by Sian Pettman
With less than three weeks to go before the Canterbury City Council elections on May 2, public interest in the candidates standing for election is intensifying.
More than 60 people packed into St Stephen’s Church hall on Thursday evening to take part in a question and answer session.
Six of the candidates standing in St Stephen’s ward representing the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party were able to attend.
The issues debated ranged from homelessness in the city, to the effects of local government budget cuts, and controversial planning applications such as the council’s proposed extension of the Wincheap park and ride on to the Stour Valley floodplain.
One of the few subjects on which there was unanimous agreement was sustainability.
All six candidates – and subsequently a seventh who could not attend on the night – promised that if elected they would press for the council’s new Corporate Plan to reflect a strong commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and that they would promote local implementation of the goals.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include action to tackle climate change, wasteful consumption, poverty and inequality.
There will be three more opportunities for residents in the district to meet some of the candidates and question them about issues of local concern.
The next Q&A is being organised by the Canterbury Society and will take place in the Friends Meeting House in the Friars near the Marlowe Theatre at 7.30pm on Wednesday, April 17.
The expected candidates are Ben Fitter-Harding on behalf of the Conservatives, Pat Edwards on behalf of Labour, Nick Eden-Green on behalf of the Lib Dems, Stephen Peckham on behalf of the Greens and two independent candidates, Allen Tullett and Joe Egerton.
The next Q&A session is scheduled to take place in Barton ward on Wednesday, April 24 (details to be published soon).