St. Mary’s Ward
Laurence Chapman: Candidate for St. Mary’s Ward
My name is Laurence Chapman and I am the Labour candidate for St. Mary’s ward in the borough elections.
Firstly, I would like to wish good health to everyone in these troubling times.
A little about me:
I am a volunteer and committee member of the Benfleet Horticultural Society and I am also studying for a degree in Horticulture at Writtle University. I have lived in Benfleet all my life.
I worked in education for almost a decade, having taught at Jotmans Hall Primary School and I was also part of the child safeguarding team at SEEVIC (now USP College). I also have a degree in Sociology.
I believe we need a Local Plan that benefits everyone in Castle Point and that protects our Green Belt. Affordable houses should be a priority within this as too many young people have had to move out of the area due to the lack of starter homes and appropriate housing. I strongly believe that those young people who wish to stay close to their families when setting out on their own should have the opportunity to do so.
If my experience in horticulture has taught me anything, it is the importance of green spaces. From having a positive impact on our wellbeing and mental health, to providing habitats for the wildlife and insects which are so important for our food production, and beyond. Protection of Green Belt land is something I am passionate about and would seek to enforce if elected as we cannot hope to reverse the damage of climate change and pollution whilst simultaneously destroying our Green Belt.
Turning the streetlights back on at night is another issue I feel very strongly about. Keeping them on overnight would make it safer to walk and drive in Castle Point at night and would decrease the rate of crime by deterring criminals who would no longer be able to act under cover of darkness. I believe we should follow the example of the Labour led Southend Council who have upgraded their streetlights to LED which are more environmentally friendly and cost effective.
The roads in Castle Point are not in a good way. This is something that has become painfully apparent to me whilst making deliveries to those isolating during the pandemic. Drivers should not have to dodge potholes whilst driving as this is a risk to all road users and pedestrians as well as causing damage to our cars. I would push for faster actions to be taken when dealing with potholes and road damage so that they are not left to get progressively worse and eventually cost the tax payer more money to repair.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and stay safe.