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 more information on the candidates standing in your area here.
Dean Evans – Green Party
I am fortunate to have spent most of my life doing what I like, which has been working in the public sector, the environment and in the community.
I came to work in Cornwall in 1989, living in Falmouth for 21 years. Employed by the County Council as Head of Waste Regulation I oversaw a huge improvement in waste disposal practice across the County and took firm action against illegal tipping, even against the Council itself. Sadly, things have since deteriorated. This was followed by eleven years with the Environment Agency; spent tackling both waste and water pollution in West Cornwall as well as illegal fishing activities.
As a teenager I had joined the Conservation Society when it was founded in 1966 and I was proud to receive Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) status before I left full time work.
I have always taken an interest in the community in which I live; as a Parish Councillor, or on PTAs, Village Hall Committees, Sports Clubs, Community Groups, Youth Clubs and Charities. I like working with others, and getting things done, whether it’s stacking the chairs after a meeting or writing a successful bid for funding. I am honoured to have been awarded a British Empire Medal for work in my community.
I like getting involved in local issues, and, importantly, I have the time to do it. I recently created the Falmouth & Penryn Cycling Campaign to make cycling a more realistic option for short journeys, such as school, work or shopping trips. I helped establish a Covid support fund and secured funding to help local people financially affected by the lockdown.
I call myself a progressive and I have found that my political views have a home in the Green Party. We need more Councillors with Green credentials. Having a Green in the room can make a big difference.
I want to see that more decisions about where we live are taken here and that local taxes are spent here. I would particularly like to see that the Councils keep their promises over Climate Change, the biggest factor likely to affect your future lives. I think that the student population has had a positive impact on Falmouth and I would like to work with the University to ensure this continues.
Vote on 6 May, and, If you, like me, are dismayed with the performance of the other parties, then please vote Green.
Sinead Hanks – Labour Party
I have never stood for Council before but as a small business owner with a young family, I want to see different types of people representing us. I was shocked to find that there are more men over 70 than there are women of any age on Cornwall Council which made me get involved.
A bit about me: I had an idyllic childhood in Cornwall – plenty of teenage sandy parties with warm bottles of cider. For some reason I thought this was rubbish and I used to longingly peruse the London A to Z (an olden days book with maps in it) and dream of moving to the big city. After university this I did, and spent a wonderful 20 years working for various charities including the Big Issue and Prison Reform Trust.
My time at the Big Issue made me see first-hand misery, the destructive nature of homelessness and the devastating impact on health, education and employment. Wanting to change this made me interested in politics. So many people say they ‘don’t do politics’ and while I can completely understand this, political decisions really do affect our daily lives.
Since returning to Cornwall 10 years ago I’ve been involved in setting up a community centre, launched the Mid Cornwall Homeless Shoebox Campaign, founded a community website and started a choir. Basically, If I see a problem, I try to change it. I’m also a big pub quiz fan and love karaoke.
I now live in Penryn with my family and run Any Old Lights, refurbishing vintage maritime lights. From starting online, a late night pub chat with a cafe owner led to us using the cafe for the winter as a pop-up shop – and we now have three members of staff. We’ve won awards and were named as one of the top small 100 businesses in the UK. Amazing what can start from pop ups!
My priorities are tackling the unregulated private housing market – I know students are being turfed out of accommodation to make way for higher paying private tenants. I’m also a keen cyclist – although Cornwall needs cars, I’d like to see better options for people to walk or cycle on short journeys. Finally, as my business started from a pop up shop, I want to see more businesses given the opportunities in empty shops to revitalize our high streets post-Covid.
I’m used to working with a variety of personalities to get things done and I want to see politics done differently. We don’t all make empty promises!
Alan Jewell – Conservative Party
Our family have been in the Falmouth area for years and years and years. My late grandfather worked in the docks, he and my grandmother started life at Mawnan Smith, where they rented a council house. They worked hard enough to then rent a farm at Constantine, then in 1929 moved to Pennance Mill Farm where I live. They worked hard at farming and took in holiday guests at the farm house, eventually saving up enough to buy the farm in 1946. My late father took over and ran the farm until the late eighties when after having heart problems, I, at the age of 15 ran the dairy farm. I milked the cow before going to school and worked on the farm for many years, while achieving a Phase 4 in Farm Management instead of university. I was married at the age of 25 and have 2 daughters who have gone to university. One works as a planning officer and the other works for me in her 3rd year work placement. Like the rest of my family, I have worked hard!
I have borrowed and invested money at low interest rates thanks to Conservative governments. This has allowed me to buy land, invest in green energy, solar panels, air source heat pumps, a wind turbine, and now our farm is completely carbon neutral.
My aims are to strive to go greener, particularly to ensure that all new homes are fitted with the best technology for the environment. Ensure that, like my grandparents, social houses exist for affordable rents. Encourage, you, the students, to get involved more in our fantastic town while you are here! Join local groups such as the Falmouth Young Farmers Club, which I was the Chairman. It’s not all about farming, but they do a lot of good community work. I want a Falmouth that’s respectful of everyone, students very much included. Vote Conservative to give the town a local representative who will work hard!
You can achieve anything in life. This is likely your first time away from home, so you have the chance to create special times and special memories. I know it has been hard with Covid-19, but the government have done their best, not getting it right all the time, but we will get there. Enjoy the rest of your time in Falmouth and play your part in making Falmouth the great town it is!
Richard Benton (Liberal Democrats) couldn’t be reached to comment.