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Election Candidates' Statements 2023

Hayling East Mark Coates Labour Party and Gill Wrixon Conservative Party, Hayling West Andrew Free Conservative Party, Paul Gray Liberal Democrats and Natasha Parker Green Party have provided a requested 500 word Statement each about themselves and their objectives if elected as your Councillor. Please think carefully about your choice of vote and if you wish to question them please either contact them directly if you are able to do so or send your questions/issue on our Contact Form which comes to HIRA's email & we will forward it on to the candidate you specify. If you wish an answer please provide your email. Any offensive emails will not be forwarded on.

Hayling East Candidates below Hayling West Candidates follow alphabetically:

Mark Coates - Labour candidate

Like his parents and grandparents, Mark is a proud Hayling Islander who works hard for his community. He stood for election as a Labour Party candidate in 2022 for the first time since 2016, receiving the largest number of votes ever recorded for a Labour candidate on Hayling. If last year’s trend continues, Mark will become the first Labour Councillor in Hayling’s history on Thursday 4th May.

Mark’s community work

Mark believes actions speak louder than words. Since he first stood in Hayling East, Mark has:

Led the successful campaign to save the Hayling Ferry

  • • Co-founded Hi-5: a joint fundraising initiative for schools on Hayling

  • • Founded the Duke of Edinburgh Award Centre at The Hayling College

  • • Founded the award-winning Heart of Hayling Boxing Academy which offers free coaching and healthy food to young people on Hayling, across Havant and now Portsmouth and Chichester

  • • Led the delivery of almost 20,000 prescriptions to islanders during the pandemic

  • • Led the Fighting Chance summer schools at the community centre to help young people get fit and catch up on missed learning

  • • Raised thousands of pounds for local charities such as HoH, Hayling Helpers, Hi-5 and the Hayling Lions

  • • Commentated for blind supporters at Fratton Park and patients in QA Hospital on Portsmouth FC matchdays

If elected, Mark will

  • • Continue to campaign for action on the sewage in Langstone Harbour and on our beaches. We need year-round testing and accountability, not reluctant and sporadic reactions to campaigners and opposition councillors that offer limited scope

  • • Continue to campaign with other progressive parties to end the Havant Thicket recycled wastewater experiment, if need be through a CCJ on Portsmouth Water’s initial planning application at which point, the Conservatives assure us, nothing was known about Southern Water’s recycled wastewater intervention…

  • • Bring energy and vision to our seafront that supports local businesses, many of whom will suffer from the headlines in the paper this month labelling Hayling Island as “one of England’s top five worst sewage hotspots.” (Daily Mail, 4th April 2023) Why can’t we grab headlines for introducing a junior coastal parkrun, disabled access to the sea or an extension of the Voi scooter scheme across our seafront instead?

  • • Scrutinise the management of our car parks, parks and open spaces and force a u-turn on their slow decline. Why is it that Rowland’s Castle in East Hampshire can enjoy a beautifully maintained, first class park, but residents in Mengham have to suffer a poorly protected, degenerating park? Strategically, NORSE need to be directed to fulfill their contract or HBC should end that contract, a course of action Portsmouth City Council are presently considering with Veolia…

  • • Ensure future housing and development plans are sensible and limited: HBC must take into account our unique island; scrap ALL plans to build thousands of homes on large green field sites on Hayling with natural and/or agricultural value. As central government targets have been scrapped, there is no longer pressure on HBC to meet any former targets. Ergo, update the new Local Plan and stop greenfield development.

Gill Wrixon - The Conservative Party Candidate for Hayling East

I have been a resident on Hayling since 1986, like many others my husband and I returned to Hayling with our own young family to enjoy all it has to offer.

I have been involved in many aspects of Island life whilst raising a family and running my own business for over 25 years.

As Chair of the Conservative Branch for the last four years I recognise the important role councillors fulfil working together for the community of Hayling. Local councillors impact decisions that matter in our day to day lives, working within the community assisting residents with individual issues whilst working with Havant Borough Council serving the wider population and to be elected would be a great honour.

It is important to recognise that new councillors have fresh ideas and views to bring to the council. Whilst we cannot stop time and others wanting to enjoy living on Hayling my aims as a councillor will be to work to keep our Island unique.

There are plans for seafront regeneration, this is essential to support our local businesses as visitors and their children come to enjoy the many things, we take for granted. I will listen to and where possible work with residents and groups who shout out for the good of Hayling. It has never been more important that we all work together to ensure those living on the Island feel safe and happy in their environment.

YOUR concerns are MY concerns.

My priorities would be:

  • • Continue to hold Southern Water to account for their pollution of our local waters. Expect and ensure further information regarding water quality to be made available to locals within a realistic timescale.

  • • Question further major housebuilding projects representing Hayling resident’s concerns, working with Havant Borough Council. Provide more opportunities for dialogue and listen to resident’s views at regular meetings and be in touch with Hayling groups already in place. Keep residents informed of progression in on going topics using local media.

  • • Ensure Portsmouth Water deliver top quality drinking water now and, in the future, continue to support residents and Havant Borough Council with concerns over the future of Havant Thicket reservoir.

  • • Support projects that will ensure Hayling remains a special place to live, work with local groups to support them on local matters and listen to resident’s ideas.

  • • Tackle anti-social behaviour working with police. Look to promote areas on Hayling for individuals and families to enjoy and support the regeneration of our seafront.

For the benefit of our residents, it is essential that elected councillors work together recognising achievements made and work still to do. To have quality discussions not time-wasting arguments. To serve the residents not ourselves.

If elected I will be a local councillor working for the residents of Hayling and

proud to join other councillors already representing you.

Hayling West Candidates

Andrew Free – The Conservative Party Candidate for Hayling West Ward

Having lived on Hayling Island for 46 years I understand the issues that are most important to its residents. Following 35 years’ service in the Royal Navy, I now seek to serve the residents of Hayling West as their local councillor, using my skills, experience and energy to strongly represent them at Havant Borough Council and ensure their voices are heard.

If elected, I will:

· Hold Southern Water to account for their pollution of our local waters.

· Ensure Portsmouth Water deliver safe drinking water.

· Challenge major housebuilding projects.

· Work with Police to tackle antisocial behaviour.

· Support the Climate Change and Environment Strategy.

I will also work with fellow councillors at Havant Borough Council to ensure that the planning and delivery of essential local services (including housing, bin collections, community centres, parks, environmental health, planning applications) are delivered efficiently and effectively within our budget.

Hayling Conservatives really do care about the quality of the water that surrounds our Island or pours from our taps. We are proud of our Blue Flag beaches that tourists flock to in summer. Our bathing waters are regularly tested, and results confirm the excellent water quality. However, we’re going further. Our council has secured investment to increase storm water capacity at Budds Farm and is the first Council in the UK to install real-time water testing. Hayling Conservatives have vigorously championed residents’ concerns regarding local water quality to the Environment Agency and Secretary of State for the Environment. Conservative local councillors have also written to Southern Water to express deep concerns about sewage discharges and are actively seeking assurances from Portsmouth Water that the water they supply to our taps will always meet stringent quality standards. The Conservative Council Leader recently convened a public meeting attended by senior Southern Water and Portsmouth Water representatives (streamed live to the public) giving local residents an opportunity to put their concerns and questions to them ensuring they are heard.

If elected, I will join my fellow 6 Conservative Hayling councillors in acting as the collective voice of our residents and businesses to hold Southern Water to account for their pollution of our local waters.

As a Hayling resident I am very concerned about further development on an already crowded Island. The Conservative Council Leader has pressed the Secretary of State for Housing to reduce local housebuilding targets, and our MP has lobbied for changes in the related legislation. If elected, I shall challenge all major housebuilding projects and ensure that smaller projects are made to support the local infrastructure and environment.

Beware opposition candidates who promise you they can do better and be sure to ask them how. Conservative councillors apply their collective experience of local government and apply their major influence to deliver for residents. Vote for me as your local councillor and I will work hard in harmony with them to deliver excellent services for Hayling Island, and to strongly champion the voice of its residents.

For further information please visit my Facebook page “Andrew4Hayling”.

Paul Gray Liberal Democrats


Many of you will know me from my numerous contributions to our local community, but for those of you who don’t know me, I live on the island, grew up on the island, and am passionate about our island. Quite simply, for me, Hayling is and always has been the place I call home.

After many years of contributing to the community, I am sick and tired of seeing our beautiful island being run into the ground. I feel we’ve been utterly failed by a complacent local council which doesn’t put the needs of us residents first. The people of Hayling have been so patient but enough is enough.

There is so much to be done, but here are just a couple of the key areas which must be addressed:

Housing and Development Policy –

Attempts to build thousands of new homes MUST be stopped and there MUST be a proper plan to improve local services and infrastructure - our little island is doomed if we elect any more of these current Conservatives.

The need for more housing in Britain may be severe, but there are better solutions which don’t involve yet more development on a location surrounded by water. An island has an undeniable natural barrier to expansion: the sea. It is absurd then to think the solution to the housing crisis involves places such as our island.

A Policy of Incompetence –

Recognising the unsuitability of the Conservatives’ local development plan, the planning inspectors’ report said the plan was unsound and not legally compliant.

And this, really, is at the heart of the problem: with an almost total monopoly of the council, standards inevitably fall. "An undesirable plan deemed unsound and not legally compliant" is the evidence. We all lose. We can only expect to see an improvement when we elect someone to hold them to account. Monopoly breeds incompetence. Accountability breeds credibility.

Sewage -

Our Island is being damaged.

Our water is being polluted with human excrement

The Conservatives have not prevented this. In many cases they have defended it. We’ve even had Conservatives here on the south coast defending the sewage dumping, insulting us with “it's that or higher bills!”

Hayling Liberal Democrats ‘rang the alarm’ some years ago with our SOS (Save our Seas) campaign, and we’re delighted people are now paying attention.

The problem is not new but has got SIGNIFICANTLY worse since the Conservatives voted to abandon previous environmental standards. Since then, they’ve added insult to injury by passing a law to allow Sothern Water to continue dumping human excrement in our sea for a further 15 years. It is a disgrace.

In the last two years water companies in England dumped raw sewage 775,568 times, lasting 5,768,679 hours.

I’m urging everyone that cares about our island, not to mention the health of our children and grandchildren, to stand with me on this and oppose the Conservatives at the ballot box.

Natasha Parker Green Party

I became involved in local politics to help make a positive difference in our community. Like many Islanders, I am concerned by the lack of action from those currently elected to represent us - we deserve better.

After working as a retail manager for a number of years, I pursued my passion for education and I am now a primary school teacher working in Portsmouth. A few years ago, I championed the Plastic Free Hayling initiative in which I campaigned for cleaner, plastic-free beaches and for businesses and individuals to reduce their single-use plastic.

I grew up on our unique and beautiful Island and now blessed to be raising my two daughters here, however the area is at risk of losing its charm. It’s clear to see there’s a lack in investment and infrastructure, and there needs to be a clear, environmentally sustainable plan for the future.

My priorities:

  • • Listening to and representing Islanders’ views

  • • Meaningful climate action and investing in renewables

  • • Improving recycling

  • • Protecting green spaces and natural habitats, including re-wilding projects

  • • Cleaner, safer beaches with improved sewage monitoring and warnings

  • • Supporting local businesses

  • • Improving cycling, green and public transport

  • • Improving local infrastructure, services and leisure facilities

  • • Challenging unsuitable housing developments

  • • Supporting facilities for elderly residents



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