Election 2015: St Albans’ Conservative candidate Anne Main
- Credit: Archant
She has been asked to bring back fox hunting and fix the myriad potholes ruining roads across the district.
Conservative candidate for St Albans Anne Main has had all sorts of requests while out canvassing the area, but admits most are for local concerns as opposed to national issues.
Housing – or lack thereof – is a constant source of anxiety for residents, closely linked with fears that the district council wants to expand onto precious Green Belt land.
Speaking to the Herts Advertiser last Friday as part of the paper’s Q&A sessions with candidates ahead of the General Election, Anne said: “If we don’t build on brownfield land, we will have to look at building on the Green Belt.
“I propose that the Crown Estate land [in Redbourn] is looked at because [the owners] want to divest themselves of that, and it is in the St Albans district just off the M1.
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“We could think about whether we get Section 106 funding to refurbish hospital facilities and build more affordable housing for younger people.”
Given the pressure for housing in the district, she described St Albans as a “victim of its own success”.
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On the issue of train travel Anne – who has represented St Albans from 2005 till 2015 – is keen for a new passing loop at Bricket Wood to improve the Abbey Flyer route.
And she praised Govia Thameslink Railway, which took over the franchise from First Capital Connect, for “listening to people’s complaints” and improving facilities at the city station.
Anne added: “We are hoping to be a bigger visitor destination. They are going to put in more ticketing booths, because of the queues.
“They are going to open up another gate, access to the toilets and [have] art work on show.”
Anne said it was a, “positive that the Conservatives have announced a freeze on rail fares”.
Who is to blame for the controversial rail freight decision? Anne replied: “In the end the Secretary of State made the decision. The developer made an argument that managed to overcome all the planning reasons to turn it down.”
St Albans Hospital
Anne said while St Albans would not have an A&E ward again, a new urgent care unit alongside integrated social services and healthcare at the hospital would be a major step forward – but more investment was needed.
She said: “No-one understands what a minor injuries unit is. An urgent care centre would take the pressure off Watford Hospital.
“If you have a large gash on your arm, what does minor injuries mean to you? Does that mean they can stitch it or not?
“With an urgent care centre, there is a greater sense that it is a minor form of an A&E.”
Anne said the UK had a “disproportionate amount of control over people migrating from the Commonwealth, but we have no control over European immigration, because we have freedom of movement
“We can only control immigration from countries that are non-EU members.”
She said the public should be given more say on immigration.
Beer and spirit duty cuts
Anne said the government should be looking at the way in which alcohol was promoted, and educating young people more on the dangers of drinking.
She said: “I support fair alcohol prices across the counter.”