Kate OnionsA By-Election is taking place in Witham South on Thursday, 7th December 2017, for a vacancy on the Town Council caused by a Tory resignation.

The Liberal Democrat candidate is Kate Onions.

About Kate

Kate is a local mum, having lived in Witham for over 10 years.

She has worked in local schools as a teacher and special needs coordinator, and has also run toddler story and rhyme times for Witham's library groups. She volunteers for Essex Country Parks as well as several nature conservation groups, as someone passionate about the Essex countryside and local wildlife preservation.

Professionally, Kate has formerly worked as an assistant Head Teacher, and as an educator for the Council through Essex Country Parks. She is currently undertaking a Masters in Special Educational Needs.

She is married with one son, who attended Chipping Hill Primary School until recently.

Kate's Priorities for Witham South

Kate has been talking to local residents on the Maltings and Howbridge Estates which form large parts of the ward. These are the key issues she would try to tackle if elected:

  1. Holding Developers to Account

    The council is not doing enough to force developers to follow through on their promises. The plans for Maltings Estate included shops, pharmacy and medical facilities as well as the playing field and sports amenities. There is no sign of these materialising, and it is an absolute travesty that the playing field and basket ball courts have been created and but left locked and out of use for years. It is because of this neglect that travellers were able to make an encampment on the site earlier this year.

    Kate plans to harangue the developers and ask the hard questions to get the timetable for completing this work. In addition, she will work to ensure that these mistakes are not repeated in future developments - and that timetables for amenities promised are laid out clearly in the plans, with penalties or other means for the council to enforce their construction. This includes providing adequate parking for any new estates, which is chronically lacking!

  2. Our Doctors and Schools

    The pressure on our current doctors' surgeries and schools is mounting and will only get worse with the new estates being built. It is vital that plans are put in place NOW to increase the numbers of doctor's surgeries, and school places in Witham. Whilst the town council has no direct control over this, Kate will be a loud voice in lobbying for better funding at all levels to prevent the crisis point we are heading towards.

  3. Crime prevention and policing

    Witham has suffered since the closure of the local police station and the recent spate of burglaries, van break-ins, as well as anti-social behaviour is a testament to that. Kate believes Witham deserves a more visible policing presence and she plans to help residents who report issues, to get the kind of follow-up that they deserve. Kate supports the local neighbourhood watch schemes and will assist all efforts to improve communication between residents and law enforcement. Policing and fire matters should never have been centralised under the unaccountable, under-qualified post of Police and Crime Commissioner - now that it has been, it's vital that local representatives lobby hard to get the PCC to pay attention to Witham.

Kate is keen to hear more about the concerns of residents in Witham South - email her on kate_onions@hotmail.com.