Independent ratepayers have got a second foothold in Blythe, as candidate Josh O’Nyons joins Dickens Heath Parish Council after last week’s by-election.
Following Linda Brown’s success in May – taking a Blythe borough seat from the Tories – Coun O’Nyons became the second Ratepayer councillor in the ward, which has become ‘a major focus’ for the group.
“People felt their voices were not being heard by the borough council,” said the first-time parish councillor.
“The chair of Dickens Heath Parish Council is a Conservative. He tends to lean toward whatever the borough council is proposing – so there isn’t much opposition.
“Being independent of local parties’ control, we have the freedom to speak out on behalf of our communities.” Coun O’Nyons, who works as a political advisor, said he had stood against further development around Blythe ward’s three villages; Cheswick Green, Tidbury Green, and Dickens Heath.
“Plans for the over-development of the villages and land inbetween, which the borough council revealed through its Local Development Framework... will be a massive development in the countryside,” he added. Lots of local people were unhappy with the consultation process.
“The parish council needs to stand up for itself, and its residents, a bit more. It’s a statutory body which should carry more weight on planning issues.”
The by-election was held by Dickens Heath Parish Council, after Coun Vaseem Arfan chose to stand down recently.