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Former Conservative councillor urges residents to vote for Labour candidate in Lichfield by-election

A former Conservative councillor has urged residents to vote for Labour in order to get a better balance on Lichfield District Council.

Joanne Grange

Joanne Grange

Joanne Grange’s resignation in the Stowe ward has forced a by-election on September 27.

She quit the Conservative-controlled local authority after criticising the way planning rules were being enforced, claiming she no longer believed the council was representing the views of residents.

“As weird as it is, I’d urge residents to vote Labour,” she said. “The major problems with Lichfield District Council are caused by a power imbalance which means the leader and Cabinet make all the decisions with very little input.

“This is not healthy and does not give the best outcome.

“If staunch blue territory returns a Labour councillor, this will be a very clear message to the leadership that change is need.

“Seats are up again next May so this is a short term appointment.

“Having another member in the opposition group at the critical time for decision-making on the future of Friarsgate land would ensure that there is more pressure to involve residents.

“I truly believe voting red is the best thing for this election – and those are not words I ever thought I would be saying.”

Despite her calls, the former councillor insisted she had not changed her overall political loyalty, insisting she was merely focused on what was best for Lichfield.

“The residents aren’t getting good service and I don’t believe they will unless the council is better balanced between the parties so that there’s some dilution of the power wielded.”

Candidates for the Lichfield District Council Stowe ward by-election:

  • Angela Lax (Conservatives)
  • Donald Palmer (Labour)
  • Richard Rathbone (Liberal Democrats)

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34 Comments

  1. AnnS

    4th September, 2018 at 9:32 am

    Incredulous!
    There are 3 candidates in case Mrs Grange hasn’t noticed. However, I do agree that there needs to be more opposition in the council and following the Friarsgate debacle, although not exclusively, hopefully the good residents of Stowe will have the sense not to return the conservative candidate.
    I won’t hold my breath though.

  2. Don Palmer

    5th September, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Thank you Joanne for your support, it is a shame that Mike Wilcox and other Lichfield Conservative Councillors could not give you the support that you deserved. If elected as a Labour councillor I will stand up for the best interests of the people of Lichfield just as you did.

  3. Cllr Rob Birch

    5th September, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    Sometimes the conceit and arrogance of those in power can get in the way of doing the right thing and a significant majority makes this even more likely. Joanne Grange is right for so many reasons.

    The Wilcox led tory machine at LDC considers itself to be indestructible and consistently fails to listen to the electorate. They push through their plans on a whim and when challenged take little account of the opposing views that are expressed to challenge them.

    One amongst their ranks, who is prominent in Burntwood, has in the past called the Labour councillors “busy bodies” for opposing their plans. It is a good job these busy bodies” have been there to hold them to account and call out nonesense money wasting schemes like Friarsgate.

    From planning to brown bins, everything goes through on the nod with little debate except that they are forced to engage in by the intervention of the Labour Group. Most of their meetings would be over in seconds were it not for the opposition demanding answers and accountability.

    Accountability is badly needed at LDC as money is wasted hand over fist and your taxes rise to cover the spending. Your money is being spent every day on their bad decisions. The only way to stop the rot is to elect more people who will challenge them and make them think twice.

    The message from Joanne Grange is clear, to support your local Tory and save your community vote Labour.

  4. Veran Palmer

    6th September, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Well said Rob

  5. Colin Ball

    6th September, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    All power to your elbows, Don and Rob! And let’s not forget Labour’s excellent candidate for the City Council, Robyn Fawcett.

    Colin Ball – Labour’s Lichfield City and District Councillor for Curborough.

  6. Colin Ball

    6th September, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    I’d like to add my thanks to Joanne Grange for her endorsement for Don and the Labour Party in the Stowe By-Election. Hopefully, she would also endorse our excellent candidate for the City Council position, Robyn Fawcett. I know that both Don and Robyn will work very hard for local people, if elected, just I am trying to do in Curborough.

    Colin Ball – Labour’s Lichfield City and District Councillor for Curborough.

  7. Michel Souris

    6th September, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    I concur Rob but as a member of LDC can you elaborate on the areas where Wilcox & Co waste public money? The lack of transparency from the Ruling Party makes it difficult for us plebs to identify such items but you are ‘on the inside’. You can give us the ammunition to challenge Tory Members at Council meetings and when they are canvassing for our vote next year….oh, yes, I forgot, Tories don’t need to knock on doors do they!

  8. Robyn fawcett🌹 (@Robyn92xo)

    6th September, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    Thank you for the support Joanne.
    Labour councillors have already began to challenge and unpick the Friarsgate fiasco. To take this further and to help create a fairer, more inclusive approach to the local community, (as both Joanne and Rob rightly state) there is a greater need for accountability, which can be achieved through establishing a less onesided network of political parties. By voting Labour, residents can be reassured that Don and myself (for City councillor) will work hard with current Labour councillors, to challenge the opposition when necessary. Whilst ensuring a cross working party to ensure the best outcomes for the local community.

  9. Cllr Jon O'Hagan

    7th September, 2018 at 7:35 am

    For the record, Stowe Councillors knock the majority of doors at every election. We also distribute postcards four times a year asking people to get in touch. In addition to that, we distribute a ward wide news letter called SCAN, four times a year.

    We are also available by phone, text, email,Twitter, or through the website.

    I know that the labour party want to peddle the myth that they are the only ones who work or care, but that is not true. Stowe Councillors work hard, all year around, and not just at election times.

  10. Nick

    7th September, 2018 at 9:53 am

    That’s strange, Cllr O’Hagan, I’ve never once had a Con Cllr call at my door in Stowe. Then again, I’m sure you have a spreadsheet telling you I’m a Labour member and to avoid us at all costs.

  11. Don Palmer

    7th September, 2018 at 11:01 am

    I live in the Stowe ward and I have never had a councillor call at my door or and postcards from the Conservatives. Whilst canvassing for Labour I have had some people tell me they have tried to contact the councillors but did not get replies. So I also find your comments very strange???

  12. Cllr Jon O'Hagan

    7th September, 2018 at 11:59 am

    It is strange indeed. If Don and Nick would like to direct message me their addresses, we can supply them with about twenty years worth of canvas data for them.

    I can also let you know when we last left you with contact cards.

    We don’t ignor people because they are not conservatives. We are proud to represent all of Stowe ward’s residents.

  13. LetsGiveItASpin

    7th September, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    The pure arrogance of cllr ohagan … this is a clear example of why Tories are not listening butbwnating to argue with the electorate . We must be all poor thickish plebs .. soon you are voted out the better

  14. Michel Souris

    7th September, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    It is the same in Leamonsley – in 20 years, I had one visit from a County Council candidate from the Blue Party. Nothing from either Labour or LibDems although the latter send a bulletin periodically.
    In defence of one Tory Councillor, he did sort out a local problem but he did not bother to respond to the original requests, he just arranged for the appropriate dept to resolve the matter.

  15. Cllr Jon O'Hagan

    8th September, 2018 at 6:41 am

    I have not yet heard back from Don or Nick for some reason, but I have now had a chance to gather the following information.

    Since 2009 we have knocked Don Palmer’s door on four occasions. We have spoken to him, personally, three times, and his partner once.

    On two other occasions, he was the labour party candidate, so we did not knock on his door then. We did speak to his neighbours though.

    In addition to that he will have received a quarterly news letter. He will also have received several contact cards.

    This level of 1:1 contact is typical of Stowe Councillors, representing Stowe Ward over the last twenty years or so. I am proud to be a part of the hard working Stowe team. I am proud to represent our residents at LDC.

    I know that I will now be attacked by the labour supporting commentators on Lichfield Live; that’s their right. I know that the Stowe Councillors have a long history of serving the Ward well. We will continue to do so, in spite of petty abuse, and unprovable challenges.

    Stowe Councillors are easily contactable, and are here to help our residents.

  16. LetsGiveItASpin

    9th September, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Mmmm cllr O’hagan have you heard of GDPR? You best speak with officer of the council to make sure your person identifiable data is compliant and lawful

  17. Rob

    9th September, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    I’m wondering what wealth of professional and work experience Robyn Fawcett will provide “to challenge and unpick the Friarsgate fiasco”.
    I see she takes it as a given that we all want a “more inclusive approach to the local community”, really?

  18. Don Palmer

    9th September, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    I am sorry Jon but both my wife and I have no recollection of any councillor knocking on our door.
    Also your offer of sending us the information that you have offered may breach the new data protection laws so please do not send them around.
    We have been knocking on doors and there is still a resentment about how the last councillor was treated by your organisation, so both Robyn Fawcett and I will work hard on supporting the people of Stowe and improve any future development issues.
    Thank you for your corispondance.

  19. Cllr Jon O'Hagan

    9th September, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    Don, what you choose to remember or not is up to you. Fortunately we don’t have to rely on your memory, we have documented evidence.

    Stowe Councillors have a twenty year history of year round engagement. We are easily contactable.

  20. Michel Souris

    9th September, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    Cllr O’Hagan – do you have similar information for visits by Leamonsley Councillors? Based on my experience, I would believe Don over your information.

  21. Mike

    9th September, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    I lived in the Boley Park ward for 20 years and have not once had a knock on the door from any canvasser during elections.

  22. Cllr Jon O'Hagan

    9th September, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    I can’t speak for other wards. I represent Stowe Ward, and that’s where I work. You could ask that question to your own councillors though. They are just as easily contactable as we are.

    I’m going to be out knocking doors tomorrow. It will be interesting to compare notes with Don.

  23. Nick

    10th September, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Apologies for the delay in replying, Cllr O’Hagan, I have a job and family so I don’t always find the time to bicker with Tories online.

    As for your kind request for my personal info; you’re alright, I value my privacy as should others. I know how many times I’ve had one of your cheerful blues poking around my door.

  24. Asellus aquaticus

    10th September, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Just to add a bit of non-political perspective here – if you knock on a door when nobody’s in, then you can’t prove it one way or the other (short of using video evidence). Lots of people aren’t at home all day, so this argument is all a bit silly.

    Or to put it another way, stop squabbling children.

    Don’t make me go back there.

  25. Roy Appleby

    10th September, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    I have lived here 22 years and I can honestly say I have never opened the door to anybody who’s been canvassing and that goes for all parties 😠

  26. Cllr Jon O'Hagan

    10th September, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Roy, your house only came into Stowe Ward at the last boundary change in 2015.

    Since then, you have been canvassed once. You have had two blue contact cards. You spoke to us both times.

    Since the meeting at Tesco you have had a huge amount of support from Cllr Greatorex, hence the changes made to the car park. Your other issue about heavy vehicles is a county matter that Cllr Eagland and Pullen have been trying to deal with for you.

    In short, in the last three years you have asked for, and received more support than most.

  27. Olga Jean Thomas

    10th September, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    presumably Roy Appleby, that means that the information you hold is possibly incorrect information: if so, your vote (if you do vote) could be null and void ?

  28. LetsGiveItaSpin

    11th September, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Cllr o’hagan again breaches data protection and GDPR regulations by disclosing personal information …. are youn registered to hold personal data ? No you are not as i have just checked…

  29. apple9686

    11th September, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    Cllr Hagan.
    First of all, look at my statement. I have never spoke to anybody on my doorstep. Putting leaflets through the door does not in my eyes meet the residents and find their concerns. Yes I have been in contact with various councillors, but it had nothing to do with elections.
    As for the other information you have declared for me, It was only my determination and stubbornness and not accepting no for an answer from the police and Tescos which got results.(It took nearly 5 Years to get to this stage), I did not see a councillor at my meetings with the Police/ Tesco’s/ Pcso’s. As for County issues Yes the councillors are aware of the issue of HGV problems and again but for my persistence i would never hear any updates. Again this has been going on since 2014. Evidence of any progress four and a half years later. ZERO. I am sorry if it sounds harsh but that is how i see it. I am not going to get into a slanging match. But if you would like to discuss it please contact me and arrange a meeting.

    As for Olga, not quite sure what you mean?

  30. Darryl

    11th September, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    Perhaps certain people should consider that the comments section of Lichfield Live isn’t the place to answer constituents criticism.

    Just a thought.

  31. Nick

    12th September, 2018 at 10:08 am

    I’d be livid if a councillor was posting details of my personal communications and actions on a public website. What other information do they hold & share about us that we don’t know about? Disturbing.

  32. Steve

    12th September, 2018 at 11:29 am

    Can I just confirm. If I contact my councillor, it will all be recorded and then discussed in public?

    Is there no such thing as privacy?

  33. Lorraine

    12th September, 2018 at 11:55 am

    There are times where my husband and I think we would like to become more active in local politics. He would make a great Councillor but we then read comments online, like those of Councillor O’Hagan and remember, that as much as we would like to use our skills to benefit the local community, no way could we deal with the conflict and arrogance that obviously accompanies such a role. This constant bickering and point scoring is doing the Council no favours with encouraging newcomers to engage in local issues.

  34. Debbie S

    12th September, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    Can I highlight to people who have an issue with Cllrs behaviour to the “Cllrs code of conduct” on the LDC website and the complaints process.

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