Roger Whitfield

Candidate - Portishead North

Currently council tax payers are not getting good value for money as North Somerset constantly waste money by incorrectly setting up contracts, failing to plan before issuing tenders and paying huge amounts for services that are out of contract. By bringing good business practices to North Somerset backed within a legal framework I intend to help put a stop to this waste of our money and instead invest the savings back into community services and facilities. I am passionate about local issues and will bring real business practices to ensure that we all get value for money from our council tax.

As a businessman I understand the importance of balancing the books, but I also understand the benefit of customer satisfaction. North Somerset Council balances its books by continually giving us less for our money whilst blaming the government for every service or facility that they cut; this must change. When your ship is sinking you don’t start by throwing everything overboard, the same holds true in business as it does for Local Authorities, first stop the leaks then review customer satisfaction, and then set about improving customer satisfaction and services.

Why independent?

Independent candidates are different, their primary objective is to do what is best for the people in their ward; they answer to no one but you, and cannot hide behind a party machine that attempts to shift the blame.

I was educated in Portishead and worked in Bristol and London before starting my first business in Portishead High Street.

As an entrepreneur, who has continually invested in Portishead, my passion for improving local services, community assets and living standards never falters. I have vast experience in community matters, business, leisure and law which are an asset when campaigning for and supporting local issues.

My current and previous key roles in many organisations include: Managing director of two local companies’, CEO of a national company dealing with local authorities; managing competitive tendering process across the UK, Member of the Portishead Chamber of Commerce, director of Portishead Pool Community Trust and chairman of the Open University Law Society.

Portishead is a fantastic place to live but it is not without its problems. I want to see an improvement in leisure facilities; roads fixed when they need to be fixed (not just when an election is due); the problems with dog fouling dealt with; the Lake Grounds maintained regularly to a good standard; safe routes to school set out to a long term plan ensuring that children can cycle safely to their schools; but above all I want to ensure that Portishead remains a great place to live.

For  too long now North Somerset has been ruled by a political elite who have placed themselves above the hard working council tax payers that they serve, this has to stop. I intend to assist with changing the ethos within the council with council tax payers being treated as valued customers, with the focus on achieving real value for money for all council tax payers.

Over the last 20 years there has been an ongoing campaign to provide a skate park in Portishead so that our children can have more places to go; however over the last 20 years every potential site has been blocked by North Somerset councillors. I understand that the location of leisure facilities used predominately by teenagers is a thorny issue but I think we can all agree that there are definite benefits in having facilities for every part of the community. I will ensure that a suitable site is selected and ensure that the skate park project have everything they need to bring this exciting project to fruition.

Sometimes it’s the smallest issues that actually cause the biggest issues; this can certainly be said of the problem of dog faeces which despite the provision of bins remains a problem across the area. As a responsible dog owner I take great care to ensure that I bag it and bin it, this is just a part of owning a dog, and I expect other dog owners to do the same. I will ensure that the council runs a campaign in affected areas to reduce this problem and with the support of local residents I will do everything possible to eliminate this problem.

Portishead has a number of cycle routes dotted around the town as a mixture of on-pavement routes and on-road routes. Problems are caused due to lack of signs or poor markings and often at the point where cycle routes transition from the pavement to the road. Initially I will work with local residents to ensure that these routes are properly signed and marked and in the longer term I will ensure that wherever possible these cycle routes are joined up in a sensible and safe manner.

The constant requirement for new homes has led to the serious expansion of Portishead over the years, something which North Somerset Council has been happy to see happen as it takes the pressure off them to provide sites elsewhere in the area. It is time that this policy changed, Portishead is not the only place in North Somerset to build new homes and I will fight to ensure other areas are fully explored first.

Party politics is a controlling force that stifles real innovation, decisions are made based upon what is best for the party or what is best for the leader and what is best for the people often comes a poor second place.

As a North Somerset First Independent prospective candidate I want to bring real change to a council that needs a shake-up, put your needs above anything else and together we can make a real difference in both Portishead and North Somerset.

North Somerset does not need more money it just needs to spend it wisely. I will ensure that we all get value for money from our council tax.

Councillor for Portishead Town Council

Achievements:
  • Former Councillor for Portishead Town Council. 
  • Campaigned successfully to have North Weston Village Hall rebuilt.
  • Member of the Chartered Insurance Institute.
  • Managing Director of Philip Starr Insurance in Portishead.
  • CEO of Internet Access Point, a national company, backed by the Department of Trade and Industry, providing broadband across the UK.
  • Managing Director of Nortech Computers in Portishead.
  • Independent candidate for the 2009 European Parliament Elections.
  • FA Approved (Level 1) Football Coach.
  • Member of the Portishead Chamber of Commerce.
  • Founder member of Save the Open Air Pool (STOP) campaign.
  • Founder member and Director of Portishead Pool Community Trust.
  • Chairman of the Court Farm Group.
  • Chairman of the Open University Law Society (OULS).

www.rogerwhitfield.co.uk