Calne News 1

Campaigning has begun in the by-election to elect a new councillor for Chilvester & Abberd Ward.

polling stationThe seat is being contested by just 2 candidates – John Boaler for the Labour Party and Ashley Martin for the Liberal Democrats.

John Boaler moved to Calne with his family, 24 years ago. He is the Chair of the Calne Pocket Park, where he is an active volunteer, he also helps organise the annual Calne Music and Arts Festival. On Sunday mornings, you will often spot him marshalling the junior parkrun at the Rec.

John was a town councillor from 2017 to 2021, he told us: "I was taken aback by the complacency of many of my fellow councillors, who in those 4 years proposed nothing new and opposed all change. They were not open to fresh ideas and seemed to resent any questioning of the status quo. I believe Calne could do so much better."

John said he was fighting the by-election on very local issues and among his key pledges are to:

Oppose any further housing in Calne until we have more doctors and dentists for the town, and that congestion is addressed as part of any plans.

Press for 20mph speed limits on all residential roads on Calne.

Push for Police Officers dedicated to Calne and with a local contact point.

Oppose any rise in Council Tax 

Make sure the local community has a bigger say in how the council's money is spent.

Liberal Democrat Ashley Martin has lived in Calne since 2005 and is the headteacher at Heddington CofE Primary school.

Ashley said: "This is the first time I have stood for election and have chosen to represent the Liberal Democrats as their policy and practice best suit my own values. This is not a decision that I have taken lightly and has been several years of consideration in the making.

"I am passionate about protecting the environment and support the Calne Clean up Crew each week in the Abberd and Chilvester Ward and beyond. Our area and Calne has a lot of challenges. As a Headteacher of a village primary school, I care about our local, young people and their families. Growing problems such as anti-social behaviour and drug taking need tackling. I have already spoken to the Police about an effective, action plan to help tackling this issue.

"Our roads and pavements need fixing. We need proper investment from the building developers whilst challenging and opposing over development. Too many houses result in residents not being able to access essential service like doctors and dentists while our town gets clogged up with traffic.

"Whilst I cannot solve every problem, people who know me well will tell you that I will always try my best to help."

The election takes place on Tuesday 7th February.

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