For those of you unable to make Wednesday evening's Hustings, I provide you, below, with a summary - agreed by other Committee members who had attended the Meeting - of the main questions put, and some idea of the strength of feelings expressed during the evening. We started, as usual, promptly and questions continued until I stopped the Meeting, as promised at the latest time of 9:40. Thereafter many people continued to talk over the refreshments provided. The number and range of questions asked indicated just how significant the evening was for the audience; listening to candidates present themselves, their platform and then whether or not they answer our questions is truly essential when approaching an Election. HIRA was repeatedly thanked afterwards for running the Hustings.
Listing here in alphabetical order, the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP political groups were all represented by 6 candidates, 3 of whom were new political candidates. 5 others gave their Apologies "pre-exsiting other commitment" and only 1 did not.
6 Pre-written questions were asked first:
1. Real frustration and concern was expressed about how candidates proposed dealing with dog owners' failure to collect their dog's waste and whilst an audience member proposed providing eco bags, none of the candidates had any new solutions to give.
2. The costs to Beach Huts were highlighted and some reassurance re keeping down the charge was given.
3. Candidates were asked their opinion on the Local Plan's projected housing growth as well as the Hayling Infrastructure Plan's lack of clarification re A3023. Lib Dems advocated 'garden towns' where there's already plenty of space; Labour advocated existing jobs to provide the need before housing is built; UKIP highlighted immigration and national policy as the problem origin; Conservative view was compliance with national policy.
4. Would the candidates support the proposed Aqua Dome & Learning Centre Project in place of HBC's proposal? Most agreed but surprisingly 1 hadn't read it (apparently this candidate had been sent the Project details) & didn't commit.
5. a) Asked if they either actively supported a Community project and/or b) had ideas for CIL funds for Hayling, most candidates separately cited their own commitment to either cycling routes, or helping to provide sustainable transport links for the Ferry, or supporting Hayling College with Technology.
6. Most candidates agreed that the lack of opposition in any Council was cause for concern.
From the floor over-arching questions:
1. Concern expressed re Southern Water effluent and consequent effects on Blue Flag Beach raised.
2. Complaint against Council's failure to deal with repeated requests for help, to which candidates encouraged residents to send a complaint to their named Councillor.
3. Question whether or not candidates would support their residents or their Party Policy & they all stated that their residents are the priority.
4. Repeated points regarding the problems of Hayling's Infrastructure that the Advisory Group was unable to deal with; a few candidates who have sat on this Group agreed that there remain unresolved problems.