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'Local problems need local solutions' - new political party started in Suffolk ahead of elections

PUBLISHED: 08:39 20 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:39 20 February 2019

The Guildhall, the home of Hadleigh Town Council - where Hadleigh Together will hope to secure seats in May's council elections Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Guildhall, the home of Hadleigh Town Council - where Hadleigh Together will hope to secure seats in May's council elections Picture: GREGG BROWN

A new political party is preparing for elections in May as community-minded residents join forces to form Hadleigh Together.

The group, which began as a conversation between parents on the school run, has now officially been recognised as a minor political party - allowing it to field candidates for seats in town council elections in May.

The group has participated actively in political debate in the town, with the next Hadleigh Town Council meeting on Thursday, February 21 expected to be a well-attended, lively debate.

Announcing the new status on Facebook, a party spokesman said: “We don’t think there’s any place for party politics at a local level, in fact we think it’s unhelpful.

“We’d rather bring people together on the basis of their shared passion for Hadleigh than their political allegiances.

“We don’t imagine that those in Westminster spend any time worrying about our Guildhall losing money hand over fist, or Layham Road Sports Centre falling apart.

“We think local problems need local solutions and that’s why we’re pulling together a team of independent candidates to stand at the local elections in May.”

The creation of the new party means independent candidates with similar principles can apply to sit under the banner of Hadleigh Together.

They will appear as a group alongside Labour, Conservative, Green and Independent candidates.

The spokesman said: “Registering as a minor political party simply means that we can use our logo and name on ballot papers and we think that’s important because, having seen the dysfunction and division within the current town council, we think our town deserves a council that can, and will, bring Hadleigh together.”

While not pointing the finger at party political issues in the past, members of the group have taken up issue with the handling of a £500,000 loan and procurement process regarding the expansion of the town’s cemetery.

Hadleigh Together’s Steve Allman has said previously that repeatedly discussing the process confidentially could be a problem after elections.

“Hadleigh Together is not against the expansion but we do not know why this is happening behind closed doors,” he previously said.

“We are worried that when the local election come in May, all of the councillors could lose their seats and a new set of councillors could be left with a £500k headache if this isn’t sorted out.”

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