On the 22nd May 2014 we increased the Labour Vote in Romsey by 62% to elect Dave Baigent as City Councillor for Romsey
By voting Labour on May 22nd you also voted for a fairer city.
Romsey voters have voted to be part of a revitalised new council that will support the people of Cambridge in fighting for public services, more housing, accessible care, a fairer city, more housing a campaign against rogue landlords (and bring back the rat catcher)?
Most importantly you chose someone who will be representing your views.
Labour is now the majority party on the City Council.
It is my need to serve that led to me putting myself forward to challenge the incumbent and become one of the four elected representatives in Romsey. I did so with the intention of making things happen, because I am a doer. My over 30 years as a firefighter, followed by my time spent as a principal lecturer in Sociology developing, lecturing and leading the Public Service degree at ARU have made me into someone who cares, and in caring I want to put something back.
People on the doorsteps are asking "what will you do that is different?" My reply is to say that I want to listen to people and to make things happen. If elected in May I will do this.
The Labour Party in Cambridge puts a high store on democracy. Each Ward has a committee that meets at least monthly to consider local issues and then send representatives to the Constituency Party that also holds monthly meetings. There are also a variety of sub-committees, but all of them have roots in their ward meetings.
We are out weekly knocking on doors and talking to residents in order to update our knowledge of what the electorate in Romsey are thinking. It is noticeable that the other parties don't have this level of democracy. Kilian was out a lot last year but we haven't noticed him this year - have you?
NO OTHER POLITICAL ORGANISATION IN ROMSEY HAS THIS LEVEL OF DEMOCRACY.
We listen to your views and decide policy through our Ward Committee.
Perhaps in 2014 as much as any time in the past we are at a crossroads. A national coalition government is living up to its name and ConDemning local government by cutting the funding and privatising public services. You only have to look outside your front door, cycle or drive on our roads, or walk on our pavements to see what national government have done and to how the current local administrations have neglected the needs of the people of Romsey.
Even the recent relaying of the pavements in Romsey, welcome as it is, has only done part of the job. Some areas have been renewed and others are left as they were. Can you imagine this happening in the City Centre or in other parts of Cambridge? There is also a dishonesty about how the LibDems have claimed all the credit. What has been achieved is the result of a joint effort by all political parties, the Mill Road Traders Association, ENRAG, Romsey Action, individuals and other groups. The credit should go to all, yet no one should be complacent, there remain areas of Mill Road that are neglected. More importantly the rest of Romsey suffers from a lack of repair. I cannot promise that if you vote for me that overnight everything will change, but I can promise that I will be honest about what is happening.
Transparency is also lacking in the way Romsey is being developed. We need more family homes and affordable accommodation and yet the biggest development in the plan for Romsey, the Ridgeons site, has been approved by the current administration in the draft local plans against the clearly expressed wishes of local residents. An overdevelopment of 245 units of accommodation at a density of 75 dwellings per hectare, almost twice that approved for a similar site in Petersfield, means it will be mostly flats and no green space to use. This shows a lack of vision, there is no real greenspace, not enough parking, St Phillips School is already over subscribed and most importantly the wishes of the Cromwell Road and surrounding residents have been ignored. Of the three City Councillors in Romsey only Zoe Moghadas attended protest meetings. Only Labour helped collect signatures for the petition and as their representative I have spoken out against this development.
As I write this piece I have just been made aware that a second residential development, at the old Coop site, is now being planned to accommodate over 300 students. I believe this site should be providing homes for the people of Romsey and we need to galvanise ourselves to ensure that this is what happens. The voice of the people of Romsey needs to be heard and I can help to achieve this.
Dave's track record to date has been to help individuals and to work for a safer community. Dave has been knocking on doors in Romsey now for over two years and these issues are constantly being raised:
- Housing crisis. House prices and rents are too high because not enough housing available. Too many HMOs exploiting tenants and creating local and environmental problems for neighbours
- Planning crisis – Government led planning system that leaves us powerless to manage overdevelopment and provide housing (affordable and family) where it’s needed. We can’t even control the height of new buildings. Or the general level of ugliness….
- Traffic gridlock and parking problems.
- Creaking overstretched infrastructure.
- The state of the roads and pavements.
One issue that was really important to people on the door step, street drinking, is now less of an issue. Liason with the street life police officer and the anti-social behaviour team is clearly working.
I have been a part of the campaign against the overdevelopment of Ridgeons and spoken at full council about this to challenge the lack of democracy and localism in ignoring the views of local people.
I have campaigned to reclaim the play area at the Mill Road end of Great Eastern Street and now children can once more relax and enjoy this small open space.
I have fought for Reg to get a disabled parking bay and when the 'jobs worth' council officers refused this I have acted to put up signs on Reg's wall to ask residents not to park outside his house.
When people in Vinery Road were worried about the safety of the zebra crossing i consulted by knocking on doors and speaking to people at the school gates and then collected over 100 signatures asking for a safety audit. This has now happened and changes have been made to the crossing to make it safer. In particular it involved clearing the cars that were parked illegally in the approach to the crossing and putting a barrier up on onside to stop cars parking on the pavement. As you can see from the picture below, the parked car completely blocks the view of approaching drivers.
It is important to point out that some people have complained about the lost parking spaces and lack of consultation - this is sad because this was an accident waiting to happen and in regard to consultation I knocked on every door in Vinery Road to collect the signatures for the petition and delivered two street letters to update people.
I have worked to raise money for Romsey Mill by providing a Tombola stall at the Mil Road Winter Fair
I am an aware political operator having cut my teeth as a member of the Fire Brigades Union.
I supported the strikers at Cambridge University
I am a passionate campaigner against racism and was one of four who stood against the EDL when they laid their wreaths at our war memorial
My research area is equality, particularly the effects of masculinity on workplace cultures. I have been employed to enhance women's rights by working in the UK and internationally (since retirement) to help women to be employed as firefighters.
I have spoken out against public service cuts in the NHS, the emergency services and education ... Police surveillance of students and the cost of management in the fire service have received particular attention.
Democracy in action
I am a seasoned campaigner and love being part of the team in Romsey. We are currently canvassing three times a week and have been door knocking for the past year to find out what people in Romsey want. We meet at least once a month and send delegates to the monthly meetings of the General Committee and the Executive of Cambridge Labour Party.
and so it goes on ...
Dave is fascinated by the web and new social media - his new role as candidate for Romsey ensures he has to keep up
Dave sponsors and organisers the website for Hope in Sri Lanka: a charity supporting orphanages, neglected, abandoned and orphaned children in Sri Lanka.
If you want to ask Dave a question then email him, ring on 07802 495 329, or knock on his door 96 Cavendish Road, Cambridge, CB1 3AF