Simon Kirby is standing as an Independent Candidate for West Berkshire Council in Newbury Wash Common. He is also standing for Newbury (Wash Common) ward for Newbury Town Council.
Simon outlined to us why he is standing for election:
“I’ve lived in Wash Common for getting on thirty years after relocating from Essex with my work as a physicist at the Atomic Weapons Establishment. I marked the position of the town’s allotment sites on an estate agent’s map because I’m an enthusiastic allotmenteer, and actually got my allotment a month before completing on the sale of my home on Stuart Road. My wife and I have always been very happy in Wash Common as it’s a good neighbourhood with lots of places to walk our dogs and go running, and my favourite thing of all is the sound of the rooks and jackdaws in the trees by the water tower.
As an independent I’m not controlled by national-party grandees and I’m free to represent the community as best I see it, supporting good ideas wherever they come from and objecting to poor ideas without fear or favour.
I’ve consistently supported the Sandleford development as I believe that everyone deserves a decent home to live in, and I really feel for young families with housing being as scarce and expensive as it is. Sandleford is going ahead, and for me what’s particularly important now is that we have district councillors who are positive about delivering it, and most particularly the country park that we were promised as part of that development, properly funded and managed for the community.
I mention Sandleford as I know it’s an issue for a lot of people, but I feel strongly that the most important job of a district councillor is to oversee the provision of essential public services. Objecting to development can be a vote-winner, but it’s the public services that are the bread-and-butter of a district councillor’s work. I am very aware of the importance of services such as adult social care and children’s mental health services and how vital these and other services are for those who need them. Good oversight can be hard to find with party-politicised councils and as an independent I’m just going to call it as I see it.
As well as standing for the district council I’m also standing for election to the town council. No one’s leant on me to stand to make up the party numbers, I’m simply standing because I think I’ll do a good job scrutinising services and representing my community.
The Town Council is in poor shape and really needs councillors who are going to stand up and challenge the problems with the administration. I’ve done that reasonably well as a parishioner, over-turning the council’s plans to stop us from feeding the swans on the canal, challenging the council not to harm nesting birds by hedge-cutting in the breeding season, bringing to the council the community’s strong feelings about the tree compound that just appeared in Blossom’s Field, and consistently raising the decade-long problems the town council is having making a start on the Victoria Park Cafe. My call for the council to listen to the wishes of parishioners for a fence around the Victoria Park playground have fallen on deaf ears, though my criticism of the town-mayor’s fox-furred robes had some success when the council removed the dead animal trimming, but I would like the town council to go a lot further and remove the Mayor altogether as so very much public money is spent dressing up councillors in robes and hats that it’s almost the only thing our town councillors pay any attention to, that and their agonising over planning applications, though the town council has no responsibility for town planning and the substantial public money supporting this hobby is quite wasted. I had some success opposing the town council’s horrible plans for a bronze statue venerating the Tudor industrialist who, as town magistrate, had the Newbury Martyrs, Julins Palmer, Thomas Askin, and John Gwin, burned alive, and if you trust me with your vote I will do my best to bring about some changes at the town council, turning it into a modern parish council that listens to its parishioners and focuses its effort on the efficient delivery of modest parish services that serve the community and respect the environment.”