Voices In Politics: Falmouth Trescobeas & Budock Cornwall Council candidates

On May 6th, voters will head to the polls in large numbers for the first time since the pandemic began. Over 4000 elected positions will be contested in England alongside elections across the rest of the UK. For voters in Cornwall, this will include Cornwall Councillors, Parish Councillors, Truro City Councillors, Falmouth and Penryn Town Councillors and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The Anchor is pleased to offer a platform to the candidates for Cornwall Council in divisions around the Penryn Campus to make their pitch to voters. The views expressed in this piece are not representative of The Falmouth Anchor, but of the candidates.

You can find information about the candidates standing in your area here.

Kirstie Edwards – Labour Party

Hi. I am Kirstie Edwards and I have lived in Falmouth for over 25 years, I arrived as a student in 1996 and stayed to raise my own family. I run Plastic Free Falmouth and have worked hard on environmental issues for many years in our town, both with Falmouth and Cornwall council. We have helped clean up the town and install water points, alongside introducing reusable cup schemes to festivals like the shanty and reggae and many other ongoing projects including chairing a Falmouth green corridor sub-committee. I sit on many, varied action groups across a wide spectrum of Falmouth. I have been a University lecturer at Tremough previously, and still do occasional guest lecturers and public speaking events, these days on environmental and community issues.

I’m really passionate about uniting and bridging our community gaps and really believe that building resilient communities is how we change the world! We are all important and deserve an equal voice young and old, rich and poor. My eldest son just graduated and I am very aware of the issues students face financially and with housing and also in feeling disconnected from their wider community. I’d love to bridge that gap and already have been actively, with the work on Plastic Free.

I also run a small circular economy business using non-recyclable plastics, called Plastic Oceanic and live in a council house. I understand the challenges that local working families face living in Falmouth. I am very proud of our Falmouth community and would love to build on the work I have been doing as a volunteer in the last decade, but as a Cornwall Councillor. I am one of the 3 County leads of Plastic Free Cornwall and have a strong, positive history of working with various officers and existing Councillors within County Hall on varied issues, from within Falmouth and across the county. I set up a cross party working group on plastics in 2018, bringing together the voluntary sector with business and charity leaders, County Council members and Cornish MP’s.

I know that I could do a great job on behalf of all residents of the Trescobeas and Budock ward. In my youngest daughters’ words, I am ‘kind, caring and work hard’- so that’s exactly what I plan to do for you.

Phil Hart – Conservative Party

I was born in Falmouth and grew up here. My interests are not quite what you would expect for a prospective Councillor but music plays a large in my daily life, especially bands like Pink Floyd, The Who, Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull. My other great passion (not forgetting the family) is American Comics, I have a collection which comes in at almost 20,000 of them, something that I grew up with (my wife might dispute that I have ever grown up) and have never lost an interest in. I have been active within the Falmouth community, I was a Special Constable for ten years being involved in the policing of events in and around the area which included guarding the Queen on one of her visits to the town.

For the last 34 years I have lived in Budock Water and for 20 of those years I have been a member of the Parish Council. During my time here I have been involved with many local organisations in Chairman and Treasurer capacities. I always seemed to be called upon to be Treasurer as I had spent thirty years of my working life in finance, banking and insurance, I am always interested in figures. Did you realise that during the financial year 2019/2020 Cornwall Council’s expenditure was £1,158,524,000 that is over one billion pounds! A large amount of the money spent comes from Council tax, should residents have more of a say in how our money is spent? If elected I would certainly look in to where our money goes and see where savings could be made so that we can reduce the burden of Council Tax.

My political platform is that I am here for the Community, working with them where possible to make life better in this beautiful county of ours. My other concern is the protection of the countryside and I object to the fact that large areas are being swallowed up by unnecessary housing. Houses should be built where they are most needed not just where nice green fields are available they maybe not convenient but that does not seem to matter to developers. As a Cornwall Councillor I will fight to protect our green and pleasant land.

I would like to think that anyone with the same values will vote for me on 6 May.

Cara Hermit – Liberal Democrats

My name is Cara Hermit, I’m a photographer, a (soon-to-be-graduating) student at Falmouth University and a thorough enjoyer of the natural world. But right now, I’m your Liberal Democrat candidate for Falmouth Trescobeas & Budock. I’ve been visiting Cornwall since as early as I can remember, and the longer I’ve have spent here, both as a child and now having lived here for the last almost three years, I see more sides to the incredibly complex and rich area we live in. I chose to run for Cornwall Council, and in particular as a Liberal Democrat, because I want to fight to ensure that Falmouth can be a place that breathes opportunity, and that those living here feel truly empowered to thrive.

As your councillor I will dictate everything I do by that one word “opportunity”. I want to ensure people have the opportunity to live, work and play in areas they grew up in but feel as though they can no longer find their place in. I want to guarantee that young people have limitless opportunities when it comes to real world education, by fighting at every turn to foster quality relationships between businesses and local communities. Ensuring they have the ability to seamlessly transition from education into incredible careers. I want to fight for more opportunities for LGBTQ+ youth to connect with the wider queer community in Cornwall, receiving support with their identity and a sense of place. And I want to guarantee that future generations will be able to treasure the beautiful Cornish landscape just as we’re able to now, without it being stolen away from us by the climate disaster.

Ultimately, I want to ensure that if elected, I, alongside the other incredible Liberal Democrat candidates across Cornwall, can create a council that works for you and with you. And if creating a Falmouth that feels like a real community, one that celebrates the diversity of all those who live here, is something you care about, vote for your local Liberal Democrat candidate on May 6th.

David Saunby – Independent

I am a retired HGV Class 1 driver who has lived in Falmouth all my life and in the Trescobeas Ward since 1962. My commitment to the local community has been channeled into being a Town Councillor and a County Councillor for the past 12 years. I am an Independent candidate and receive no funding from any political party.

I have been able to concentrate fully on local issues and to remain above the points-scoring that goes on between the political parties. I regularly attend residents’ association meetings and I am also a member of the Cornwall Families and Children Scrutiny Committee and the town’s Licensing Committee. I am always out and about and will always happily stop and chat about any concerns people may have. My motto is ‘YOUR PROBLEMS ARE MY CONCERNS’.

I have also raised a lot of money for worthy causes. My main hobby is motorcycling and for the past 33 years I have organised the Martin Jennings Memorial Run, which has raised approximately £130,000 for local and national charities, including Cornwall Air Ambulance, Cornwall Blood Bikes, Children’s Hospice SW, the Sunrise Centre at Treliske and Cancer Research. Many Falmouth organisations have also benefited from my ‘Community Grant Chest’ which are listed online.

My priorities if elected:

  • To ensure that Town and County Council discussions are fully informed by the local knowledge that results from living in Falmouth for many years.
  • To continue to be a role model in treating everyone equally and with respect, whatever their political view, race or creed.
  • To maintain my reputation for being ‘honest, transparent and accessible’.
  • To continue to campaign for more affordable housingI was delighted to have been involved in bringing about the first social housing to be built on Trescobeas Road for many years.
  • To fight against the possible closure of Falmouth Hospital, which has been recently rumored.

I am a genuinely local and independent candidate. I have a long-standing knowledge of the town that can be used to benefit all its residents. I believe in extending to students the welcome for which Falmouth is renowned.

I hope that students enjoy their time in Falmouth so that they will bring their parents to visit and, in time, return in later life with fond memories of their university years.

Matthew Valler (Green Party) couldn’t be reached to comment.