Bury St Edmunds Parliamentary Election December 12, 2019...
A General Election will be held on Thursday December 12, 2019. I am ready to represent the people of Bury St Edmunds...
The stalemate over Brexit has to be the most frustrating and politically divisive issue that we have know in recent times. It has torn apart families, streets, communities, villages, towns and indeed the entire country. There is no easy solution to it, and it is important to try to deliver a solution that will somehow heal these rifts.
Having lived and worked in Bury St Edmunds for all of my life, it has always frustrated me, and also many people locally, that the Conservative party who have held the Bury St Edmunds Parliamentary seat since 1885 (yes 1885), nowadays always parachute an 'outsider' in with no local knowledge, rather than selecting a local candidate. Therefore, having been asked by some friends, I have considered carefully and decided to throw my hat into the ring as an Independent Candidate on 12/12/2019.
Having served the people of Bury St Edmunds since 2003 on the Bury St Edmunds Town Council, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, West Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council (see full details here) I feel that I have the experience necessary and am well qualified to take on the next challenge and serve as the Member of Parliament for Bury St Edmunds.
Infrastructure - Address the lack of infrastructure in Bury St Edmunds and all towns and villages in the constituency in line with new developments by collaborative working between Highway England, Suffolk Highways and Network Rail to provide a greener more sustainable transport system throughout the constituency.
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Pedestrian/Cycle Bridge over the A14 - To continue in my campaign to deliver the much needed Pedestrian/Cycle bridge from the Howard Estate/Mildenhall Road Estate/Marham Park area of Bury St Edmunds, over the A14 and Bury to Cambridge Railway Line to the proposed new £125 Million Western Way development.
Rail Halt - To continue in my campaign to deliver a Rail Halt to feed this area of town including the new Abbeygate Sixth Form College/University of Suffolk/Sports Centre and Track/West Suffolk House. We cannot keep building without investment in infrastructure. I first proposed this as a Suffolk County Councillor in 2005, and no-one has helped to try to deliver this since.
Park and Ride - As a Suffolk County Councillor between 2005 and 2009, we looked at the possibility of providing a Park and Ride in Bury St Edmunds. This was fraught with difficulties and was not feasible at the time. However, people are still calling for one due to the ever increasing traffic congestion and parking problems in Bury St Edmunds. I believe this need to be investigated again seriously.
Bus Service - To work to ensure that the people of Bury St Edmunds are provided with a bus service fit for the 21st Century. Some areas, even in Bury St Edmunds (particularly the new Marham Park development) do not have a service at all.
Great Barton By-pass - To continue the campaign to provide a relief road for the people of Great Barton who have requested one for years.
A14 Noise Reduction - To look at providing efficient noise reduction enhancements on the A14 through Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and Needham Market to reduce the impact of ever increasing traffic volumes causing misery to residents who live alongside the A14. I have already delivered £20,000 of enclosures on The Howard Estate.
Green Issues - Focus on green issues to reduce pollution and ensure that the UK is the greenest country in the world. To work and hold the Government to account, to combat climate change. I am already a member of the West Suffolk Council 'Environment and Climate Change Task Force' working on waste and recycling.
Solar Energy - I believe that it should be mandatory for all new-build housing and offices to be built using the latest solar energy technology and not gas boilers. It is my aim to work with all parties to ensure that they are also 'Zero Carbon' by the installation of "super-efficient" insulation and associated technologies.
Plastic use should be reduced and we need to invest more to promote better, easier and more efficient recycling awareness.
Cycle Paths - It is essential to work to provide better cycle paths to enable people to cycle more and feel safe while doing so rather than having to jump into a car. Our cycle paths are simply not up to scratch at the moment to encourage cyclists. This has to change.
Cllr Paul Hopfensperger
The Local & Experienced choice for Bury St Edmunds #GeneralElection2019
Traffic Lights - I will continue my campaign to try to stop the continual implementation of traffic lights. As Vice Chairman of the Suffolk County Council Roads and Transport Scrutiny Committee in 2006-2008 and Chairman of the Shared-Space Working Party, we created a policy in Suffolk which included this. Traffic lights cause congestion and pollution. Raised platform crossings (already implemented in some areas of Bury) and roundabouts are an alternative and more environmentally friendly solution and require no use of electric either.
Anti-idling Zones - To work with local councils in both the Bury St Edmunds Constituency and nationally to introduce anti-idling zones, to help reduce the 36,000 premature deaths from air pollution annually in the UK. I supported this when proposed as a St Edmundsbury Borough councillor in 2017.
General - The NHS is the pride and joy of millions of people in the UK and our doctors, nurses and associated healthcare professionals do an absolutely outstanding job. No one, especially me, would criticise the professional, dedicated team of people who do their best in the ever increasing demand for service, within the constantly stretched financial constraints, but it must not be sold off to the US Corporations as has been suggested by national media in recent weeks.
Our very own Bury St Edmunds based West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) Hospital in Hardwick Lane, was opened in 1973 and was rated as "Outstanding" by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in 2018, the highest award possible and one only given to seven hospitals in England at the time. However, It is essential that the people of Bury St Edmunds are given what has been promised for many years - a new hospital fit for purpose as the existing one is now 15 years past its 'designed' for date.
We need to address various aspects of the service which are clearly underfunded. These include, but are not limited to Adult Social Care provision and both Adult and especially Children's Mental Heath support. As a former member (2016 to 2019) of the Suffolk County Council Health Scrutiny Committee, we were working on these very important issues before party politics intervened and I was downgraded this year to a substitute member .
GP Surgeries - The ever increasing population of Bury St Edmunds demands that we need more GP surgeries, especially in the West/North-West side of the town. As a member of the Suffolk Health Scrutiny Committee, I worked on ensuring that a new GP surgery is build in the new £125 Million Western Way Development, and the provision of a state-of-the-art multi use medical facility within the new Newbury Community Centre on St Olaves Ward. The planning application for this is in as we speak.
NHS Dentists - It is essential that we address the impending crisis in NHS Dentistry in the constituency and to ensure that everyone has access to local NHS Dentists. Having spoken to a local dentist to understand the problem more fully, it is clear that NHS Dentistry is not being funded correctly. This urgently needs looking into.
Brexit - The Elephant in the room, Brexit - Although I voted to Remain, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave - but only just (51.9% to 48.1%). So this is the reason why leaving is so complicated - almost as many people want to remain as leave. This is a huge problem to resolve, especially with Parliament split along similar lines. If we just leave with no deal, 51.9% of the population will be happy, 48.1% will not be. If we don't leave, it would destroy faith in the democratic process. So what is the answer? To appease both sides of the argument, and to ensure future prosperity for our country, we need to leave the EU with a deal. To do this, we need to leave with a withdrawal agreement which honours The Good Friday Agreement and ensures that there is no hard border on the island of Ireland (which virtually no one mentioned before the 2016 referendum) i.e. Between The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We need to maintain a close trading relationship with the EU and continue trading with the EU without taxes on imports being applied. As a businessman who imports and exports to the EU on an almost daily basis, I totally understand these issues. A sensible exit deal is essential and I believe that the people of the UK should be able to vote on the contents of that deal to ensure peace, harmony and prosperity returns to this country. We simply cannot continue like we have for the past 3.5 years. It is destroying our country and the democratic process.
My proposed process would be as follows:-
Step 1. Whoever becomes Prime Minister after December 12th, should send their team to sit down with all political parties in both Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland to discuss and agree a solution which would be acceptable to both countries and importantly, not be in breach of The Good Friday Agreement. From everything I have read on the subject, I do not believe this has been done at present, as the current "Oven Ready Deal' which is the soundbite constantly used by Boris Johnson, is simply not acceptable to all sides in its current form.
Step 2. Only once an agreement has been reached on the island of Ireland, should we then go to the EU to negotiate a withdrawal deal which appeases all sides of the argument, including the Step 1 deal above.
Step 3. Once agreed, the deal should then be put to a peoples vote for them to have the final say, with two options on the table: Leave with the new deal or Remain in the EU.
Step 4. Only then should Parliament vote on this, and all MP's should vote to approve the outcome of the Peoples Vote.
Only at this stage, do I believe that everyone will have done everything in their power to listen to all of the people and fulfil their democratic decision.
Education - To work to ensure that there is a far better investment in school buildings, Special Educational Needs (SEN), play areas and facilities than are currently available, to ensure our children have the best possible start in life. It is also essential that they receive the best possible food at schools. As a Nutritionist/Naturopathic Health Coach, I am passionate about the correct food they eat and understand how vital it is to ensure children are fed well. We want them to do well, but they cannot do well if they do not feel well and they cannot feel well if they are not fed well. Especially at breakfast before the school day starts. Good nutrition can improve both their physical and mental health. It is also important that they have better access to mental health support at both school and college.
Law and Order - To work to ensure that there are more traditional Police Officers on the street. The Bury St Edmunds Town Council, of which Paul is a member, voted to fund two new Police Community Support Officers (PCSO's). This has proved very successful, but we need more traditional Police Officers patrolling the streets, as requested by local residents.
Startup Business Support - I have experienced this personally, and have been contacted many times over the years about the lack of small units/offices for startup businesses/small business in general. When I first started, I could find nowhere to start my business, so had to use a spare room. This did not look professional to my clients. We need to look at providing these units to encourage and support entrepreneurship throughout the United Kingdom. This is essential to ensure a prosperous Post-Brexit United Kingdom.
Running an election campaign is very expensive and as an Independent Councillor, I have always paid these costs myself without any contributions from anyone. Just an ordinary Council election can cost me around £1,000. Standing for parliament is in a different league and just to stand, it costs a deposit of £500. Leafleting the entire constituency would cost thousands. Therefore your donations, however small are greatly appreciated and many thanks in advance. Contact me by e-mail with ways to donate.
Cllr. Paul Hopfensperger MIfHI MCMA CertLegalStud (Open)
Independent Parliamentary Candidate for Bury St Edmunds 2019
#CllrHoffy #CllrHoffy4MP #WeReallyLoveBuryStEdmunds #ActionNotPartyPolitics #GE2019 #BuryStEdmunds