Council elections: who are St Albans Conservative candidates?
- Credit: Lisa Scriven
We meet the candidates from the Conservative Party standing for election at county and district level on May 6.
Annie Brewster - Harpenden Rural (County)
Annie has served her community for over 15 years being a parish, district and county councillor. She was Mayor of St Albans City & District 2013/14 and was responsible for the development of the new Museum + Gallery in St Albans.
She is a champion of safe cycle routes and supports appropriate 20mph schemes. She recently won funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner to explore speed cameras on the Redbourn Road and have funded all new village speed indicator smiley face devices. Battles won include reinstating the Redbourn school bus service and securing free bus travel to KWS for all Wheathampstead pupils.
She is Vice-Chair of Luton Airport’s Consultative Forum and is fighting to reduce historic low flying impacts on our villages, particularly unacceptable in Sandridge and outlying parts of Redbourn and Wheathampstead.
David Williams – Harpenden North East (County)
David has been the county councillor for Harpenden North East since 2013 and leader of the county council since 2017. Nationally, he chairs the County Councils Network representing authorities serving 26m people. He will continue to use his experience to support local residents.
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He has a passion that local growth builds on the strengths of the Hertfordshire economy, is sustainable, delivers good quality homes to meet local housing needs and is supported by the right infrastructure. Helping secure infrastructure has been a key focus for him – notably Katherine Warrington School but also the 3G pitch at Roundwood Park School.
David is ready to face the challenges of SADC’s plans for significant development in North West and North East Harpenden together with Luton Airport’s expansion plans.
He has lived in Harpenden for 26 years and his children were educated at local state schools.
Teresa Heritage – Harpenden South West (County)
Teresa, a former Harpenden Town Mayor, has been a county councillor since 2008 having served the Harpenden Community for 30 years.
Teresa is champion for children and young people across the county. In response to the financial and health issues caused by Covid, she has used her county role to establish a countywide family poverty strategy, countywide free school meals and school holiday activity schemes. Teresa advocates on young people’s mental health both locally and nationally; supports and will work to provide safer streets and 20mph roads/areas where residents want them and has a keen focus on improved drainage/flooding schemes in Harpenden.
She lists as some of her successes, working with community volunteers on the rebuilding of the play areas in Southdown; the establishment of the Harpenden Hopper; the building of Katherine Warrington School, together with various road safety schemes in Harpenden.
Beric Read: Colney Heath & Marshalswick (County)
Beric has lived in Colney Heath and then Marshalswick since the mid-90s and runs his own business from an office in St Albans city centre. He is a chartered physicist, designing and making custom lens systems
Over the past few years as a district councillor, he has been Deputy Mayor and a cabinet member starting a number of local business and environmental initiatives and events like the St Albans Weekend.
As a member of the St Albans Quieter Skies group, he has liaised between our MPs and council and has been involved in the flooding mitigation measures and have very recently been in discussion with agencies about the current high groundwater levels.
Beric hopes to bring a wide experience from local council and business to the role of county councillor, dealing with roads, schools, care, and other areas, in these challenging and new times.
Salih Gaygusuz: Marshalswick South (District) and St Albans North (County)
Originally from Turkey, Salih came to St Albans in 1972, starting work at the Wimpy Bar in Chequer Street. By 1978 Salih had bought Harry Smith’s Wine Bar on Verulam Road and then various other businesses in St Albans and London
He stood as a candidate for Marshalswick South ward in 2006 and represented the ward for 12 years. Salih served as Mayor of St Albans and District (2016-2017), and later became portfolio holder for business and community.
Salih is passionate about the city centre and the Charter Market, which creates so much economic support and vitality for our local retailers. He thinks it is crucial to do all we can to keep it vibrant and attractive. He is proud of our city’s history and architecture, wants to protect it and sees it as vital to attracting people to live, work and visit St Albans.
Georgie Callé: St Peters Ward (District) and St Albans central (County)
Georgie Callé lives in central St Albans and works in communications.
Speak to anyone who knows Georgie and they will tell you she is a passionate person with lots of energy to effect positive change in our city.
As someone who regularly sees friends priced out of buying or moving up the ladder in St Albans, improving planning and housing is Georgie's number one priority. This includes doing what she can to help residents through the cladding and leasehold scandal.
You might be surprised to learn there are flats in St Peter's that still do not have recycling bins. Georgie will give help to anyone who needs it to get them, as she has done in her own block.
These are just a couple of things Georgie cares greatly about. As a 'ouncillor her focus will always be to provide excellent services while maintaining value for money.
Sarah Tallon - London Colney (County and District)
Sarah Tallon is standing to be London Colney's district and county councillor as she wants to bring back enthusiasm, motivation, and positive change.
Sarah is in her 20s and has grown up in St Albans. She has been instilled with a strong sense of public duty and wishes to actively engage residents – politics should be a two-way street.
Sarah volunteers on London Colney’s Neighbourhood Plan, engaging with residents and local businesses to set a post-pandemic path. She is concerned by reports from independent businesses that they have been unsupported this past year. With Government support available, a Conservative council will seize opportunities to apply for funding successfully and revive our local areas so that our High Street may build back better and stronger.
Sarah’s personal campaigns are to protect and preserve London Colney's green spaces from overdevelopment, work on solutions to the lack of parking and help create a safer neighbourhood.
Susan Devi: Sopwell (District) and St Albans South (County)
Susan was a councillor for Colney Heath Parish Council, a role she really enjoyed. She served on different committees that involved local planning, environmental, transport and performed public engagement roles such as Remembrance Day and High Sheriff ceremonials.
Susan has worked for a local charity that helps the homeless. She volunteers work as a youth leader, organises annual community sports day for all ages to stay active and fit, and is involved in community engagement liaison supporting the local police, council, and equality partnerships to help create a more inclusive, fairer, and cohesive community. Susan is deputy chair of a patient participation group dealing with local health and social care issues and has been involved in the consultation for our local hospital. With challenges ahead Susan seeks to deliver investment to enhance lives.
Paul Foster – Harpenden East (District)
Paul was first elected to St Albans district council and Harpenden Town Council over 20 years ago. He is a former Harpenden Town Mayor, an honorary member of the Harpenden Trust, an Honorary Townsman, and an Honorary Alderman of St Albans district council. He is also a trustee of a national charity Friends of the Elderly and a Commissioner of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, the home of the Chelsea Pensioners.
Paul says that as Town Mayor it was humbling to see how many Harpenden residents help others in need. The kindness all-around was inspiring and has motivated him to do more for society.
Paul is a chartered surveyor with over 35 years’ experience planning, creating, and operating built assets. He is the chairman of the UK’s leading developer of later living accommodation, a director of a leading specialist healthcare management consultancy, and a director of a social housing provider.
Matt Stephens – Harpenden East (District)
Matt and his family have lived in Harpenden for 10 years. Matt considers Harpenden an amazing place to live and wants to do everything possible to see it continue as a great, safe and enjoyable environment to live in. Matt has three children, so schooling is at the top of his agenda.
He will work to ensure the district council plans properly for growth and that any planned housing is developed following consideration of the impact on local infrastructure particularly parking, schools and road traffic. He has been a district councillor since 2016 and is currently the chair of the Planning (Development Control) Committee North at the district council, covering Harpenden.
Over the last two years he been chair of PARC the charity raising funds for a new playpark for Rothampsted Park, helping it reach the £250,000 target needed for families to benefit from the new facilities this summer!
Susan Griffiths – Harpenden North (District)
Sue and her family have lived in Harpenden for 33 years, educating her children at local state schools.
She is passionate about helping young people succeed in life and has always sought to foster entrepreneurship. She has recently retired from working for over 18 years as a local secondary teacher but is now working part-time as a business lecturer at a nearby college and at the University of Hertfordshire. Young Enterprise recently recognised the contribution she made by working locally with aspiring teenage entrepreneurs over the last 15 years.
At the heart of Sue’s pledge, if elected, is that she will be dedicated to supporting the vibrant and diverse community of Harpenden. She wants a safe and healthy environment for all Harpenden residents, whatever stage of life they are in, and wants to make all feel welcome.
Mark Beashel – Harpenden South (District)
Mark has enjoyed living in the Harpenden for the past 17 years. He is married with an 11-year-old daughter. After graduating from university, Mark qualified as a chartered accountant and has spent most of his career in the City of London. He is currently working as a consultant on a FinTech project.
He is a former governor of St Dominic’s School in Harpenden and his interests include education, current affairs, football and preserving the environment.
As the district emerges from the pandemic, he hopes to use his finance, strategy, and planning skills to help the local community get back on its feet, encourage everyone to support the fantastic local businesses and recapture the positive energy that helps make Harpenden such a special place.
David Heritage – Harpenden South (District)
David has lived in Harpenden for over 30 years and have represented Harpenden South since 2011 as a district councillor and as a town councillor since 2016. He served as Town Mayor in 2018/2019.
His family has had a business in St Albans for over 40 years, so understands the problems faced by small businesses trying to survive especially post pandemic. He will do all he can to help promote and sustain the vitality of the High Street and Southdown.
If re-elected, he will stand up for Harpenden and ensure that resident’s views are heard especially in relation to development and planning enforcement. He considers it important that we have a town and environment that is sustainable and in tune with modern needs whilst at the same time protecting the unique character and culture that so many people love and which we are all fortunate to live in.
Lisa Scriven – Harpenden West (District)
Lisa has been a town councillor since 2019 and her primary focus has been to bring a flagship play area to Rothamsted Park. Lisa is a trustee of Playpark Action Rothamsted Committee (PARC), the charity established to engage the community and raise the required £250 000 for this initiative. She has worked closely with the district council through the tender and design process and is excited to see the park delivered in summer 2021.
She will be Deputy Mayor of Harpenden in 2021/22 and looks forward to supporting the many community events that take place locally. She is particularly interested in exploring opportunities for projects that focus on engaging teenagers and encouraging individuals and families alike to spend more time enjoying the benefits of the outdoors.
Lisa is married and has two daughters, is a practising chiropractor and is a lover of all things equestrian.
Thomas Chapman – Redbourn (District)
Thomas moved to the district from London 13 years ago. He believes Redbourn village has a unique character with much to offer with its range of local amenities, the Common at its heart and its incredible sense of community that is refreshingly inclusive.
Inclined to give back to such a wonderful village; he is running as the Conservative district council candidate for Redbourn as he hopes that in doing so he will be able to contribute to maintaining the village’s idyllic character and vitality by representing the views of the local community especially around the protection of the greenbelt, the survival of the High Street and other rural issues.
He wants to ensure that the parishes of Redbourn, Harpenden Rural and St Michael’s - which boast such a proud history - remain incredible places to live.
Gill Clark – Wheathampstead (District)
Gill has lived in Wheathampstead for more than 50 years. For 17 of those years, she has served the village as a district councillor and for longer as a parish councillor.
She will continue to strive to keep the character of the village and retain Wheathampstead as the place where people want to live.
She is determined to root out and do something about the issues that concern local people. Gill is particularly concerned about social housing problems (Chairing the Housing Liaison Committee has helped her to keep well informed) and planning matters.
Gill currently sits on the Nomansland committee and has encouraged support for a safe cycle route from the Heartwood Forest towards Wheathampstead. She has worked with fellow councillors to keep the Sunday bus services, which are vital for those not able to drive.
Aaron Jacob - St Stephen (District)
Aaron is passionate about assisting small businesses to thrive post-Covid. He is aware of forecasts that St Albans ‘High Street’ will decline over the next few years and wants to help it adapt and thrive, with everyone enjoying our historic, cultural and hospitality offering.
Lockdown for Covid has shown him that we need to conserve and protect green spaces, not only as part of a general effort to build a more sustainable City and District, but also to promote physical and mental wellbeing.
As a marathon runner, Aaron can regularly be found running in either Verulamium Park or along the River Ver and is keen to bring the river back to life. He used to work in the telecommunications industry, specifically in trying to roll out full-fibre broadband across the UK and latterly in compliance. He is now training to be a solicitor.
Alex Clark - Verulam (District)
Alex was born at St Albans Hospital in 1986 and grew up in Park Street village, before moving to the city centre when she was 26. Alex attended St Albans Girls School all the way through to A Levels before moving onto university in London. She currently runs her own local business, working in upholstery and interiors.
Throughout Alex’s life, she has always lived in St Albans and feels she has similar experiences to residents who live here.
Whether that would be commuting into London with extortionate fares, buying a house in one of the most expensive cities in the country or the stress of trying to get her child into a local school.
Alex feels we have a council who consistently puts its own needs and finances above the residents and who too often, make huge decisions before consulting with the public - this needs to change.
Claudio Duran - Marshalswick North (District)
Claudio has been a parish councillor in Marshalswick North since 2012. Currently, he chai’s the Finance Committee that takes care of taxpayers' money and the Planning Committee that discusses every planning application in the parish. They liaise with SADC when issues arise.
Claudio has lived in St Albans for over 35 years. Following his Masters in Business, he founded ENA Care Group Ltd. In 2014 Claudio was awarded Freedom of the City of London and became a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Claudio is passionate about improving our city's life and its environment for our residents. He has been active in the campaign against the expansion of Luton Airport and deplores the amount of litter we see in our city and seeks to improve rubbish collection to decrease fly-tipping. Claudio is a passionate advocate for democracy.
Ambrose Killen – Clarence (District)
Ambrose was born in St Albans, attended local schools, and have lived here for over 40 years. He served for over 30 years in the Hertfordshire Constabulary.
Ambrose also worked for a year at the British Embassy in Moscow. He subsequently worked as a civil servant, before re-joining the police, serving with the British Transport, Civil Nuclear, and the Metropolitan Police. Ambrose was commended for leadership, courage, and professionalism, during the 2011 Tottenham riots.
In 2018, Ambrose received a degree in Biomedicine and Molecular Biology from Birkbeck, London.
He is an active member of two NHS Research Ethics Committees, examining ethical aspects of early phase drug trials, including the latest COVID-19 research.
Ambrose particularly supports the conservation of all our precious open spaces and is a member of the Ver Valley Society. He opposes superficial ‘Greenwash’ policies, and looks towards real improvements in roads, pavements, and the urban landscape.
Don Deepthi Ratnasekera – Ashley (District)
Don is a proud resident of St Albans, where he has lived for over 30 years. Don is married and lives with his wife and two daughters who attend local schools.
Don’s personal campaign as your local Conservative candidate is to protect and preserve our green space and green belt from immediate threats from over development and create a safer and peaceful neighbourhood for all. Don is frustrated by the lack of investment in the area, and would like to see better cycling and walking facilities.
Don, with your support, will work hard to bring positive changes to the city and district. He will represent everyone in the community.
Richard Curthoys - Park Street (District)
Having been a Conservative councillor since 2015, Richard’s passion is planning and helping residents navigate the unnecessarily complicated planning laws which are sometimes ridiculous and can be very frustrating. He believes we need to:
Protect the Green Belt but build affordable housing to keep our young people in the area.
Provide quality local services at affordable prices.
Halt the unnecessary above inflation rises in council tax. There is too much bureaucracy in local government, and it serves no one.
Richard made a difference by changing the local planning regulations concerning work on council owned properties. We had the ridiculous situation of the Housing Department applying to the planning department for planning permission to change windows and door on standard council properties. This has been scrapped saving time and money.
Jordon Sweeny - Cunningham (District)
Jordon wants to help to promote local businesses within the district as well as ensuring the high-quality public services St Albans residents rightly expect and deserve. He want St Albans to be an area that works for all age groups.
He believes that a Conservative-led district council is best placed to deliver for St Albans without increases to council taxes above inflation and stealth taxes on garden waste collection as seen under Liberal Democrat leadership.
Jordon has a strong connection to St Albans, having first moved to the area in 2002 with his family. Jordon studied Civil Engineering at the University of Bath, which is where he first became interested in politics. He currently lives in Cunningham ward whilst working locally in Hertfordshire as an engineer.
Ross Andrews -Batchwood (District)
Ross has lived in St Albans his entire life and proud to call it home, but he believes that more can be done to create a fairer, safer, and more prosperous place for us all.
Life is not always easy, the last year has certainly highlighted that, but small things can make the difference. It is not fair that the Liberal Democrats will tax you for green waste, a move that will hit lower income families the hardest. The Conservatives would scrap it.
We will make sure that Club Batchwood gets the support it needs to continue setting the bar for vaccination centres nationally.
This election is about you, your family and your community, the things that really matter. We recognise that. Together we can make sure that the residents of Batchwood are heard.
Stella Nash - St Stephens (County)
Stella grew up in St Albans and loves living here. She has three adult children living locally.
Stella was an executive director within the NHS. Her passion for health and well-being led Stella to found her own fitness company and she has grown it to international level.
Stella turned to local politics to help give her community a voice. Having achieved her goals, she wanted to help others achieve theirs.
Elected in 2018 as a district councillor for the Park Street and Bricket Wood East Ward, Stella hit the ground running.
She is currently chair of Planning, (Development Control) Committee South, and sits on scrutiny committees and working groups. She would like the opportunity to ensure county level funding is made available locally to build businesses, create jobs and improve infrastructure, including outstanding schools.