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South Ashford by-election candidates in the spotlight

By Amywoodland  |  Posted: February 20, 2013

  • Palma Laughton

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RESIDENTS of Beaver ward in Ashford will go to the polls in just over a week.
Seven candidates have been pounding the streets of the ward looking for support for their bid to win the seat left vacant when Ashford Borough councillor Rebecca Rutter resigned at the beginning of the year.
The by-election takes place on Thursday, February 28.
Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm at Beaver Green Nursery School in Cuckoo Lane, South Ashford Baptist Church in Brookfield Road and Kingsford Hall at St Francis Church in Cryol Road.

The candidates

Name: Jill Britcher
Party: Labour
Who is she? Originally from Tonbridge Wells, 64-year-old Mrs Britcher has lived in Kennington for 30 years. She has two children who grew up and went to school in the Borough. She is retired but used to work as a tutor organiser for the Worker's Educational Association. Her hobbies include gardening and reading.
She says: "I feel that I have got the sort of talents that people in Beaver Ward could make use of.
"Parking and the quality of housing in the area are of concern to people there and I think the medical centre has been of concern too."

Jane Martin
Party: Conservative
Who is she? Former Highworth School pupil Miss Martin, 47, spent years living abroad in Germany but always kept a hand in local politics. Most recently she helped her mother, Cllr Marion Martin, to win a seat in the last local elections. Business consultant, Miss Martin, returned to live in Shottenden full time in October of last year. She is a keen squash player and public speaker.
She says: "We need to start raising the profile of Ashford. It used to be a bustling market town. It had character in the town centre but we can't go backwards. We need to look forwards."

Jack Cowen
Party: Liberal Democrat
Who is he? Mr Cowen fought for the seat in the last by-election for Beaver ward. He is 69 and has lived in the ward for seven years. He is retired but works voluntarily with the Citizen's Rights for Older People.
He says: "I'm retired so I do have time for people. I live in the ward so I am here 24-7. I know the issues that are affecting people: dog fouling; litter and a little bit of anti-social behaviour."

Palma Laughton
Party: Ashford Independents
Who is she? Mrs Laughton has lived in Stanhope since 1968. She was a borough councillor from 1985 until 2003, was Mayor from 1995-1996 and received an MBE for services to the community in 2010. A mother and grandmother, she has run a sewing workshop in Ashford for 12 years.
She says: "I want to deal with the issues that people are very concerned about. Those include parking and the speed of traffic."

Mark Reed
Party: Green Party
Who is he? Mark was born in Birmingham and moved to the south-east 11 years ago. He has lived on Beaver Road for the past six years and has worked in the public sector for 15 years. Mark has previously worked for Royal Mail and the NHS.
He says: "I will work hard to make Ashford a fairer place to live. I will address local concerns such as the poor rail service between the south-east and London. I will prioritise affordable housing and low cost renting so young people can move into a place of their own."

Angharad Yeo
Party: UKIP
Who is she? The daughter of Labour councillor, Harriet Yeo, Angharad has lived in Ashford all her life. She is a former North School pupil and a mother-of-one. She was a member of the Labour Party until earlier this year when she decided to stand for the UK Independence Party.
She says: "I have lived in South Ashford all my life. I understand the area, I understand the issues. I am proud of the area and I use the services - like the health centre which is not coping at the moment and needs looking at."

John Holland
Independent candidate
Who is he? Mr Holland is a former Mayor of Ashford. He represented the borough from 2009-2010. He is standing as an independent.
Unfortunately we have not been able to speak to Mr Holland at this time.

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