Gillian Harris is Secretary of Havant Labour Party and your candidate for the Borough Council election in St Faiths on 4th May 2023.
Here she explains why she is standing and why she deserves your vote:
So why vote for me?
I am Gillian Harris and I am standing for election to Havant Borough Council because, in partnership with Councillor Phil Munday, I want to challenge the Council, hold them to account for their failures and work to improve our local environment.
So many of you put your faith in Phil Munday last year that it was thrilling to see his landslide victory. He has been working hard to make good on his promises, keeping people informed and responding to your enquiries, but with two of us representing St Faiths, we could achieve so much more!
I grew up in Waterlooville and Rowlands Castle, going to school in Cowplain and Purbrook and church in Emsworth. I moved away to go to college and lived in London for many years before moving back to my roots in Havant as a first step towards retirement.
I have raised money for charities by running 12 marathons and have set up libraries in Gambia as a VSO volunteer. I now live in St Faiths ward and am involved in the local community as a bell ringer at St Faiths church.
I belong to the Labour Party because I believe in strong, green and accessible local services and that action needs to be taken to ensure those services address the needs of everyone in society. I celebrate cultural diversity and I am committed to tackling climate change at a local level that impacts globally. Running a schools library service in London, I make it my responsibility to give children access to a wide range of resources that both mirror their own cultures and life experiences and act as a window into the wider world as a way to build empathy and combat bullying.
The Conservatives currently hold 33 out of the 38 seats on the council with two vacancies in previously conservative-held seats. This size majority is not healthy and has led to complacency amongst Conservative councillors who often nod through major decisions with no questions asked.
These are some recent Conservative failures:
- Failed for the second time in their bid for ‘Levelling Up’ funding despite spending valuable Council resources writing and researching it
- Failed again to secure any funding to replace the crumbling railway footbridge at Havant station – this year part of it has actually had to be closed for safety reasons
- Failed to develop a long term solution to the collapsed wall at Langstone in order to protect Langstone Mill Pond
- Failed to regenerate our town centre. A £1.5M grant to demolish Bulbeck Road car park but no grant for rebuilding is hardly a great success!
- Failed adequately to address the impact of the new Amazon warehouse in New Lane, even agreeing to water-down the already weak restrictions on traffic volumes in the original planning application.
- Failed to make any progress on the infrastructure to support the new housing such as the ‘relief road’ from Southleigh to the A27, promised but with no progress.
- Failed to ensure that developers follow through on their commitment to build a footbridge at the Warblington level crossing.
- Failed to deliver on their promise to build more social housing on Council-owned land
My record of action this past year:
- Coordinated the delivery of three newsletters to every home in St Faiths (with many thanks to our wonderful band of helpers) to ensure that residents are kept well-informed of the issues that affect our ward and our town.
- Raised several issues with the Council on behalf of residents, including damaged paving slabs at the Royal Mail sorting office, faulty street lighting and improving the path through from Solent Road retail park to West Street. Join our litter-pick there on Sunday 16th April 10am to 11am!
- Been an active campaigner for more action on the sewage in our harbours – working with Phil Munday, our Councillor, to bring a motion to Council persuading the Full Council to support independent testing in the harbour. As a swimmer and kayaker, I want clean water in our harbours.
- Supported Phil in his work to respond to local residents’ concerns, including campaigning
to keep the 27 bus running along Southleigh Road.
- Worked with Phil to ensure that glass recycling was reinstated near the Spring Arts centre.
If elected I will:
- Keep people informed of Council matters through regular newsletters and social media and be an active and committed Councillor.
- Continue to campaign for more action on the sewage in our harbour, the reversal of the plans for recycled effluent water in Havant Thicket Reservoir and long term solutions to the sea wall repair at Langstone.
- Press for more types of plastic to be recycled and for kerbside collections of glass and food waste.
- Investigate how Havant Council can follow other councils’ examples and provide free basic broadband for everyone so that, as more and more council services are being delivered online, no-one is digitally disadvantaged.
- Demand that Havant Town Centre regeneration plans include the provision of affordable housing and support local shops and businesses with free parking.
- Carefully examine the impact of the forthcoming planning application for Portsmouth Water’s Reservoir micro tunnelling along Meyrick Road and West Street and the proposed Palk Road housing development.
Phil Munday, St Faiths ward resident and councillor, says:
Gillian is driven by a keen sense of social responsibility. Since I became councillor she has worked alongside me to support local residents. She is calm, polite, highly organised and effective. She will make an excellent councillor for St Faiths residents and I wholeheartedly support her as a candidate. Please vote Gillian Harris Labour for St Faiths on 4th May.”
Beryl Francis, St Faiths resident and former councillor for the Warren Park ward, says:
“I would strongly recommend you to vote for Gillian.
She has been assisting Cllr. Phil Munday with his ward work for St Faiths and has a good knowledge of local needs, hopes and problems. She is very energetic, very confident, very efficient, very principled and able to speak out clearly. Havant Borough and St Faiths ward need more Councillors like this to represent us. She will be EXCELLENT. Be sure to vote on 4th May.”