ELECTIONS 2015: Borough candidates speak


The candidates vying for 12 seats on Crawley Borough Council have given their reasons for standing for election.


Chris Cheshire (Lab)

Chris taught at Thomas Bennett Community College until disability caused her to retire early. Since then, she has been an active councillor, representing Bewbush for 11 years.

During that time Chris has been active in campaigns on issues such as saving the play areas, housing issues and safeguarding the local playing fields.

She has also assisted over a dozen groups to organise residential improvement activities, helped to deliver the ‘Bewbush Centre’ and played a role in setting up the ‘Talk Bewbush’ Forum. If re-elected this May, Chris will continue to give her time, energy and commitment to working for Bewbush.

Simon Darroch (UKIP)

I was born in Crawley in April 1965. I was raised and educated by working class parents and have worked most of my life including running my own business.

If elected I want to prioritise helping Bewbush residents with any problem they might have working in co-ordination with Chris Brown UKIP PC.

I also want to have a platform to roll out my business plan which includes many ideas including promoting Crawley around the world to create investment in Crawley and provide that depth that’s missing from people’s finances here. And break up Labour’s dominance and provide more choice in Bewbush.

Arshad Khan (Justice)

“People should vote for Justice party because it is the only party that talks sense. Justice party will make sure people get appointment with doctor and will make sure the doctor issues the correct medicine to cure people’s illness otherwise I will kick the incompetent doctor out.

Britain has more people employed in National Health service than in Chinese Army. 5.2 million people are employed in NHS and yet NHS have failed to help the population of Britain. NHS has become bureaucracy and hypocrisy. Justice party will solve the issues that other parties sweep under the carpet.”

Richard Kail (Green Party)

I’m your Green Party candidate for Bewbush. I’m 19 years of age, and yes, I am new to the politics scene.

What I’m not new to, are the issues that affect us all in the area, I’m not new to watching our natural areas reduced, to our voice not being listened to, to watching people struggle to get by. I’ll change that, I’ll be making an effort to hear what people need. I’ll make an effort to do something about it. Vote Green!

Patrick Reid (Con): “I have lived in Bewbush all my life and have seen that Bewbush has only ever had Labour councillors. Many local residents are telling me they feel taken for granted and that change is needed with a fresh approach. I believe we can do better and as your councillor, I will challenge the status quo in Bewbush. The Conservatives brought many improvements to Bewbush, including at Bewbush Park, the Bewbush Centre and much needed new housing. I bring aspiration for Bewbush and a desire to improve our neighbourhood. I offer a clear choice of being the local champion Bewbush needs.”


David Anderson (Lib Dem): “I was educated in Crawley and have worked in the public and private sectors, in Crawley and internationally as a financial consultant.

I would use this experience to provide effective scrutiny of council budgets to give value for money for Furnace Green residents.

In addition to addressing the concerns of Furnace Green residents, I would focus on promoting improved road safety and bus services, ensuring the continuation of free public access to Tilgate Park and environs, and ensuring sustainable and appropriate housing development.

In a wider context, I am interested in the protection of civil and human rights.”

Duncan Crow (Con): “I have been councillor for Furnace Green since 2003 and it is the neighbourhood I will always call home.

I am a proud father of my 18 year old daughter who has been brought up in Furnace Green and I believe that being part of the Furnace Green community has been very positive for us both.

My motivation is to give something back. I want all residents of Furnace Green to be happy living in the neighbourhood and I place great emphasis on quality of life and the local environment.

If re-elected, I can continue to deliver for Furnace Green.”

Allan Griffiths (UKIP)

Allan moved to Crawley in 1975 and has lived in Furnace Green ever since.

He has two sons and two grandchildren. During his career, Allan became dismayed at the declining standards of morals and ethics in the business world which contributed to the financial crash in 2008 for which we are still paying.

Allan believes Westminster is becoming increasingly disconnected from the real world with so many politicians having no life experience outside of politics.

This is why voting turn-out at elections has been in decline. He hopes to help UKIP reverse this unhealthy trend.

Tony Patel (Lab): Tony has lived in Crawley for over 40 years and in that time has raised a son and two daughters in the town, run several local businesses and played an active role in the local community.

Tony is passionate about Crawley and, having now retired, he is looking to give back to the town by helping to serve the needs of the local community.

Having previously worked at Crawley Borough Council for a number of years, Tony has a good understanding of local government and is well placed to help deliver the change which Crawley and Furnace Green now needs.


Chris Brown (UKIP)

I have lived in Crawley for 19 years and have worked at Gatwick since 1988. I am standing for the council as a UKIP candidate as I agree with many of their policies.

For too long this council has been dominated by the same old faces, many of which have served multiple terms and seem to put party politics above the people they should be representing. A vote for me is a vote for your voice to be properly heard. It is time to elect some new blood with a can - do attitude. Vote UKIP for positive change on May 7th.

Jason Vine (Lab): Jason has lived in Crawley for over 36 years. He grew up in Gossops Green and attended the local schools before going on to raise a family of his own in the neighbourhood. Jason has a hands-on approach to community issues, he has previously been a school governor, chaired the patient participation group of a local GP surgery and has played an active role on a neighbourhood forum. If elected, Jason promises to work hard to resolve local issues in the neighbourhood and to ensure that the voice of residents in Gossops Green is clearly heard on Crawley Borough Council.

Lisa Vitler (Con): “I have lived in Crawley all my life and have two children who are now young working adults.

I work for a charity that provides a mental health wellbeing service.

I believe I have the skills and experience to be an effective community champion for Gossops Green, ensuring that residents are strongly and fairly represented.

If elected, I will be an active councillor who will work hard for you and the neighbourhood.

I want to provide effective leadership to tackle local issues, including looking at improving parking provision in Gossops Green, especially in the area near to the railway station.”


Sue Mullins (Lab): Born in Crawley, Sue is married to borough councillor Chris Mullins, with four grown up children.

Sue has been a teacher for 40 years and previously served the community as a school governor.

Sue currently represents Ifield as a county councillor and knows the local issues and problems well, fighting Tory-controlled West Sussex County Council for the investment in Education, Highways and Social Care which Crawley deserves.

Sue has considerable knowledge, expertise and energy to bring to the role of borough councillor and believes that, if elected, she can make a real difference representing

Ifield residents on Crawley Borough Council.

Martin Stone (Con): “I was brought up and went to school in Ifield and have lived and worked in Crawley for over 40 years. I was married at St Margaret’s Church and I am an active member of the congregation, as well as being a governor at St Margaret’s School. Ifield has a wonderful community spirit and I would be honoured to serve the neighbourhood and be the resident’s voice. Dedicated and committed, I will always put the interests of Ifield first. I am keen to address resident’s concerns in local planning matters and to improve Crawley town centre and Ifield’s local environment.”


Sharon Kennett (UKIP)

I live in Langley Green, work part-time, and am a mother to three children and grandmother to one.

I understand the pressures on those of us who lead busy lives. I am standing to represent the residents of Langley Green as I am passionate about our community.

I have lived in this ward for 15 years and promise to listen to your views and do my very best to represent you. Please consider casting your vote for me on May 7th.

Kevin Osborne (Lib Dem)

“I am employed locally in Southern Railway Customer Services and lived most of my life in Langley Green.

I am familiar with the local issues, such as housing, low pay and, of course, potential Gatwick expansion.

If elected I would seek to uphold the Liberal Democrat tradition of community politics.

Residents should be kept informed all year round.

A leaflet or two from councillors only at election time is not good enough: thousands of residents were deprived of Langley Green’s surgery for over a year yet had to rely largely on word-of-mouth for news of its return.”

Andrew Jagger (Con)

“Having lived in Langley Green for a number of years and with family and friends still there, I feel I have first-hand knowledge of the issues facing the neighbourhood.

I have worked in business all my life and specialise in helping individuals and businesses with their financial troubles.

I find this very rewarding and feel the skills I have gained through my work can be transferred into making Langley Green and Crawley a better place.

Langley Green is a growing neighbourhood.

More infrastructure and innovative parking improvements are needed. Langley Green needs fresh ideas and impetus - it needs change.”

Andrew Skudder (Lab): Andrew lives in Langley Green with his wife, Jayne, and their son, two cats and two dogs. After leaving college he worked for the computer manufacturer ICL for 12 years, since then he has managed IT systems in London Underground, run a telecoms and radio systems help desk, and now manages project risks for a Crawley-based aerospace company.

Andrew has previously served as a borough councillor in Crawley, during which time he was elected Deputy Mayor and served as Chair of the Development Control Committee.

In the 2010 General Election, Andrew was Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate in the Horsham constituency.


Sumon Ahmed (Lab): “I feel honoured to have been selected as the Labour Crawley Borough Council candidate for Maidenbower. As a young person, I believe I can bring a fresh, long-term perspective to the council and new energy to the role of representing one of Crawley’s largest neighbourhoods. I have been involved in community activity for a number of years now, campaigning on various issues facing Crawley and gaining experience at securing the improvements we want for our town. If elected, I will do my utmost to ensure the residents of Maidenbower benefit from a hard-working, energetic, young voice on the borough council.”

Kim Jaggard (Con): “I have lived in Crawley for over 20 years and in Maidenbower for the last 15 years. I had a long and successful career in education.

My children attended Pound Hill Infant School where I served as a Parent Governor. I became involved in local education issues, including the establishment of Oriel High School where my children later went.

If elected, I will always work in the best interests of Maidenbower residents; my aim is to support and assist local people wherever I can. I am committed to standing up for Maidenbower and getting an excellent deal for our neighbourhood.”


Tina Belben (Con): “I qualified as a chartered accountant in 1983 and moved to Crawley 30 years ago when I married my husband. I have two children both of whom enjoyed their time at local schools and I still go into their primary school as a volunteer. I believe that for our council to provide good local services for the long-term, that its books have to be balanced.

If elected, I will strive to be a local champion for Northgate, and will work to improve facilities for our young people, including having greater access to wide ranging career advice at a younger age.”

Mike Sargent (Lib Dem): “I have spent most of my career working in Crawley as a software engineer in the avionics industry, having gained degrees in physics and electronics and artificial intelligence. I work on the Manor Royal industrial estate, a 12 minute walk from my home. Speeding traffic, parking and abuse of grass verges are some of the Northgate issues requiring attention. In the longer term, the council should be seeking to devolve local planning issues to neighbourhood committees. Personal targets: 100% occupancy of council garages and, to redress a shameful inequality, local schools providing many more female engineers working in Manor Royal.”

Geraint Thomas (Lab): Geraint has been a local councillor since the 2009 Northgate by-election. A retired teacher, Geraint has been an active councillor, assisting many individual residents and supporting ‘Northgate Matters’, the local residents’ association. Geraint regularly campaigns on Northgate issues, such as opposing Northgate Surgery’s relocation across the town centre. Geraint has served on many important committees on the council, he regularly speaks in debates and has recently chaired the council’s Budget Advisory Group. Geraint is a committed local councillor and he hopes Northgate residents will once again put their faith in him by re-electing him at the local elections in May.


Carlos Castro (Lab): Carlos got into politics through his experiences with local services. Like many parents he struggled to find local school places for his kids. Despite Cameron’s pre-election commitment, the number of Crawley’s kids in oversized classes has risen by 260% since 2010. While the government hands millions to free schools, parents have to travel for miles to find a place. Carlos has also seen Crawley’s housing crisis first-hand. Under the Tories we’ve become the UK’s sixth most unaffordable place to live as housing costs outpace wages. Crawley Labour will help get prices under control by building 1,000 affordable homes over 4-years.

Kevan McCarthy (Con): “I am 47 years old, married without children. I came to Crawley in 1996, joining a local company as a graduate software engineer, in 2001 I moved to Pound Hill North. I am a member of the Pound Hill North Residents Association and manage our Website, I also participate in the Let’s FACE It! events and attend the Town Wide Forum where local associations share best practise. I am organised, sensible and persistent - essential skills for resolving issues. I am an excellent communicator with good problem solving abilities and believe I can apply my ‘common sense’ to future decisions.”

Valerie Spooner (Lib Dem): “I have lived in Pound Hill North for three years and stood as the Liberal Democrat candidate in the ward for the first time last year. I work as a Housing Officer for RNIB, solving housing problems for people with visual impairments. I would use my problem-solving skills to help my fellow residents in Pound Hill North. A number of problems with pot holes reported to me last year have largely been dealt with. I will continue to listen to residents and seek to resolve their issues – such as the parking problems in the vicinity of Three Bridges Station.”


Rory Fiveash (Lab): Rory was born and raised in Crawley, attending local schools and bringing up a family of his own in the town. He’s self-employed, running a small business online sells products to customers around the world. Like most people, Rory has experienced times when it’s been hard to get-by. He decided to run for the council after speaking with many other parents who have been left to struggle by a government which doesn’t seem to know the difficulties people face in their everyday lives. If elected, Rory will work tirelessly to ensure residents of Pound Hill and Worth are not forgotten.

Beryl MeCrow (Con): “I have nine years’ experience as a councillor and have represented Pound Hill South & Worth for the past year. I have lived in Crawley since 1959 and have three children and four grandchildren who all live in the town. I was Cabinet Member for Leisure and Cultural Services from 2006 till 2009 and am currently Shadow Cabinet Member, this being an area in which I have a continuing interest. I presently serve as a trustee for both Crawley Community Transport and Relate. If re-elected I will continue to work to represent all residents on issues affecting the community.”


Adam Brown (Libertarian)

“My main goal is to ensure the council gives value for money to the taxpayer and that as much money as possible is used for essential services instead of being wasted. I believe that local councillors should lead by example on this and so when elected I will only be accepting my allowance up to the value of the minimum wage and I will also push for a review into the amount of councillors to ensure that the council is fit for purpose. As a Libertarian I believe that the state is there to serve, not to interfere.”

Robin Fitton (Green Party)

Robin Fitton is a local family man, has lived all his life in Crawley and has worked in and around Crawley for Glaxo-Smithkline, Postmaster General and Virgin.

A Southgate resident he has a keen interest in supporting local services, seeing improvements in continuing a publicly owned NHS and social care with additional investment in local infrastructure from the West Sussex County level.

Standing for Southgate to be a strong, local voice for residents.

Michael Pickett (Lab): Mike was elected at last year’s by-election in Southgate and since then has worked to resolve issues around the neighbourhood as diverse as street cleaning and dog bins to crime and anti-social behaviour.

Mike has lived in Southgate for over 30 years and is married with three children. He’s a long-standing campaigner on local issues and he was the founding chairman of the Southgate Community Forum.

Mike has worked for many years within the legal system as an advocate, giving people access to justice.

He was also previously a governor at St Wilfrid’s and vice-chair of Crawley’s Citizens Advice Bureau.

Elke Smith (Lib Dem): “My experience of Crawley, both as a resident and in helping to organise a street party to mark the Queen’s Jubilee, is of a friendly, multicultural town.

I will work with families, schools and public bodies to promote better understanding and cultural awareness within the community.

Public areas could be used for citizens in a more productive way, especially to engage with young people. If elected I will try to improve parking and other traffic related issues for local residents.”

Jan Tarrant (Con): “I have lived in Southgate for 20 years and am secretary of the Southgate Community Forum, a member of the Southgate Conservation Area Advisory Committee and chairman of the Friends of Goff Park. I am active in the community and have campaigned to stop the loss of nursing homes in Southgate. I worked as a nurse for 25 years and now work for the charity Relate. In my nursing career, I cared for many people from all walks of life. I offer a caring approach for Southgate and will be a proud community champion if elected as our local councillor.”


Bob Burgess (Con): “I am fair-minded, hard-working and, since first elected in 2007, committed to helping the residents of Three Bridges. I encouraged the development of forums within Three Bridges so local residents have opportunities to say what is important to them and the neighbourhood they live in. Issues range from unsociable parking to problems associated with street drinking; from better play provision to appropriate housing development. On the council I have served mainly on scrutiny of council working and holding the council to account. I have also served on several outside bodies related to the council’s work.

Daryl English (Lab): Daryl was born and raised in Three Bridges, attending local schools, and has lived in Crawley her entire life. She’s married with three grown-up children and has run her own local driving school for the last 11 years.

Daryl has a long history of working for the neighbourhood and past experience of representing Three Bridges as a councillor, playing an active role on the council as vice chair of General Purposes. She previously served as a school governor at local Three Bridges schools, helping to select several head teachers, and was a founding member of the ‘Save the Schools’ Campaign.

Tim Holt (Green Party)

Born in Three Bridges, (Forge Road to be exact), 59 years ago, I was educated locally and at Ruskin College Oxford.

I have worked in both Crawley and London for the Post Office. Community activities have included parent teacher association, school governor and trade union participation.

Animal and environmental welfare, the arts and writing are my interests.

I am standing for the Green Party so that the voters of Three Bridges can, if they choose, vote for a genuinely progressive movement.

Martin Rann (UKIP)


Julian Charatan (Lab): Julian has lived in Crawley since 1989, originally moving to work for Rediffusion on Manor Royal. He has spent the past 26 years in industry, raised his teenage son in Crawley, played a role in the community and been an active participant in the Tilgate Forum. Julian wants to use his energy, knowledge and abilities in the service of Tilgate. He believes the neighbourhood is best served when it has a strong and clear voice to represent it. He won’t promise things he cannot deliver, but he will always listen, respond and work hard to deliver for the local community.

Francis Guidera (Con): “I was born at Crawley Hospital and I grew up in Crawley. As a boy, I practically lived in Tilgate Park! I lived in Tilgate for the past seven years and know the local issues well. I am a community-minded guy and I play guitar at St Bernadette’s Church on Sundays. I’m a married father with a daughter and two teen boys with special educational needs. Why me? - This is my first election. Fresh ideas. New energy. I will be a positive force at our council. You won’t find a better, more vocal, representative for Tilgate!”

Derek Hardman (Green Party)

I have consistently stood for election in this ward and share the concerns of residents over the cutting of services that build and strengthen a community and commit to preserving the area as a good place in which to live.

With others I have campaigned against the “bedroom tax” and fracking.

If elected, I will fight to bring in Green Party policies which take a long term view, protecting the most vulnerable in our community and promoting a healthy environment for all.

Crawley particularly needs a larger share of county council spending on paths, roads and social infrastructure.

James Harper (Lib Dem): “I was born in Crawley Hospital and have lived in Tilgate most of my life. I was educated at Desmond Anderson School and Thomas Bennett Community College, where I was deputy head boy. I am now studying for a university degree in Economics; if elected I would look to apply this in scrutinising the council’s budget. There is a need for safe cycle routes within Tilgate. Other issues residents have raised are the perennial problems with potholes, pavements and parking. It is regrettable that younger residents are less likely to vote and I would seek to engage them more.”