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Candidates for Maidstone Borough Council elections announced

Voters in the upcoming local council elections will have plenty of choice.

A total of 163 hopefuls are vying for the 49 seats available on Maidstone Borough Council.

Maidstone Town Hall
Maidstone Town Hall

They come from eight different political parties and there are also 10 independents standing.

For the first time in a long while, the entire council will be re-elected in one go - previously elections had been for a third at the time.

This has presented the parties with a challenge in finding so many willing candidates in one go.

Only the Conservatives have managed a full slate with a candidate for every seat.

The Green Party have the second highest number at 35 - that is the most seats that the Greens have ever contested in Maidstone.

The Liberal Democrats have managed 29 candidates, with Labour one behind on 28. The Reform UK party is fielding eight hopefuls.

Paul Harper of the Fant and Oakwood Independents
Paul Harper of the Fant and Oakwood Independents

The existing Fant Ward councillors Paul Harper and Patrick Coates are again standing under the Fant and Oakwood Independents banner, and there is also one candidate from the British Democrats and from the Heritage Party.

Claudine Russell is the new leader of Maidstone Conservatives. She said: “These elections will be tough for lots of reasons, people are having a hard time and we know that confidence in politics and politicians is at an all-time low.

“At a local level, we’re proud of our record. We’ve only been in control of the council for the last three years and in that time we have delivered a balanced budget in challenging times, acquired houses and sites to provide our target of 1,000 houses for local Maidstone people and have had the Local Plan approved at full council.

“Having a Local Plan in place is the only thing that can stop uncontrolled development.

“Looking forward we hope to deliver again for our residents. We place the Leeds Langley bypass at the top of our agenda.

Claudine Russell, speaking for the Conservative Party
Claudine Russell, speaking for the Conservative Party

“Our team is experienced and hard working. We live and work in Maidstone and we will work hard to serve our residents and make Maidstone a great place to live.”

Stuart Jeffery is the leader of the Maidstone Green Party. He said: “With our highest slate of candidates ever, we have an excellent chance of ending up the biggest group on the council.

“We are focussing our efforts on places where we came first or second in recent years, and there are a lot of those.

“Maidstone needs a change. It needs councillors with fresh ideas and an eye to the future.

“We are all tired of the business-as-usual approach in the town.

Stuart Jeffery, leader of Maidstone Greens
Stuart Jeffery, leader of Maidstone Greens

“We are tired of the failure to deliver a plan for affordable and social housing that protects farmland and woodland, and we are tired of the gridlock that curses the town. We need better!”

Clive English is the leader of Lib Dems. He said: “We approach these elections with steely determination and expect to make significant progress in terms of seats gained, especially from the Conservatives, and we aim to be at the heart of any non-Conservative administration in Maidstone.

“The current Conservative leadership has presided over a decline in quality of life in our borough with tidal waves of litter, fly-tipping and major pollution issues going unaddressed, while key infrastructure decisions are delayed, and a controversial Local Plan is imposed without any of the mitigating policies it should have.

“We will put resources into dealing with immediate quality of life issues, including pollution of our rivers and will address the longer-term issues by bringing forward a combination of direct council action and policy changes. In particular we will seek to create a vibrant Town Centre, building on the county town's historic, cultural and leisure assets.

Lib Dem leader Clive English
Lib Dem leader Clive English

“We will bring in new planning policies to protect more of our countryside and seek to create more and better public open spaces and nature reserves. We will bring in tough parking standards to restrict the sub-division of properties in streets where there is no parking, and assist residents who live in the town centre with parking - by providing more concessions in the council’s own car parks.

“Finally, we will at all times remember that we are responsible for public money and will act with appropriate financial prudence.”

Dan Wilkinson, speaking for the Labour Party, said: “We will be concentrating on local issues that really matter to people: litter, fly-tipping and waste bin collection.

”We will work closely with the police to tackle anti-social behaviour and issues like nuisance bikers and street crime.

“On housing we will want to hold rogue landlords to account while recognising that there are many good landlords; the same with housing associations.

Labour's Dan Wilkinson
Labour's Dan Wilkinson

“We will press KCC to provide better youth services and to tackle the dreadful state of the roads

“Finally, a key aim will be to provide more low-carbon, affordable homes.”

Vanessa Jones is one 10 Independents standing.

She said: “I am standing again as an Independent candidate as I am disillusioned with the Conservative-dominated council.

“When I speak up for residents, I want to do so freely with their best interests at heart, not the interests of a political party.

Vanessa Jones is one of 10 Independent candidates
Vanessa Jones is one of 10 Independent candidates

“As an Independent, I’m not funded by a political party so don’t have to ‘toe the part line’.

“I can pick and choose which councillors I wish to work with on particular topics, so that I can be a fairer voice for residents. I hope I have proved to residents across my Ward that I am a hard-working Borough Councillor, that I am easily accessible to all residents who ask for my help and that I always try to resolve issues quickly.”

Paul Thomas for Reform UK said: “We have taken a common sense approach which provides a true alternative. Our policies are set out in ‘Our Contract with You.’

“It demonstrates that Reform has common sense, realistic, sound, inter-related, greatly needed, fully-costed and most importantly deliverable policies, which will register with disaffected voters let down by their chosen parties over the decades, and we are the only true alternative.

“With just eight candidates, we are not going to wrestle control of the council, but where we are standing we offer an alternative.

Paul Thomas, spokesman for Reform UK
Paul Thomas, spokesman for Reform UK

“Just take a two-minute walk around your local area and ask yourself whether your current councillor has addressed the big ticket items and worked with the other councillors to deliver a better Maidstone? Reform UK candidates aim to tackle the issues rather than ignore them.”

Paul Harper of the Fant and Oakwood Independents said: “We believe in giving our communities a strong independent voice.

“As a team unbeholden to any national political party, we can truly represent the communities of Fant and Oakwood. We will be a strong local voice and will champion people’s needs.

“We will work to address the spread of Houses of Multiple Occupancy in our area and beyond and ensure that the Maidstone Leisure Centre is rebuilt or fully refurbished.

“Putting people before politics means that we will work to make a community park at the former Astor Farmland, Protect Fant Farm, and campaign and champion the improvement of the environment of Fant and Oakwood.”

Lawrence Rustem of the British Democrats
Lawrence Rustem of the British Democrats

Lawrence Rustem of the British Democrats said: “I'm standing because I firmly believe that there is a need to provide the people of Maidstone with a sensible patriotic choice.

“I'm standing because there is a need for a fresh voice that speaks up for the people of Maidstone and furthermore, Labour and the Conservatives have engaged in a managed decline of Maidstone, just like they've engaged in a managed decline of the rest of the country.

“The people of Maidstone deserve better than the same old tired, dishonest and incompetent Labour and Conservative options - there is no real difference between the two. The British Democrats offer a better vision for both Maidstone and the rest of the country. “

Sean Turner is the Heritage Party’s only candidate. He is standing in Bearsted.

He said: “I am campaigning to raise awareness on the following issues, mainly around central government net zero carbon reduction targets currently being filtered down and implemented by the borough council, and what this means for residents locally: impeding freedom by the adoption of low-traffic neighbourhood road closures and plans to curtail the need for private travel.

Sean Turner, Heritage Party
Sean Turner, Heritage Party

“We need to question the local plan as the countryside needs protection from further development. We need farmlands for natural food growth and to preserve the beauty of our natural open spaces. The council should support local businesses and family-friendly vital services rather than giving away council tax contributions to help fund schemes run by Non-Governmental Organisations.”

Don’t forget to take photo ID with you when you go to vote.

Allington and Bridge Ward (2 councillors)

Mitu Chowdhury (Con)

Michelle Englar (Lib Dem)

Rita Gintautaite (Con)

Stuart Jeffery (Green)

Marianna Poliszcuk (Lab)

Rachel Rodwell (Green)

Benjamin Webster- Whiting (Lib Dem)

Barmng Heath and Teston Ward (2 councillors)

Reiss Cordery (Con)

Fay Gooch (Ind)

Chris Passmore (Lib Dem)

Mary Shaw (Lab)

Keira Stuart-Smith (Green)

Alison Sweetman (Green Party)

Bryan Vizzard (Lib Dem)

Arek Zurawinski (Con)

Bearsted and Downswood (3 councillors)

Ian Chittenden (Lib Dem)

David Cockerham (Reform UK)

Paul Cooper (Con)

Lee Garrett (Green)

Theresa Lyon (Lab)

Gordon Newton (Ind)

Ciaran Oliver (Green)

Denis Spooner (Con)

Val Springett (Con)

Sean Turner (Heritage)

Edward Wallace (Green)

Boughton Monchelsea and Chart Sutton (1 councillor)

George Burr (Con)

Anne Dawes (Ind)

Peter Oliver (Lab)

Boxley Downs (2 councillors)

Stephen Banks (Con)

Michael Beckwith (Lab)

Heidi Bryant (Con)

Vanessa Jones (Ind)

Stephen Thompson (Green) Party

Mike Wardel (Reform UK)

Coxheath and Farleigh (2 councillors)

Alan Cocks (lib Dem)

Claire Kehily (Green)

Lottie Parfitt-Reid (Con)

John Tandall (Lab)

Caroline Richer (Green)

John Wilson (Con)

Fant and Oakwood (3 councillors)

Lee Blake (Lib Dem)

Patrick Coates (Fant and Oakwood Independents)

Susan Delamare (Reform UK)

Will Dinley (Con)

Paul Harper (Fant and Oakwood Independents)

Lorraine Humm (Lib Dem)

Valerie Jacobs (Lab)

Rojo Kurien (Lib Dem)

Denis Luchmun (Lab)

Kimberley Milham (Green)

Mudiwa Musindo (Con)

Ramakrishna Peeta (Con)

Margaret Rose (Lab)

Grove Green and Vinters Park (3 councillors)

Ronald Burke (Con)

Steven Cheesman (Green)

Martin Cox (Ind)

Rob Field (Lib Dem)

Michelle Hastie (Con)

Jaison Musindo (Con)

Mark Naghi (Lib Dem)

Susan Parr (Green)

Jeeva Sampangi (Lib Dem)

Mark Tickner (Lab)

Anna Winterbottom (Green)

Harrietsham, Lenham and North Downs (3 councillors)

Onyekachukwu Chukwuma (Con)

Julie-Anne Clancy (Con)

Kathy Cox (Ind)

Emily Hudson (Con)

Janetta Sams (Ind)

Tom Sams (Ind)

Ryan Slaughter (Lab)

Ian Stevens (Reform UK)

Headcorn and Sutton Valence (2 councillors)

Thomas Dawber (Green)

Derek Eagle (Green)

Henry Morgan (Lab)

Martin Richards (Lib Dem)

Martin Round (Con)

Ziggy Trzebinski (Con)

High Street (3 councillors)

Oliver Bradshaw (Con)

Saf Buxy (Green)

Alan Chell (Con)

David Collier (Lab)

Clive English (Lib Dem)

Donna Greenan (Green)

Jeffery Dylan (Con)

Denise Joy (Ind)

Dinesh Khadka (Lib Dem)

Ashleigh Kimmance (Lib Dem)

Farris Wilson (Green)

Leeds and Langley (2 councillors)

Gary Cooke (Con)

Simon Easton (Green)

Gill Fort (Con)

Maxwell Harrison (Reform UK)

Joan Langrick (Lab)

Matthew White (Green Party)

Loose and Linton (2 councillors)

Kenneth Amakye (Con)

Brian Clark (Lib Dem)

Nicola Dawber (Green Party)

John Fraser (Green)

Bryan Hillman (Reform UK)

Alan Le Grys (Lab)

James Reid (Con)

Simon Wales (Lib Dem)

Marden and Yalding (3 councillors)

Annabelle Blackmore (Con)

Grace Couch (Green)

Maria Kelly (Lab)

Kelly Rigden (Green)

Claudine Russell (Con)

Tristan Russell (Con)

Teresa Seamer (Reform UK)

Mike Summersgill (Green)

William Wilby (Lib Dem)

Palace Wood (2 councillors)

Tom Cannon (Con)

Stan Forecast (Con)

Wendy Hollands (Lab)

Diana Lewins (Lib Dem_

Ian McDonald (Green)

Stephen Muggeridge (Green)

Cynthia Robertson (Lib Dem)

Park Wood and Mangravet (2 councillors)

Joyce Gadd (Con)

Hilary Jenkins-Baldock (Lab)

Lewis McKenna (Con)

Dan Wilkinson (Lab)

Penenden Heath (3 councillors)

Andrew Bradford (Con)

Richard Conyard (Lib Dem)

Phoebe Frewer (Green)

Tony Harwood (Lib Dem)

Dave Naghi (Lib Dem)

Derek Nicholson (Con)

Andrew Reilly (Green)

Rachel Slaughter (Lab)

Daniel Thompson (Green)

Jeff Tree (Con)

Ringlestone (1 councillor)

Scott Hahnefeld (Con)

Gareth Henry (Green)

Stella Randall (Lab)

Mike Thompson (Lib Dem)

Senacre (1 councillor)

Patrik Garten (Con)

Malcolm McKay (Lab)

Shepway (3 councillors)

Alan Bartlett (Con)

Louise Bartlett (Con)

Susan Barwick (Lab)

Gary Butler (Ind)

Maureen Cleator (Lab)

Chris Garland (Con)

Lawrence Rustem (British Democrats)

Geoffrey Samme (Lib Dem)

Joanna Wilkinson (Lab)

Staplehurst (2 councillors)

Thomas Burnham (Lib Dem)

Stewart Lane (Green)

John Perry (Con)

Paddy Riordan (Con)

Rory Silkin (Lab)

Julie Skinner (Lab)

Tovil (2 councillors)

Rebecca Bruneau (Con)

Ian Cleator (Lab)

Joe Higson (Lib Dem)

Simon Milham (Green)

Benjamin Reid (Con)

Rosemary Riepma (Green)

Paul Thomas (Reform UK)

Paul Wilby (Lib Dem)

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