Robert Hardware, the Liberal Democrat hopeful for the Sutton New Hall by-election has been taking the temperature of local opinion and pledges that local issues will get a higher priority if he is elected the new councillor for New Hall on 22 October.
Robert is conducting a major survey of residents' opinions and he was also present at the most recent meeting of the New Hall Ward committee run by Birmingham Council. The major issue identified by the residents was the planning application to put up a 12 metre high mobile phone mast at the junction of Springfield Road and Reddicap Heath Road. Residents are worried that this is already a notorious local accident hot spot and the mast could represent a safety hazard. They are concerned that cars could hit the mast during an accident and its metal frame could inflict serious injury. There is also the fear that if the mast was knocked over it could be an electrical or radiation hazard for people at street level.
Robert has criticised the mobile phone company responsible for the mast for repeatedly putting in new planning requests for essentially the same proposal (with a few metres difference each time) when the Council complies with residents' wishes and turns down the application. He has also knocked New Hall's Conservative councillors for failing to push more vigorously for the traffic improvements at this junction which it has been reported were scheduled for May this year but which have not been installed.
Robert has already started his campaign to make it easier for residents to get their voices heard at Ward and Constituency meetings and to make better use of neighbourhood forums. As someone born locally and who has lived all his life in Sutton New Hall Robert has promised to put local people at the centre of his campaign and to be the genuinely local councillor that New Hall desperately needs once elected.