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December 18 2014.

Councillor Steve Saunders writes:

I have been increasingly amused by the myriad of election material that comes through my door from opposing parties. As a Liberal Democrat Councillor, I understand the value that such material has in getting the message out to the electorate. It attempts to inform them of what has been achieved since we last asked for people's trust in voting for us and what we hope to get done in the future.

I have had a Christmas card from UKIP, sent through the post at vast expense I'm sure, and whilst I always try and return the favour of a card during this festive period, I hope they'll forgive me for not doing so this year. I have also received several leaflets from the prospective parliamentary candidate for the Conservatives, along with another personally posted survey for my Son and I to complete, against some very loaded questions. I have completed this survey, but have not been able to tick many of the suggested boxes and added my own suggestions instead - I hope they don't mind. I have used their kindly included pre-paid envelope for the reply, which must cost them a lot too. I did notice and of course pointed out to Ms. Caulfield in my reply, that many of her manifesto pledges appeared to have been lifted from Norman Baker's list. For instance, she curiously supported Norman's fight against her Conservative County Councillors' hugely unpopular scheme to cut bus services across the County. She wrongly accuses Newhaven Town Council of forcing housing on the area through our Neighbourhood Plan, when all we are doing as a Council is engaging with everyone to try and ensure the impact of the government led targets, (not ours), are sympathetically placed and due regard is placed on the required health, educational and highways infrastructure. She claims that attendance at our consultation meetings has been low, as the Town Council has not advertised them enough. After advertising them here at Haven News, other local publications, our own hand-delivered quarterly magazine, the District Council's Magazine, social media, we are unsure of what else we can do to get people along.

Whilst mentioning the Town Council's own non-political information booklet 'Newhaven Matters', it is interesting to note that even that title has been stolen by Ms. Caulfield and her Tory campaign team. Our Town Clerk has written to her team to ask why they have chosen to use it as a title for their political literature. We would hate to think that there was any possibility that the prospective Conservative parliamentary candidate for Newhaven was in fact unaware of the town council’s publication and that the choice of name was a coincidence. This would reveal a worrying lack of local awareness.

I would venture to suggest that in this festive period, the money spent by the Tories and UKIP on posting leaflets and Christmas cards to thousands of households across the county would be better spent if they donated to to the bus service that they chose to cut.

For my part, I would like to wish all the readers of Haven News a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. I look forward to all the information that this great service shares with the community. Thanks to Andy and the team.

I now look forward to the possibility of an Easter Egg through the post ahead of the elections next year from UKIP and/or the Conservatives - not that there's much difference between them of course.

Cllr. Steve Saunders
District and Town Councillor
(Newhaven Valley)