Dear Sir,

As the election campaigning draws to a close and the frenzy of letters or electioneering leaflets are posted into recycling bins, we should be in a position to decide which of the parties to lend our vote to.

These are local elections and candidates should be judged by character, experience and past actions, or vote for a particular party, which your Dad or Mam supported. Times change and people change with the times.

Newton Aycliffe is typical of much of the north with new dwellings springing up in virtually every space, with the only safeguard being our Great Aycliffe Neighbourhood Plan which offers some protection for our beloved green areas. Many private landlords have descended onto Newton Aycliffe offering an alternative rental market to our local social housing provider livin.

Some candidates are from outside of our town boundaries and it begs the question why an outsider would wish to be involved in the politics of Newton Aycliffe. I would like to quash the idea that party politics plays a big part in the running of our council, apart from election time, councillors work together to get the best decision for this town that we all love. I would urge voters to scan leaflets for where candidates come from and act accordingly.

Labour have become too comfortable with the reins of power and have become complacent. Working for the party machine not those people who elected them.

Class used to be a big draw for the party but nowadays many residents are white collar, office or managerial. The confrontation with teaching assistants and the closing of the Durham Light Infantry Museum showed a side of Labour which left a bad taste in the mouth of County Durham residents.

Labour Councillors, now calling themselves Democratic Socialists, have become so arrogant that they refuse to discuss issues which concern Newtonians, i.e: double taxation, which genuinely worry some. Refusing to listen to local people and community associations when reducing lighting, which made some in our female population nervous when traversing our town footpaths.

We hear lots from Labour Councillors about how anti-social behaviour is being addressed by Councillors and partners, yet we have suffered an explosion in such behaviour over the previous two Labour administrations.

Residents now understand that Labour Councillors were in talks with Livin to develop the six streets of Williamfield Way leading to the compulsory purchase of hard worked for homes and the removal of 123 social homes. Only action by Independent Councillors in petitioning the residents saved the estate.

Much advertised, on Labour leaflets, are pictures of Labour Councillors who wish to take credit for the reinstalling of Whinlatter Bridge which, along with others, was gifted to Durham County Council from Sedgefield Borough Council along with millions of pounds for their upkeep and other assets. For many years, no maintenance was seen on the bridges with the obvious conclusion. Surprisingly only a petition taken by residents persuaded the Councillors to replace the bridge.

No doubt Labour Councillors mean well, but?

Liberal leaflets wish to persuade you that we in Aycliffe are highly taxed and this is a very populist idea designed to incense residents to rise and demand lower taxes for well heeled private landlords and the like. This appears to be their only policy. They claim to be local, yet do not put their contact details in their pamphlets. Nothing is known about most of them. Indeed two of them don’t even live in the Town.

Liberal Democrats make much of the fact that many Independents were previously Labour, but fail to acknowledge that these are people of principle who left their party because they couldn’t be gagged by a party whip, which is the situation Liberal Councillors will find themselves in if elected.

Conservatives are also putting people up from outside our town, with the exception of David Sutton Lloyd.

Independents believe in open speech, uncontrolled by political parties, seeking consensus on both Great Aycliffe and at County. Independents are people of values, community leaders who have done much for our town and experienced politicians who are hoping to be able to run our lovely town for the benefit not just of the rich, but for everyone.

Logic and reason are only the beginning of wisdom, you must have faith that the universe will unfold as it was intended, but it helps if you vote wisely as well.

Ken Robson

01325 321471