Out on the campaign trail - Christian DeFeo

Christian DeFeo on the campaign trail
Christian DeFeo on the campaign trail
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When I began campaigning to be the next councillor for Eye, Thorney and Newborough, I hadn’t heard much from councillors in my area, apart from a leaflet at the 2016 election.

However, I do hear about residents experiencing issues.

So: every afternoon and evening, I’ve taken up my pen and clipboard, tied my trainers and walked down our streets. I have knocked on doors all over this ward and talked to people about the issues they live with. I am working for my community to make it a better place to live.

Eye, Thorney and Newborough is as beautifully diverse as it is large. However, if there is one overriding theme it is disconnection: people’s view of local government is that it is distant. When problems arise, the instinct to contact a local councillor for help doesn’t appear to be widespread. Some of the doors I’ve knocked on haven’t had an elected representative on their threshold for 15 years!

There are many people who need help: at time of writing I am fresh from visiting families in Thorney where I stood on the uneven surface of a road which residents have complained about for years. Residents told me the council’s bin lorries caused potholes.

Utility companies dug it up further and patched it with tarmac.

One elderly lady who has recently had her hip replaced told us she is frightened to walk along it as she may fall. The residents have despaired of getting a solution because no one wants to take responsibility.

I have written to all of the organisations involved and asked them to meet with us because they need to take collective responsibility for fixing the problems they have caused and the residents have to live with.

Previously, I canvassed a new development in Eye. It was a warm afternoon; one of the residents told me that as I proceeded along his road, I would detect a certain smell emanating from the sewers. This, he said, is because the development wasn’t well planned. He was right: poor planning for infrastructure appears to be an endemic problem.

I met with the chairman of Thorney FC to look at their clubhouse, which was built in 1973, and now crumbling and cannot be used. The club, which will be 50 years old next year, could be homeless. I have developed an action plan; I will be meeting with them again soon to work with them to implement a solution.

Recently I canvassed Newborough where I witnessed an example of road safety needing to be addressed; a mother living nearby said she wouldn’t allow her young son to ride his bicycle there.

I will keep going. Even if I am not elected on Thursday 7 th September, I will continue to work for change.

More than being a candidate, I regard the people of this ward as my neighbours, part of a single community. I believe when a community gets together, the seeds of solutions are planted.