private sector partnerships. Though it is also worth remembering other voluntary organisations such as the Scout Association, Girl Guiding UK and Air/Sea/Army Cadets also exist too. If elected I would continue to promote such schemes, organisations and activities for the benefit they can bring to both people and the community.
Parking in the town
Many residents that I speak to have raised the issue of parking in Chippenham and how they think we could do with more town centre parking or at least a solution to help alleviate the demand in the centre of town.
I am standing to be your Wiltshire Councillor because I want the opportunity to work with our local MP, Michelle Donelan, Jane Scott the Leader of Wiltshire Council and other agencies in order that we can perhaps find a solution that will benefit everyone in the town.
I welcome any suggestions or advice that you may be able or willing to offer and I look forward to hearing from you. My concern is that there are not enough parking spaces in Chippenham and more are needed to enable the town to continue to thrive and attract people to come and see our little corner of Wiltshire. The other issue is that as the town centre becomes increasingly difficult to park in, people may start parking further away from the centre of town which could affect our area of Chippenham in Queens and Sheldon.
Idea for a temporary car park
At last, the Bridge Centre buildings have been demolished and cleared. It was impressive how fast that this happened once the work finally started. The question is ‘What happens next’ to this newly cleared area, though I have been assured that the final decision has not yet been made. Until the final decision about usage is made, I have suggested a temporary car park to assist in increasing the parking capacity in our town centre. Our Member of Parliament, Michelle Donelan, has been lobbying the Treasury and the Department for Communities & Local Government as Wiltshire Council car parks are subject to business rates. The devolution of business rates to local authorities is currently being looked at as part of a business rates review. Helping to solve the car park capacity problem that Chippenham town centre faces, may go some way towards solving the street parking issue that many local residents face. I will be keeping a close eye on this issue but any and all suggestions are very welcome.
Queen’s Crescent Primary School
Along with Wiltshire Council Leader, Baroness Jane Scott and our local Member of Parliament, Michelle Donelan, I went to the public exhibition on the plans for the expansion of the school.
I talked with a number of residents about the expansion plans. Many were supportive but others did express some concerns regarding a potential increase in traffic and parking issues.
It is important that any proposed expansion of the school will balance the wishes of local residents with the need for a good quality education for local children.
I intend to closely monitor this situation and keep a dialogue going with the school, parents and the Council.
Working with our Police and Crime Commissioner
Safety in the community is an important part of our daily lives and I was therefore pleased when Angus Macpherson was re-elected as Wiltshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner earlier this year. In his time in office, Angus has created Multi-Agency safeguarding hubs in Wiltshire and set up Speed-Watch as an effective motoring speed deterrent in the County.
An important part of the role of someone who wants to be your Wiltshire Councillor is engaging with people and agencies as well. I look forward to the opportunity of working alongside our Police and Crime Commissioner. In his time in office, Angus has created the Horizon Programme to assist with victims of crime in Wiltshire and set up Community Speed Watch as an effective motoring speed deterrent in the County.
Let me know if you have any concerns in the area and I will endeavour to look into them on your behalf. Equally, you can also contact your local neighbourhood policing team by emailing email@example.com or calling the non-emergency 101 number if there are issues you want to raise with the Police directly.