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Hoo Peninsula by-election candidates set out why they want to be elected onto Medway Council

By-election candidates have set out the reasons they want to become a councillor in Hoo.

Seven people have put their name forward to become one of three councillors to represent the Peninsula ward on Medway Council.

Councillor Mike Pendergast has passed away
Councillor Mike Pendergast has passed away

The poll - which will take place on Thursday, December 8 - was called following the death of Independent councillor Mick Pendergast in October.

Here's what the candidates had to say about themselves and their aims if they get elected:

George Crozer
George Crozer

George Crozer, Independent:

I am someone who actually lives in the ward and have campaigned rigorously to protect our incredibly important and environmentally sensitive Hoo Peninsula.

I have fought crazy airport proposals, the destruction of a bird sanctuary at Lodge Hill, the closing of Deangate Ridge, and biased plans to dump thousands of new homes locally to protect other areas on the other side of the river.

My priority will be the prosperity and happiness of Hoo Peninsula residents and the protection of our local landscape and communities.

David Hodges
David Hodges

David Hodges, Labour:

I was born in Strood and have always lived in Medway. I attended Rochester Maths School, and am now a parent governor there in the same Trust as Hundred of Hoo.

I know residents on the Peninsula don’t feel the council listens to them and I will make sure their views are heard by holding regular advice surgeries and being available online.

My priorities are to improve GP and pharmacy services and to campaign for a decent bus service.

Sharon Jackson
Sharon Jackson

Sharon Jackson, Independent:

As an adoptive mum of five children with Special Educational Needs, I think outside of the box and know how to pick my fights.

I have listening and communication skills that will help represent the views of the ward.

Moving to the Peninsula in 2000 onto a new development, I would be a hypocrite if I opposed new developments, but these should only happened if there is infrastructure first and the environment is respected.

Ben Rist
Ben Rist

Ben Rist, Liberal Democrats:

I am 29 years old and volunteer at Fort Amherst. I also co-mange Chatham-based Improving Mental Health Provision CIC.

Peninsula ward is a naturally beautiful area and full of vital greenspaces and marshes.

The Local Plan and Housing Infrastructure Fund processes provide an opportunity for much-needed infrastructure improvement to support housing.

Environmental protection is much needed and I believe that providing a train link to the Towns is vital and would like to see the passenger rail service to Grain restored in the long term.

Chris Spalding (left) with the late Cllr Mick Pendergast
Chris Spalding (left) with the late Cllr Mick Pendergast

Chris Spalding, Independent:

If elected it will be my mission to sort out Grain Bridge once and for all, overhaul the Peninsula's bus service, stop the annual mosquito misery, provide facilities for young people thus reducing anti-social behaviour, and challenge over development.

Being a strong voice or trusted campaigner is not enough, you need to get results. My achievements speak volumes.

Voters have a choice; loud voice or person who gets results.

Harold Ogunfemi
Harold Ogunfemi

Harold Ogunfemi, Conservative:

I am a very hard-working family man, a Christian, and a small business owner.

I lived in the ward for 15 years and been a parish councillor since 2010.

I am the only candidate who can influence the Local Plan.

I will work with younger generations to get involved in the Peninsula.

I seek to protect the rural nature of the area, and fight against inappropriate development whilst supporting the sustainability of our smaller villages.

I want to make a real difference for the area I know and care about so much.

Julian Sutton
Julian Sutton

Julian Sutton, Green Party:

I am a local hard-working small business owner and expert advisor to the building industry, specialising in dispute resolution.

I love living in this beautiful area. Our community is wonderful, but recently it has come under pressure from excessive house building and associated road building, which is putting our unique environment and residents’ health at risk.

I’ll use my extensive training and negotiation skills to bring about much-needed change - we have been ignored for too long, enough is enough.

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