Cllr Dave Baigent
City Councillor for Romsey
I was honoured to be elected as a Labour City Councillor for Romsey in 2014 and I have worked tirelessly for the ward and city ever since then. During all of this time, the City Council has been Labour-led, and I am proud to have been part of its successful stewardship of our wonderful city, in particular its work on reducing inequality, building record numbers of council houses and working towards a fairer, greener city.
We are committed to becoming a net zero carbon council by 2030 for example by cutting emissions from council-owned buildings and investing in renewable energy projects as well as requiring all taxis to be ultra-low or zero emissions vehicles by 2028. In my role as vice chair of the Greater Cambridge Assembly my focus is on pollution reduction and support for cyclists, pedestrians and the disabled. As vice chair of Planning Committee, I work hard to keep our city a great place to live. Sadly, planning law too often favours speculators but we do our best in difficult circumstances.
Locally I have worked hard for residents and traders and have been central to several major initiatives. I am always looking for ways to make Romsey greener and more attractive, and chaired the groups that procured the new paving, seating and flowerbeds outside the Co-op as well as the distinctive ‘Romsey R’. I have campaigned to open Romsey Lakes to the public and am hopeful that a planning application from the landowner will see that dream realised.
I also understand that seemingly small issues such as potholes, overgrown trees, fly-tipping and housing repairs can have a real impact on individuals affected and I have brought the can-do attitude I learned as a firefighter to solving them wherever I can. In addition, the City Council has a strong record on supporting tenants with housing problems.
When the pandemic started, I chaired the committee that became Romsey Mutual Aid and have led it ever since. It is a sign of our thriving community that around 300 volunteers have stepped up to help residents with a variety of tasks such as shopping, dog walking and prescription collection. During the pandemic the council provided accommodation for all rough sleepers. We now guarantee a roof and support for every homeless person who wants it. In addition, we have provided support and finance for food hubs, including at Romsey’s Edge Café.
I see consultation and communication with residents as vital to the role of councillor. I am in regular contact with organisations such as our churches, mosque and charities. I and the rest of the Labour team canvass the entire ward regularly and have made great efforts to stay in touch during the pandemic, for example by holding regular, widely advertised Zoom surgeries.
Our latest canvassing shows overwhelming support for limiting traffic in Mill Road and making it an attractive, pollution-free destination where people can come to enjoy our wonderful range of shops and cafés. However, we recognise that some people are not able to walk or cycle and are pressing for blue badge holders to be allowed across the bridge. In addition, we want to find a way to talk with Taxi drivers to find if there is a way they may use the bridge. Like everyone else we want to see the ugly plastic cones gone and we have a plan to replace them with with flowerbeds and outdoor seating areas.
I hope you’ll give me your support again on May 6th, and I look forward to continuing this work.