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Dragon Interview: Barry Keane – Conservative Candidate in the Stoke By-election

Published on: 16 Apr, 2016
Updated on: 18 Apr, 2016

Barry Keane is the Conservative candidate in the Guildford Borough Council by-election to be held in Stoke ward on Thursday May 5th, following the resignation of William Chesterfield.

The by-election is a three-way contest between the Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour. Each of the three candidates have been posed the same set of questions. We are publishing interviews with all three candidates.

Barry Keane, Conservative candidate for Stoke ward on May 7.

Barry Keane, Conservative candidate for Stoke ward on May 7.

How long have you been a member of your party, what motivated you to join and why did you decide to stand at this by-election?

Been a Conservative voter all my life, but not a paid up member of the party until standing in the election. Really believe that a ward is best served by a councillor who lives in the community.

What skills and experience would you be able to offer as a borough councillor?

Former chairman of Weyfield Residents Association and long time campaigner on the Slyfield Area Regeneration Plan (SARP). I understand the issues that affect residents and not afraid to vocalise and stand up for their concerns and have a proven track record of doing so.

Do you live in Stoke ward? If elected, what are the main problems within the ward that you would want to address?

Yes, have lived on Old Farm Road for over 12 years. Main issues include a severe lack of social housing, which I believe SARP goes some way to addressing, parking and speeding cars. If elected I want to engage with the new Police and Crime Commissioner and the borough council to kick start community policing, which in turn can tackle anti-social behaviour.

conservatives logoDo you agree that giving up 1.6% of the green belt around Guildford for housing, as proposed in the revised Local Plan, is the right thing to do?

I think this needs to be looked at on a case by case basis and if new developments actually include green spaces, such as parks, to help mitigate. The most valuable areas need to be protected, but the Clay Lane link road should be looked at as being a positive.

Do you think that the target housing number given in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment of 693 per annum is desirable and achievable and do you agree with those that say Guildford needs to grow or it will die?

The average house price in Guildford, according to Right Move, is between £450k and £550k. The average salary is roughly £45k. So it is clear that an average person, or even average couple, can’t buy an average house in the area.

Once people start moving away from an area it invariably withers and dies. My partner is from Redcar and it really is struggling to survive as investment is draining away. So yes, more housing but in the right places and on brownfield sites.

Guildford is an affluent town but with some areas of deprivation. What more should and can be done to help those who are less well off?

Residents that I have spoken to in the doorstep want the opportunity to go out there and work, but it’s not always easy if they are a single parent family. We need more community facilities, like breakfast clubs or after school clubs, to give people the opportunity to work.

What are the good things about Guildford, and about living here, that should be encouraged and maintained?

There is a real community spirit in Guildford and especially in Stoke. I would like to see more events like the lantern procession and fireworks displays that I helped organise at Weyfield Residents Association and have more of the fun days that Bellfields Residents Association run.

Are you sure that you have the time to give to be an effective ward councillor? What work commitments do you have?

I wouldn’t have stood for the position if I didn’t think I could effectively serve my fellow residents. I’m a full time account manager which does see me away from home up to a couple of weeks a month. However, I manage my own diary so can do so around GBC committee meetings. It does mean that I will have time to focus on case work in the evenings.

Are you a Guildford Dragon NEWS reader?

Yes and even posted [comments] on some news stories.

See also our interviews with: James Walsh – Labour candidate and Hannah Thompson – Lib Dem candidate in the Stoke By-election.

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Responses to Dragon Interview: Barry Keane – Conservative Candidate in the Stoke By-election

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    April 16, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    While I wish Barry well – we need people to stand up and be counted for all our communities – I cannot see how the CLLR (Clay Lane Link Road) can ‘be a positive’ when there is no proven traffic need to divert traffic into a high level traffic area.

    It will, without SARP, have in excess of 6,000 vehicles, on this ‘vehicle dumping’ ground of Burpham, when no one knows where the traffic actually goes. Damming a flood plain is also ‘irrational and could be classed as an act of vandalism for the community as a whole.

    As for releasing the green belt – the case by case basis is actually the ‘second’ principle, not the first. The first principle is do we want to change the green belt boundaries? If, and only if, that is agreed then do we move to a case by case basis as the second principle.

    As for brownfield sites I have one major concern. If the brownfield site is already ‘in use’ as an employment site – where are the workers presently on the site going to work and where are the inhabitants of the new homes going to work it if the site they live on was their only source of potential employment?

    I make no claim to having the answers but…

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