Ballot box. Pic: Anthony Karanja
Ballot box. Pic: Anthony Karanja

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: Brett Wilson
Party: Conservatives
Ward: Hammerwich
Occupation: Solicitor and barrister

What has made you decide to stand for election?
I thoroughly enjoyed serving the community as Chairman of Hammerwich Parish Council and felt a sense of achievement when issues were successfully resolved. However, a common misconception is believing that a Parish Council is a court for resolving conflict between individuals or groups, or has the final say over important issues such as planning, parking and land use – it is a representative body and achieves results through effectively influencing other public bodies.

I stood down from the Parish Council to concentrate on some work matters and to encourage young people in their careers.  I am now very grateful to be a Conservative candidate in the 2011 elections.  I hope to re-join Hammerwich Parish Council in 2011, but to answer your question – I feel that, if elected, being a district councillor as well as a parish councillor will allow me to exert a greater influence in order to bring about the changes that the residents of Hammerwich ask for.

What are the key issues for you in your ward?
Firstly, let’s not forget that Hammerwich consists of the triangle as well as the village.

As a whole the biggest issue has to be overdevelopment and intrusion on the green belt. I’m not going to jump on the green belt bandwagon for votes though. I did my first degree in biology, and biodiversity and preservation of the environment ranks high on my own agenda whether I’m standing in an election or not.  Paul Chapman has been a star on the green belt issue and I’ll always remember hearing his interview on the radio. Paul has demonstrated leadership on this issue and it’s great that he is joining the parish council.

The proposed wind turbine at Peter’s Lane is another environmental issue for the parish. I’m told that it will be visible in Ashbourne. I believe that Wendy Taylor and Hammerwich Environment Group are looking into this. They do excellent work and are very knowledgeable. Often a planning survey will report the absence of certain species and use this as a basis for justifying a certain course of action. But the HEG will respond by explaining the reason for the absence. Sometimes this is simply because it when the survey was completed it was the wrong time of year for a particular plant or animal to be around.  As a lawyer, I know that it’s hard evidence like that provided by HEG that wins arguments. The wind turbine isn’t just about sound or visual impact though we need to look at its impact on the wide variety of insects that inhabit that area, together with a large colony of bats.

I drove past Waitrose recently and saw a new playground packed with kids. It was great to see kids out playing together. I come from a Yorkshire mining village and we had the ‘old rec’ where we used to go. It had swings, roundabout, bowling green and tennis courts. It’s healthy for our kids to get outside. Val Richards was material in getting the playground near Waitrose and I’m pleased that Val is going to pushing hard for similar playgrounds to be installed in Hammerwich, especially triangle. She has my 100 per cent support on this.

If you are elected how do you plan to keep your constituents informed of what you are doing to represent them?
I think that it’s important that a District Councillor also serves on ‘Parish’, as there’s nothing better than being able to talk to someone face to face at the monthly parish meeting.

I feel sometimes that the days when I was able to show my dad on how to use the computer, are behind me. It’s now my nephew showing me what to do. But I would like to use technology. Sorry to steal an idea – but I’m quite keen on copying The Lichfield Blog!

Also, I’m going to stick my lawyer’s wig on now and pick holes in your questio  In my view representing is not just about “informing” but it’s about “communicating” representation is a two way street.  I would like a website with a comments box so that residents can exchange opinions. Often residents will have differing views on a single issue and a councillor has to reconcile this before he or she can effectively represent the ward.
I’m also aware that not everyone has access to a computer. All councillors have their address and phone number’s published. People can call or write to me at any time.

How do you feel you will be able to make a difference to your constituents?
I’m new at local politics but I’m not naïve. I know one of the independent candidates – Vance  – quite well, he’s a good bloke and I wish him all the best. But I differ in my political opinions in that I simply don’t think that independent councillors can actually bring about changes.

Lichfield District Council has a group system, like Parliament, where the party with the biggest majority gets to form an administration. It’s from that party that a cabinet is formed and it’s in the cabinet where decisions are made. Independent councillors are an admirable bunch but they don’t carry much weight I’m afraid.

I’m proud to be selected to represent the Conservative Party. I’m probably the most unlikely Tory that most people would expect. My father and grandfather were miners, my mum worked in a sewing factory. My grandma’s cousin is a well known NUM leader. But background is irrelevant, my family has a strong work ethic and encouraged me to form my own views. I’ve done this and I believe that the Conservative Party is right for me, right for the country and right for Lichfield.

If all goes well, only by having a councillor who is part of the majority group and, better still, on the cabinet will Hammerwich have any real voice.

Anything else you would like to add?
No reply given.

Also standing in the Hammerwich ward (once they have responded, these will link to the response):

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

3 replies on “Local Elections 2011: Brett Wilson (Conservative) – Hammerwich ward”

  1. I find it strange that Brett Wilson seems to be claiming credit for the work of others i.e. Paul Chapman, Wendy Taylor and Val Richards. I find that aspect totally irrelevant in his answers.

    He fails to mention that he was chairman of the Parish Council for an exceptionally short time.

    I also find it strange that he disparages the work of independent candidates. I feel that they have a vital role to play in as a balance in the ‘points scoring’ and strict party line of the main parties. 

  2. I am pleased to note that Mr Wilson “biggest issue” is that of overdevelopment and intusion of the green belt. However, his fellow Conservative Councillors on recent plannning issues seemed only to be interested in telling the electorate that they had to meet housing targets set by Government. This was when the Labour Party was in Government! Listening, and acting on issues that the electorate feel strongly about is what is needed. I have to say thank goodness for people such as Paul Chapman and the Hammerwich and Burntwood Action Group otherwise we would have no green belt left.

  3. May I wish you every success in your forthcoming campaign Brett – a breath of fresh air in local politics and a man who cares passionately about the area in which you live. Keep up the good work and thanks for your support with our campaign – Paul Chapman (Chairman – BHAG)

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