Council elections: who are St Albans Liberal Democrat candidates?
- Credit: Chris White
We meet the candidates from the Liberal Democrats standing for election at county and district level on May 6.
County council candidates
John Hale, Colney Heath and Marshalswick division
It has been my honour to serve the residents of Colney Heath and Marshalswick as their county councillor for the last four years. This is the neighbourhood I have lived in for over 20 years and have served as a Sandridge parish councillor for 14 years.
The role of a councillor should be to work with residents to improve their neighbourhood for everybody. I am particularly concerned about the environment and protecting the green spaces that have proved so valuable during the last year.
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More also needs to be done to make our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists – there are too many road traffic collisions each year and lives lost. I am therefore an active supporter of the 20’s Plenty campaign and I will continue to work with the police on road traffic issues. A community is stronger when it pulls together, and I am committed to helping that happen.
Paul de Kort, Harpenden North and East division
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I hope that Harpenden North and East residents will put their faith in me by electing me to represent them at county level. As a county councillor, I will demand joined-up thinking on social care and NHS treatment so that those most in need are not left waiting and struggling for the right care plan, and I will press for the proper funding of special educational needs.
I will do all I can to ensure the county council takes the most effective measures against climate change and its threats, which are real and pressing. To help encourage and facilitate greener and healthier travel around the area, I will push for policy changes to the maintenance strategy for footpaths and cycleways so that they have the same priority as roads. I fully endorse the national 20s Plenty campaign for a default 20mph speed limit on all appropriate residential and urban roads and will press for more and better cycle routes.
Stephen Barrett, Harpenden Rural division
In standing for Harpenden Rural, I want to build on my experience over the last few years as a district councillor to provide real, tangible improvements for residents - improved community facilities, widespread environmentally positive policies and making sure Redbourn, Wheathampstead and the outer villages are fought for and represented at every turn.
In addition, I will push for safer roads and I wholeheartedly lend my support to the 20’s Plenty campaign for a default 20mph speed limit on residential and urban streets. Having made St Albans my home a few years ago, I have really engaged with the local community and find it a constant source of inspiration.
There is a special uniqueness to the villages and communities within Harpenden Rural and I look forward to working with local business, charities and residents to ensure that their voices are heard at County Hall.
Jeff Phillips, Harpenden South division
Since moving on from a career in corporate finance, I have been a governor at Manland School for over 12 years, and an education appeals panel member for Herts county council.
One thing both roles have given me is an insight into the consequences of the ongoing financial crisis in our schools and, in particular, the never ending squeeze on special needs funding. Parents and children in our community deserve better!
I am also the deputy chair of the Herts Community NHS Trust, where I am specifically accountable for the oversight of children's services across the county and in west Essex. I have been heavily involved in the vaccination programme that my Trust is accountable for in Herts and the wider region, and am immensely proud of the dedication of our staff in this task.
Health and education provision are two key cornerstones of our society, and we need government at all levels to recognise that our communities are being short changed.
Liz Needham, London Colney division
I have lived in St Albans with my family for over 30 years. I have had my offices in London Colney for almost five years, having previously lived in the village, and I still have family there. I love the area, particularly the lakes and the brilliant pubs.
I have been a district councillor in St Albans since 2019 and consider it an honour to serve the people of St Albans. I am also involved with various charities including a women's refuge and a charity dealing with homelessness.
If elected as a county councillor for London Colney, I will work to encourage the council to continue with its efforts to combat the climate emergency. I also want to focus on education and facilities for children and young people and to work to fix the social care system in Hertfordshire so that it is an equitable and efficient for all service users.
Chris White, St Albans Central division
Too much of my postbag stems from highways, with continuing frustrations about the quality and speed of road and pavement repairs. There needs to be a radical overhaul of the way these works are done.
I am also dismayed by the timid approach the county council is taking to the climate emergency: we need many more electrical vehicle charging points on our streets (and the ones currently supplied by the county council to be in working order), the council’s vehicles and commercial buses to be zero carbon, and a much greater commitment to tree-planting on county council land.
A significant step change is to move people out of cars and get them walking or cycling instead. To do this we need to make our wide road junctions easier to cross and, above all, introduce lower speed limits within towns: I have therefore happily signed up to the 20’s Plenty campaign.
Anthony Rowlands, St Albans East division
In more than 30 years elected service in St Albans, I have established a record for working hard and effectively on behalf of the community as part of a growing team of dedicated Liberal Democrat councillors.
I am seeking re-election as county councillor for St Albans East, comprising Ashley and Cunningham wards.
We are fortunate to live in a fine city and enjoy many excellent local amenities. But we must do more to preserve our precious environment, to make walking and cycling a safer experience, to ensure that the benefits of living here are available to all and to support those with physical and mental health challenges.
Councillors should be an active and visible local presence all year round rather than reappearing only at election time. I shall continue to make myself available to the many hundreds of residents who contact me every year about issues important to them.
Helen Campbell, St Albans North division
I’ve lived in St Albans for almost 20 years and have been privileged to serve the community of Marshalswick South as a district councillor since 2018. I enjoy the role immensely; I do not take it lightly and am grateful that residents chose to put their trust in me.
I am asking the residents of Marshalswick South and Batchwood to extend this trust by electing me as their new county councillor.
I will fight to ensure the vulnerable get the right support and I will work to help combat loneliness, isolation and mental health issues. I support the 20’s Plenty campaign and will push for safer roads, junctions and pathways to enable residents and visitors to walk and cycle with confidence, while striving to improve bus services so we have a greener city.
I will focus on securing more facilities and activities for young people, particularly outdoors, to help promote independence, resilience and an active community.
Sandy Walkington, St Albans South division
I’ve been county councillor for the St Albans South division for the last eight years. I may be biased but I think it’s the best county division in the whole of Hertfordshire, encompassing the Abbey and most of the conservation area, Verulamium Park and the Verulam estate and also the Cottonmill estate, Sopwell Nunnery and the Riverside Road area.
You could not imagine a more diverse patch; I’m really proud to represent its residents and so admire all the examples I see of community action and helping others which all cross community and ethnic boundaries.
The climate emergency is our biggest challenge. If elected, I will continue to focus everything I do on addressing this issue, both helping people to help themselves but also pushing Hertfordshire County Council to do much more on its own account. We just have to get a grip on this.
Emma Matanle, St Stephen’s division
I have lived in St Albans for the best part of the last 25 years, raising my family in the district.
I am a sitting district councillor for Sopwell ward, standing in the neighbouring county council division of St Stephen’s because I want to improve services and infrastructure for the residents in that parish.
My background is in international politics, international law, defence and international development. With experience of working in UNDP Afghanistan and academic think tanks, where policy solutions were found for international problems, I bring with me a set of skills that will enable me to effectively advocate for residents.
If you want to see a greener, fairer and healthier Hertfordshire, speed limits reduced to 20mph to enable safer walking and cycling, the Green Belt protected from development, and an improvement in community services, then please vote for me.
District council elections
Mark Pedroz, Ashley ward
As a local teacher, I have lived and worked in St Albans for 25 years. My wife is a teacher and Faith Focus columnist, and our daughter is at Beaumont. I’ve long campaigned with the Liberal Democrats alongside Anthony Rowlands.
I am proud that we have an MP and a council which reflect St Albans’ values: diversity, community, support for local businesses and protecting our environment.
During the pandemic, I’ve phoned the vulnerable, volunteered for Communities First and lobbied for support for self-employed contractors.
Living off Hatfield Road, I will campaign for 20mph quiet zones and to enhance local facilities such as Longacres, Cunningham Field and the Fleetville Community Centre.
We need a council striving to reduce pollution and renew our city centre. Having worked with teenagers all my life, I want to support improved parks and clubs. I would love to represent my doorstep streets as an Ashley district councillor.
Sinéad Howland, Batchwood ward
I have lived and worked in Batchwood with my husband, two primary school-aged children and my dog for seven years. I have volunteered throughout the pandemic at the vaccination and testing centres, supporting food bank appeals and providing support to elderly and vulnerable residents in the ward. I am passionate about making our community a great place to live and bring up children.
We have some wonderful green spaces around Oysterfields, Batchwood Drive and New Greens, which I will fight to improve. In the part of the ward where I live, there has been a recent spate of antisocial behaviour and crime.
Together with my neighbours, I have been working with the police and council to tackle this and I will continue to drive down crime in the area. I will also work to address the pressing need for improvements to social housing, particularly in the New Greens area of Batchwood, and also for more affordable homes across the district in general.
Chris White, Clarence ward
There is a huge amount still to do in St Albans. When I took over as leader of the council in 2019, I was horrified to discover what the new Lib Dem administration inherited from the Conservatives: a black hole in capital finances as a result of the failure to manage their building projects, a charter market which had fallen into disarray while losing local council taxpayers over £500,000, and a lack of interest in the climate emergency.
Over the next few years we need to help local businesses recover from COVID, develop a new local development plan (the planning inspectors threw out the Conservatives’ draft) and, above all, build on our initial achievements in combating climate change at a local level. In Clarence ward we need to press on with the urgent repairs to the Clarence Park Pavilion and deliver a new community centre in Fleetville.
Geoff Harrison, Cunningham ward
I’ve been privileged to serve the community of Cunningham ward as a district councillor since 2000, including a term of office as Mayor of the City and District. I have found the role of being a councillor most rewarding, and I am very grateful to the residents for having confidence in me. I have worked over time looking after housing problems, giving help with planning queries and, during the COVID pandemic, helping distribute food parcels to families in need.
I am asking the residents of Cunningham to continue to put their trust in me by re-electing me as their district councillor. I will support the council’s drive to tackle the climate emergency, I will ensure that the council builds truly affordable housing to buy and rent, and I will invest in improvements to our community facilities such as Foxcroft play area and Cunningham Field open space.
Paul de Kort, Harpenden East ward
I’ve been honoured to represent the community of Harpenden East as a town councillor since 2019, and I work proactively to ensure the broad priorities of this area are now being heard.
Having lived in this part of my town for nearly 30 years, with my children attending local schools, and having volunteered in a range of roles over the years including football coaching with Harpenden Colts and, currently, at the vaccination centre and shopping for the vulnerable, I understand the diverse needs of our community. I will fight for improvements to our local facilities, to support the efforts of our many, vibrant community groups.
In addition, I believe much more could be achieved with a holistic approach to key issues such as improving the environment and the maintenance of our residential streets, as well as enhancing accessibility to facilitate healthier lifestyles for all.
Pip Liver, Harpenden East ward
I have lived with my family in Harpenden for 15 years, having lived in Redbourn for 10 years prior to that. A Harpenden town councillor since 2019 representing Harpenden East, I am now standing in the district council elections to represent the ward. Harpenden is a wonderful town to live in and raise a family.
The transfer of Rothamsted Park to the town council is a really positive addition, showing what can be done for Harpenden by a Lib Dem district council that shares the values of Harpenden and puts the interest of this community front and centre.
After volunteering for five years with St Albans Citizens Advice, I volunteered for a couple of years at Dacorum CA before working on the Help to Claim project. My priorities as a councillor will be to work closely with the police, promote social housing for local people, and to champion Harpenden.
Allison Wren, Harpenden North ward
Harpenden is a lovely place to live and, particularly during the past year, has shown a great community spirit and love for our commons and outdoor spaces. I am an entrepreneur, have started a non-profit focused on science literacy, I am an NHS and vaccination volunteer, a member of a community garden and I support all the local arts groups that make this a thriving neighbourhood.
I want to do all I can to make it even more pleasant to explore our many footpaths and parks and safe to cycle across town along quieter streets and secure junctions.
I hope that the residents of Harpenden North will vote to elect me as their district councillor so that I can be an effective advocate for a local development plan with all the necessary facilities to support more energy-efficient social housing, green spaces and cycleways, and an imaginative voice for more activities for our young people.
Denise Bowser, Harpenden South ward
I have been a Harpenden enthusiast and resident since 2004. I work as a journalist and have worked for TV and newspapers for many years. My children went to The Grove and Sir John Lawes schools. Whilst growing up, they enjoyed high quality education and local amenities in a safe environment which I will now fight tooth and nail to maintain.
I will press for the end of Luton Airport expansion to prevent more noise, air pollution and congestion in this town we love. I will also support local business and encourage local shopping. I am a great believer that Harpenden residents should be able to live in a town that is green and safe for themselves and their children, and I’m passionate about the implementation of policies that translate into living sustainably to combat climate change.
First and foremost, however, everything I do will be done democratically and in consultation with you.
Maddie Liver, Harpenden South ward
I have lived in Harpenden South since I was seven years old and attended school in the St Albans district my whole life. Now 23, I moved back home at the beginning of the pandemic, like many young people, and finished off my undergraduate degree last summer. I am currently undertaking an MSc in Environmental Politics whilst getting involved in the local community, be it campaigning for the Lib Dems or volunteering at a local environmental charity.
Harpenden was truly a wonderful place to grow up and I want to ensure that it only gets better. In my view, environmental health is a top priority in this regard. I support the 20’s Plenty campaign and advocate for safer cycling routes and infrastructure, particularly along the St Albans Road, as well as ensuring proper scrutiny of new developments according to standards of affordability and sustainability.
Jeff Phillips, Harpenden West ward
I've lived in Harpenden for 35 years, and my professional background is in corporate finance. I serve as a governor at Manland School and as an Education Appeals Panel member for Herts County Council. I have been a member of the Harpenden Society for many years and have recently become its Vice Chair.
Harpenden is a small, essentially Victorian town; if we are to have significant additional housing built over the coming years, we must fight to ensure that character is not destroyed by insensitive development. Building must be accompanied by essential infrastructure such as schools and healthcare facilities, and not after existing provision is overwhelmed.
I’ll continue to campaign relentlessly against Luton Airport expansion and for vital improvements to local parks and open spaces. I’ll push for wide-area 20mph limits to encourage cycling and walking for shorter journeys, making Harpenden’s streets safer and friendlier and facilitating support of local businesses and shops.
Tony Lillico, London Colney ward
I have lived in London Colney since 1998 and have served as a parish councillor since 2018. I work in international marketing in the digital technology field. I am passionate about defending the interests of the London Colney community and I believe that we need to strike a careful balance between delivering affordable new homes for local people and preserving the Green Belt and the character of the village.
I want much greater action on roads, footpaths and cycleways, including a properly policed 20 mph speed limit within the village (including Barnet Road/High Street and Shenley Lane) and safer routes for cyclists both inside the village and to locations nearby. Since joining the parish council, I have established a rights of way working group and have also been an active member of the neighbourhood plan steering group. I hope residents will vote to elect me as a district councillor for London Colney.
Raj Visram, Marshalswick North ward
I have lived in St Albans with my partner since 2007. It’s a great place to live and I love its community spirit. I am involved with local charities and was Chair of the St AIbans Good Neighbour Scheme which helps residents in many practical ways. More recently, I have been recruiting volunteers for the Covid Vaccination centres and have become a Trustee for Herts Vision Loss.
I feel lucky to live in such a vibrant, cultural and friendly city and want to help it recover and improve. I will work to drive down anti-social behaviour and crime, support measures to ease congestion and to encourage greener local transport, and look to improve value for money from businesses providing services to the district council. I hope that residents of Marshalswick North will vote to elect me as a strong voice to represent them on the council.
Will Jankowski, Marshalswick South ward
I have lived in St Albans for several years, having grown up on Sandridge Road. I spent my formative years in Marshalswick South, living a stone’s throw from Bernards Heath, where I have fond memories of taking my niece and nephew to the playground, walking my dog and going to the Pioneer Club. Understanding first-hand the value of our fantastic green spaces and community facilities to local families, I will work hard to protect and nurture them.
As an environmentalist, I will also look to promote sustainability wherever I can, such as advocating for safe walking and cycling routes and supporting rewilding. I’m proud to be an active community volunteer, particularly over such a challenging past year, helping vulnerable and isolated residents with food deliveries and phone calls and volunteering as a vaccination marshal. I hope Marshalswick South residents will put their trust in me to represent them as a strong voice on the council.
Simon Mostyn, Park Street ward
An in-house lawyer in the telecoms sector, I grew up and attended school in Herts and have lived in the St Albans District since 2004. From the outset of the pandemic, I’ve been inspired by the example of those who volunteered to support the NHS. Phoning vulnerable residents to signpost them to Communities First provided an ideal opportunity to give back to the local community without compromising the safety of my elderly mum with whom I’ve been bubbled.
As a keen amateur pianist, I have sought to lift the spirits of friends and neighbours during lockdown by posting piano videos and quizzes. My other interests include football (Spurs), tennis and tournament bridge. If elected to represent Park Street, I pledge to oppose the disastrous plans for a rail freight terminal, work for cleaner streets, tackle fly tipping and hold regular ward surgeries (virtual or in person).
Brian Gunson, Redbourn ward
I have lived in Redbourn for 39 years with my wife Peta. Both of my kids were born here, and my father-in-law moved here to be close to us. It is an astounding village with a community spirit and organisations that really do try to help all – the young, the families, the elderly and those who are in need or are vulnerable.
My promise is that as its district councillor I will fight to maintain Redbourn’s integrity as an astounding community, promote its wellbeing and physical activity including support for the extensive Leisure Centre development. I will encourage businesses to thrive, whether in the high street or at home as we recover from the impact of COVID and ensure building developments include social and affordable housing with infrastructure to match.
I will push for a lower speed limit of 20mph as well as safer roads and pathways that access St Albans and Harpenden. Redbourn’s environment is vital. My commitment is to make it clean and protect our wildlife and fantastic green spaces.
Sarwar Shamsher, Sopwell ward
I am a Sopwell resident, maths teacher, school governor and community activist. I have spent 20 of my 36 years in the UK living in the ward and I hope that many have seen my energy and determination and my collaborative approach to representing the needs of this diverse community.
During COVID lockdown, I have been offering free online maths tuition to local secondary students and, more recently, I have also been able to successfully secure inequalities funding to provide online fitness and sports-related activities for the local ethnic minority members of the community. My priorities are improving community facilities, creating safer neighbourhoods and fighting climate change.
I have a particular interest in housing and have already assisted many individuals and families with their housing needs. I hope that residents will vote to elect me as a strong local voice to represent the interests of the Sopwell community on the council.
Alison Smith, St Stephen ward
I am a longstanding resident of St Albans having lived and worked as a primary school teacher here for over forty years. Although retired, I continue to volunteer to support young people, particularly those whose vulnerability has increased as a result of the pandemic. I am standing as district councillor in St Stephen ward representing Bricket Wood and Chiswell Green.
I enjoy walking and cycling and like so many others recognise the value of the open spaces and woodlands around us. I will work hard with the many concerned individuals and groups to maintain and improve these wonderful green spaces, including taking action on fly tipping. St Albans has been a great place to bring up a family and I am ambitious to continue to improve the facilities and environment even further for the current generation of young families. I very much look forward to meeting and working with you all.
Chris Davies, Verulam ward
Having served Verulam ward as a district councillor for the past five years, I have very much enjoyed getting to know and understand what matters to Verulam ward residents and making a positive difference. I have listened to community needs and responded by ensuring action is taken at district council.
Key initiatives I have helped facilitate include organising a conservation area working group and pushing through a council motion to stop inappropriate property development, securing a new play area, trees, benches and bins for Stephens Avenue Park, plus reinstallation of football posts following a council error, passing an environment-based motion on clean air zones and anti-idling and ensuring those residents who require safeguarding are supported during the pandemic.
There is still so much more to do and it would be a great privilege to continue to serve the community and ensure Verulam receives the very best representation it deserves.
Ben Batt, Wheathampstead ward
I'm Ben Batt, a Liberal Democrat standing for the Wheathampstead ward in the district council elections. I have lived in Wheathampstead for 46 years and I have two children and seven grandchildren. I have been a cub leader, play bridge, support the Arsenal and am the boules champion in my family. Wheathampstead is an amazing place full of life and community spirit and I feel privileged to be part of this unique village.
Wheathampstead needs a new outlook particularly concerning safe walking and cycling routes, re-wilding and our contribution to climate change. I want to see more effort put into affordable housing, more electrical points for charging vehicles and measures to eliminate fly tipping and litter. The village needs a new and stronger voice to represent its interests and my hope is that the residents will elect me in May to do just that.