ONE of the two BCP Council by-elections taking place on Thursday (May 6) will be for the Canford Heath ward.

Countin will take place the following day.

Six candidates have been put forward to fill the vacancy left following the death of Liberal Democrat Pete Parrish last year. They are:

John Sheldon – Independent

Bournemouth Echo: Canford Heath Independent candidate John Sheldon

A former councillor who spent 30 years working with the police before moving to Canford Heath to support a relative, John Sheldon said he is an experienced candidate.

He said it was important council tax-payers’ money was spent “wisely” and that he would “look for best practise” to ensure this.

Among his priorities are being “readily contactable” by residents, working closely with Dorset Police to resolve any issues of crime and anti-social behaviour and securing a “fair share” of funding for the ward.

Janet Green – Labour

Bournemouth Echo: Canford Heath Labour Party candidate Janet Green

The Labour candidate is a former primary school teacher who has lived in the area for more than 30 years.

A member St. Paul's Church, she was part of the development of the public garden there and is a member of the parochial church council.

She said she was concerned about homelessness and the disadvantaged and is a Routes to Roots volunteer.

Her main priorities include providing safer, and fully accessible, as well as improving services for young people.

Ben Pantling – Green Party

Bournemouth Echo: Canford Heath Green Party candidate Ben Pantling

The Poole resident, football player and youth rugby coach said he would make the preservation of the heritage of the town.

The preservation of the area and environmental issues were his key priorities, he said, and added he would be free of any political whip as a councillor.

He said this would allow him to “evolve his own opinions” and consider issues in ways that best serve people in Canford Heath.

Sean Gabriel – Conservative

Bournemouth Echo:

A former Poole councillor and town mayor, he has grown up, lived and worked on the Canford heath.

His priorities are giving greater opportunities to young people, improving public parks and open areas and working with Dorset Police and other bodies to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

He said has “the skills, drive and experience to ensure Canford Heath becomes an even better place to live and work”.

Jennie Hodges – Liberal Democrats

Bournemouth Echo:

Resident of Canford Heath for more than 40 years, she is also a former councillor, having sat on the former Poole council for almost a decade.

She said this experience, both as a councillor and resident, was unique to any of the candidates.

Her priorities include working to support carers, defending services in the area and protecting the environment.

Vicky Spence – Ukip

Bournemouth Echo: Canford Heath Ukip candidate Vicky Spence

A Canford Heath resident with her family, she is a self-employed courier having been made redundant during the pandemic.

She has worked for a range of companies across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and in the USA and is a volunteer for several youth and sports organisations.

She said her priorities would be to support people living in Canford Heath to support businesses, protect and improve public spaces, open more public toilets and to reducing parking charges.