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Thank you for electing me to be your Wiltshire Councillor for Winsley & Westwood! I look forward to representing you over the course of the next four years. Winsley & Westwood Division is made up of the parishes of Winsley, Westwood, Avoncliff, Limpley Stoke and Wingfield...
I live in Winsley with my young family and run my own business. I joined Winsley Parish Council over two years ago and it soon became apparent to me that our village communities lacked an effective voice on Wiltshire Council, able to influence the Council’s Conservative Administration. Our current Wiltshire Council representative doesn’t live in the Division and seems focused on issues in his home town rather than those issues affecting our village communities. For this reason, I decided to stand to offer an alternative; to be a candidate with a real stake in making our village communities, and the glorious countryside in between, even better places to live and work.
My work in the community
Since joining Winsley Parish Council more than two years ago, I have been very active on issues in the Parish. I have taken a leading role on a steering group working with Wiltshire Council on a package of proposals to address the very serious safety concerns on the B3108. I also led a Parish Council initiative to install additional dog bins in the village.
Since deciding to put myself forward for election to Wiltshire Council, I have been attending Parish Council meetings in the other parishes in the Division to develop a greater understanding for the issues unique to each village, and those that are common to us all.
My priorities for our area include championing and protecting our vital village facilities such as schools, shops and pubs; to get action on concerns over road safety; to protect our conservation areas and beautiful countryside; to fight for better infrastructure for rural businesses; to protect our transport links; making sure busy families have access to Council information and services; ensuring vulnerable and elderly people have the support they need.
Our current County Councillor, Magnus McDonald, has a very poor record in office. He lives outside the Division he was elected to represent and is out of touch with the issues in our villages. For example, he failed to notify Westwood Parish Council of a consultation on County Car Parks, which almost lead to the closure of Avoncliff carpark. For 4 years he was oblivious to concerns in Winsley about the dangers of the B3108, talking about it for the very first time when the election was on the horizon. In a very serious error, he failed to declare an interest in a Planning Committee meeting which resulted in a High Court hearing costing council taxpayers in Wiltshire more than £50,000 in legal fees (the equivalent of the annual council tax of 42 Band D households).
How to stay up to date
I maintain a very active Facebook page, keeping residents informed about all the latest work I've been doing. Please take a look! Search for @JohnnyKidney4WandW or CLICK HERE.
Johnny's Latest News & Projects
Westwood Parish Council
I attended Westwood Parish Council's monthly meeting this evening. It was disappointing to hear that the steering group, exploring a community takeover of the village stores, have been finding progress frustrating. I will continue to support them gas they try to secure the future of this essential village asset.
In the County Councillor's Report agenda item, our current Lib Dem County Councillor, Magnus McDonald, told the Parish Council that residents from Avoncliff (in Westwood Parish) attended Wiltshire Council's Community Area Transport Group (CATG) meeting last week regarding concerns over the condition of the road from Avoncliff to Westwood. Having been at CATG myself, it was striking that he neglected to mention how angry the Avoncliff residents were that he had failed to put their item on the agenda for CATG, having neglected to do so for the previous CATG meeting as well. This despite Westwood Parish Council having asked for the Avoncliff concern to be on the CATG agenda as long ago as their September 2016 meeting! This is a serious oversight, given how Magnus (who chairs CATG) misled Winsley Parish Council regarding CATG and metrocounters for the B3108 as mentioned in my post from the 1st of March, below. Our villages and parishes deserve much better representation than this!
Great British Spring Clean
I spent a productive morning picking up litter on Winsley Hil with colleagues from the Parish Council this morning. We filled five sacks between Avonpark and the canal! Fully deserve an ale at the rugby this afternoon, I reckon!
Winsley Parish Council's Highway Proposals
Winsley Parish Council has published a statement on the package of highways proposals they are putting forward, including measures to address the safety concerns on the B3108. I presented these to Wiltshire Council's Community Area Transport Group (CATG) this week on behalf of the Parish Council, and Wiltshire Council's Highways Team will now work up detailed designs and costings for the various elements we have proposed.
A crucial element is to install metrocounters to gauge traffic volume and speed along the B3108 to build an evidence base to make a case for a review of the speed limit. We had hoped to have these installed months ago, but our current County Councillor told us we weren't able to apply for them until we had been to the CATG meeting this week. I discovered at the meeting that this is nonsense, that Magnus had provided us with the wrong information and they could have been installed when we first requested them.
We desperately need much better representation at County Hall than we are currently getting. The elections on 4th May will give us the opportunity, and I hope you will consider supporting me as I seek to give our villages a more effective voice on Wiltshire Council.