As Lichfield and Burntwood voters prepare to go to the ballot box for the local elections on May 5, The Lichfield Blog has offered each of the candidates the chance to have their say.
We’ve sent out questionnaires to all District Council candidates and will publish their responses on the site to help you decide where to put your cross on election day. If your local candidates haven’t responded yet, why not chase them?
Name: Darren Ennis
Party: Independent candidate
Occupation: General Manager of Haywoods Contracts Ltd
What has made you decide to stand for election?
Because I care! My family have lived in Chasetown all their lives, I have a business in Chasetown and my children’s future will be affected by what happens in Chasetown. I read a lot about the issues and the things that happen here and I decided that instead of sitting moaning and discussing how they could be dealt with I’d be a real voice and help, give my time and efforts to help it grow and succeed.
What are the key local issues for you in your ward?
Locally to Chasetown there is a lack of recreational space for younger children. If I want to take my children to a park I walk them to Burntwood Recreation Centre where the park is very limited. When I was growing up the park there was a centre point for the town’s children and now it’s just minimal at best. When there are more than seven children there then you have to wait.
There are concerns from local residents on the new proposed housing in Chasetown. I know this is at an early stage but people are worried. How will we accommodate an influx of over 1,000 people in Chasetown? I understand we need housing and so do the local populace but what they don’t understand and what could be made clearer to them is, how will access to this housing estate work? Where will they go to school? Doctor? Dentist? These are just some concerns they have.
Keeping local business buoyant and stimulating trade in our shopping centres is integral to the success of any town, listening to local needs and allowing needed business to set up is great for the community. Chasetown High Street and Burntwood Town Centre are in need of a big revamp and if we are to have 1,000-plus more people it is even more necessary.
The Government has allowed money for the repair of potholes and I would like to make sure that the roads in Chasetown and Burntwood get a fair amount of funds to repair these.
If you are elected how do you plan to keep your constituents informed of what you are doing to represent them?
Being contactable is the number one issue for a councillor. What good is a councillor who can’t be contacted and cant follow up concerns and issues? If elected I will keep people informed via Twitter, Facebook, emails etc. For major issues I will keep them informed via the media (local papers etc). I am more than happy to go and see people and more than happy for them to come and see me.
How do you feel you will be able to make a difference to your constituents?
I know I can make a difference. For one I intend to listen and voice concerns. I intend to go to all the meetings so I know this is done. Coming from Chasetown means I already have a good relationship with a lot of the local people and I know about the town and the issues they face.
Not being affiliated with a political party and being able to form my own opinions will allow my constituents to have there own say through me rather than not getting an answer when the party says no.
Anything else you would like to add?
My hardest struggle in getting elected won’t be an inability to do a good job, but trying to get people to understand these are local election and the fact that you vote for a person not a party. If you use Chasetown as an example, two Labour councillors were voted in and both of them changed their allegiance.
I have spoken to a few of the local people about this and I am asked: “Are you running for a party”. When I explain you vote for a person, they say they didn’t know.
Also standing in the Chasetown ward (once they have responded, these will link to the response):
- Marilyn Bamborough (Conservative)
- Barry Diggle (Conservative)
- Stephen Taylor (Labour)
- Colin Waldron (Ind)
- Keith Willis-Croft (Labour)