Our Candidates for 2018
About our councillors
The nine Elmbridge Liberal Democrat Councillors work to achieve a greener, cleaner, fairer and safer community, while ensuring value for money from our council tax. Information on the councillors is below. Their contact details are in the ‘Contact Us‘ section.
Cllr Shweta Kapadia (Long Ditton ward – elected since 2000)
Other current appointment: Trustee, R C Sherriff Trust
She has served on the management committee of the Elmbridge Multi-Faith Forum and has been a school governor.
Shweta has lived in Long Ditton for over 25 years. She was educated in India where she qualified as an architect, and has worked in the profession for many years. She is also a reflexologist and has done voluntary work in a reflexology clinic.
Her hobbies/interests include painting on China and Porcelain for which she has received several awards playing bridge, Western and Indian Classical music, and Art.
Cllr Andrew Davis (Weybridge Riverside ward – elected since 2012)
Andrew has lived in Weybridge for thirty years: first in Park Lawn Road, then Oakdale Road and finally Holstein Ave.
Twenty-five years ago he set up a national campaigning organisation, the ETA, to promote environmental transport. It is funded by providing its supporters with cycle insurance and car breakdown cover. From its national headquarters in Weybridge, the ETA established Green Transport Week in 1992, Green Car Buyers Guide in 1993, Walk to School Week in 1995, Car Free Day in 1997, and the 20′s Plenty in 1999.
Andrew was a very active member of the Weybridge Society committee for 14 years. He has campaigned to maintain a vibrant town centre, with a variety of shops, and facilities; a safe town with 20 mph speed limits in residential roads and safe routes to school; and to have local school places for every child in Weybridge.
Cllr Mary Marshall (Claygate ward – elected since 2013)
Mary Marshall is on the Affordable and Social Housing working group. She and her family have lived in Holroyd Road, Claygate, for 24 years. She is a genuine grassroots representative for residents of the village and a dedicated neighbourhood campaigner. Mary is committed to maintaining Claygate’s unique character – which she knows and understands intimately, having raised children here and walked and cycled many miles around the village.
“I’ve now lived almost half of my life in Claygate and this is where I feel at home. Our village still has that real ‘village feel’ – it’s friendly and caring where most people know each other. You can truly relax here and enjoy the benefits of the countryside as well as the superb advantage of being so near the centre of London.”
Mary has run a gymnastics club in Surbiton for more than 20 years. Avondale Gymnastics Club is a charitable community organisation for children, open seven days a week. In an average week Mary sees more than 300 children of all ages visit the club and benefit from its well-equipped facilities and Mary’s team of qualified coaches.
Running a community organisation on a very tight budget has prepared Mary for the role of Elmbridge Councillor: “As a taxpayer I am keen that my taxes are being carefully spent for the maximum benefit of the community. That is what I do every day at work – ensuring that the fees parents pay are used wisely to maintain an up-to-date gymnasium that is warm and safe. Our Gym Mark approval is confirmation that I am doing the right thing.”
“Having lived in the village so long I know many people here and their issues. I want to help them – whether it’s protecting our Green Belt, improving road safety, activities for youngsters, good policing or transport issues. Young and old alike need support and a voice for their issues.”
Liz Ambekar (Hinchley Wood and Weston Green)
Liz is a charity finance director, with over ten years’ experience working in the charity sector and prior to that in the civil service and social housing. She is committed to the voluntary sector and has significant past volunteering experience including being a charity trustee of a care home for severely disabled young adults in Twickenham, a volunteer chaperone and helping at her children’s primary schools. Liz also supports the arts locally.
If elected Liz will work on behalf of all people in Hinchley Wood and Weston Green. She is particularly keen to focus on issues that affect young people and those in need, as well as affordable housing, child safety and our shared environment.
1. I believe that one of the biggest issues facing Hinchley Wood and Weston Green is ensuring there is sufficient affordable and social housing for those in need and the next generation, whilst always maintaining the individuality of the area, protecting the green belt and providing the infrastructure and services to support the population.
2. I will work tirelessly to support all of the local community, using the skills and experience I have gained as a charity finance director and the understanding I have as a working mum of school age children. I will focus on housing, environment and services to those in need who are so often underrepresented.
Cllr Alex Coomes (Claygate ward – elected since 2012)
Alex is chairman of Elmbridge borough’s audit and standards committee. Alex has lived in Claygate since he was four months old and is a parish councillor. He enjoys the benefits of living in Claygate and wants to help it remain a lovely village and to work for the residents on borough matters.
He has worked hard on the Claygate parish planning Committee considering the views of residents on planning applications, the merits of any application and how these opinions should be transmitted to Elmbridge. He has been active in making comments to on the Elmbridge plan.
Alex was a very active supporter of the campaign against the imposition of metered car parking charges by Surrey County. Alex works hard for the benefit of Claygate, but still finds time for his allotment.
Chris Elmer (Walton South – Cllr 2007/16)
I have lived in Walton for 25 years with my wife Christine. In 2007 I took early retirement after 40 years in public service and was elected as a Conservative councillor, serving Walton Ambleside and Walton South between 2007 and 2016. During this time I chaired both the Licensing and Planning Committees, and was Vice Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee and member of the SCC Local Committee for Elmbridge.
Why now a Liberal Democrat? I became disillusioned with the Conservative administration while I was still a Conservative Elmbridge Borough Councillor and was not comfortable with the complacent and arrogant stance adopted, not dissimilar to the national stance. I therefore did not seek re selection as a Conservative candidate in May 2016 but reassessed my views as more facts about the party emerged. It became clear to me that my political allegiance now lay with the Liberal Democrats with whom I think I am better placed to serve the residents of Walton South.
1. Planning, traffic, roads and quality service – but we are in the hands of the Planning Inspectorate on Drake Park, the biggest development Walton is facing and traffic and roads are the responsibility of SCC which need vigorous lobbying to get residents’ views listened to. Value for money is not just about cutting costs but retaining quality services.
2. Oppose inappropriate development impacting on residents’ quality of life and recreational green spaces. Reintroduce an effective 24-hour noise complaint service, scrapped by the Conservatives. Bring back bags and scoops for dog waste in parks. Lobby Surrey County Council to replace trees we are losing from our roads.
Cllr Christine Elmer (Walton South ward – elected since 2006)
Christine currently serves on the following council committees: Planning Committee, North Area Planning Sub-Committee, Centres for the Community Task and Finish Group, Energy and Sustainability Working Group, Chairman Heathrow Task Group 2016-17.
Christine has lived in Elmbridge for over 50 years in Claygate, Cobham, Stoke D’Abernon, Molesey and Walton. She is married to Chris who was Councillor Walton Ambleside ward from 2007 – 10 & for Walton South ward from 2011 – 16. Christine has two children Luke and Sarah and two grandchildren Rory age 14 and Isla age 11, and a cat called Sophie.
Christine has represented Walton South ward from May 2006 to present and was elected unopposed in 2014. In 2016 in the all-out election she topped the ward polling.
At Elmbridge Council Christine served as the Cabinet Member for Corporate Development from May 2008-10 and as the Cabinet Member for Social Affairs from May 2010 -16
Schools – Lovelace Infants School, Chessington; St. Andrews Infant & Primary Schools, Cobham; Surbiton High School for Girls.
Work Executor and Trustee Department, Lloyd’s Bank; Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Animal Health, Veterinary Medicines and Environment Directorates; Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.
Christine has served or is serving as Elmbridge’s representative in these organisations: Governor Kingston Hospital Foundation Trust (2012 to present), Management Board, Mediation North Surrey (current), Relate West Surrey (current), Trustee Management Board, Home Support Elmbridge, Trustee Walton Charity 2006 – 14, Epsom & Ewell Health Liaison Panel 2010 -16, Epsom & St Helier University Hospital NHS Trust (2010 -16), Lead Member for Children (Every Child Matters) (2007-10), South East Employers (2008-10), Surrey Local Resilience Member’s Group (2008-10, Surrey Local Government Association, Progress Through Partnership, Deputy Member (2008-10), Executive Member – South East Employers (2009-10).
Cllr Barry Fairbank (Long Ditton ward – elected since 2000)
Barry has been an Elmbridge Councillor for Long Ditton since May 2000. Since 2000 he has been totally involved with the Long Ditton community, and still is. He was Group Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Elmbridge Council from 2011-2013, when he was elected Deputy Mayor. In spring 2014 he was elected as Mayor for 2014/15.
He is currently a member of the Cabinet as Portfolio Holder for the Environment and is a member of the Licensing Committee, the Mayor of Elmbridge Trust Fund and the Elmbridge Local Committee.
Over time he has served on many Elmbridge Council Committees and working groups, including Overview & Scrutiny task and working groups covering a range of subjects including:- waste collection and disposal; council partnerships; council service performance; the dissemination of financial information; Overview & Scrutiny; the replacement Leisure Centre; customer service improvement; the Elmbridge Museum; land charge searches; the discharge of elderly people from hospital and others.
He has lived in Elmbridge for more than 23 years, living previously in Wimbledon. He is married to Gill a retired headteacher. They have two sons, one of whom is working in an educational charity which supports education in difficult localities, and the other in a company specialising in cyber security.
Barry was educated at Sir Walter St John’s Grammar School, Battersea and following the closure of the school has served as a Trustee of the residual body, providing educational grants to individuals, voluntary groups and project groups based in the former catchment area of the school.
Barry spent most of his working life in London starting at a merchant bank, Samuel Montagu, and subsequently joining a number of specialist investment management organisations including Invesco, NatWest, Midland Montagu and Gartmore. Before retiring, he become self-employed specialising in investment related financial investigations and risk appraisals.
Barry is also involved with a number of local organisations namely:- HomeStart Elmbridge; Long Ditton Village Hall; Long Ditton Youth Project and St Mary’s Church Community Hall. He is a governor at St Mary’s Long Ditton Junior School and was Chair of Governors for 7 years. Other interests include: current affairs; sport; reading; walking; music; humour; and theatre.
Whilst a member of the Cabinet, Barry and fellow Lib Dems in coalition with the residents group have:
- Started a social housing programme with properties in Cobham, Thames Ditton and Weybridge
- Introduced a flexible parking strategy to serve our towns – including free parking on Saturdays
- Created a new planning compliance team to ensure developers do not build without permission
- Built a balanced property portfolio in Elmbridge to generate income to support Council services
- Delivered the new regional quality sports hub in Walton
- Replaced the under-performing Conservative grass verge and green spaces contract
- Invested to enhance our public tennis courts in association with the Lawn Tennis Association
- Implemented a new refuse collection contract which is providing a better service whilst saving money.
- All this and delivering the lowest council tax rise (1.9%) in Surrey
When re-elected Barry will work with others towards:
- Protecting the Green Belt
- Building on our new programme of social housing, with an aim to provide social housing for 2,000 new homes across Elmbridge
- Working to ensure Long Ditton stays a vibrant and pleasant place
- Making the environment central to all borough policy initiatives
- Ensuring that Community Infrastructure Levy is used correctly and will only be spent on extra health, education, transport and social infrastructure for Elmbridge
1. Barry considers housing and environment to be the two main issues in in both Long Ditton and Elmbridge. Long Ditton is a wonderful place to live, but young people and those in vital services find it unaffordable. Solving this problem would contribute to the whole community’s wellbeing – young and old, those working and those at home. But new housing must be achieved without a compromise on environment.
2. If elected Barry will champion local people’s needs, whether they are families, children in education, elderly needing care, vulnerable people or youths. He will also work in the council to help build 2,000 units of social housing in Elmbridge. This should be done respecting the integrity of the green belt and the environment. He feels strongly that our young people contribute to a thriving community and should be able to afford to live here.
Dorothy Ford (Oxshott and Stoke D’Abernon)
Dorothy Ford has been a resident of the Oxshott and Stoke d’Abernon ward for 35 years. While raising a family here, she taught French and German before working on policy for the central government in White-hall. She helped set up the Cobham Library Community Hub and taught a young mother reading skills. Dorothy enjoys singing in choirs, walking, growing vegetables and playing with two tiny grandchildren.
As a borough councillor, Dorothy’s key aims will be to
- – enhance our environment by improving litter collection and by extending Elmbridge Borough Council’s air quality monitoring system to our ward, where Oxshott High Street’s heavy traffic poses potential problems
- – protect and enhance our local Green Belt, including along Blundel Lane
- – urge the Council to invest in affordable housing instead of commercial properties, especially if new housing plans are proposed for our ward
- – help ensure the availability of quality local schools, healthcare and social services
1. Because national government support to local authorities has fallen 77% since 2010, this ward is suffering from poor services – from pothole repairs to school budgets. Our Green Belt remains threatened by inappropriate housing plans. Our Tory MP ignores our views by supporting a “Hard” Brexit – making us poorer.
2. I aim to safeguard our environment by measuring air quality, improving litter management, protecting Green Belt by prioritising brownfield sites and town centre development. I will strive to enhance local education, health and care services.
I will promote strong, fair finances for example by reducing council’s commercial investments and instead promoting council investment in affordable housing.
Margaret Hawkes (Walton North)
Question: if you live in Walton North, where do you play tennis? How far would your children have to walk to a tennis court?
Question: what kind of phone signal do you receive? The council can block planning permission for phone masts, no phone mast, no signal.
Question: how safe are our roads for pedestrians, especially at night?
Margaret answers: “Your local council can work to make everyday life bet-ter for you, or it can be swayed by minority voices to block improvements to our lives. If I am elected, I shall work for the residents of Walton North to ensure that the council improves their life quality and is not a forum for pro-test movements that stop and delay beneficial changes.”
1. I’ve lived in Walton for forty years and as a local resident I am only too aware of the problems that are faced by my fellow residents, from finding good quality school places, to the problems of parking, from the child care to the care of the frail elderly. But, many people feel ‘politicians’ are not taking note. This lack of trust needs work, and deeds not words.
2. I joined the Liberal Democrats because I want to help build a fairer and more open society where all our citizens are valued and they have a stake in our society. As a councillor, it will be a privilege to help in this process, to empower the local community so that the voice of all can be heard. I believe that a local councillor should work to make people’s lives better.
Cllr Neil Houston (Long Ditton ward – elected since 2014)
Neil was elected a councillor for Elmbridge in 2014.
He has lived in Surbiton and Long Ditton for over 30 years and before being elected in Long Ditton he was a councillor for Kingston. He was the chair of the Health overview committee and part of the better services better value team that worked across 5 different councils looking at all the areas health services. He was also member of both the finance and planning committees. He is currently a full time father looking after his two young daughters who are both at primary school and spends a lot of his time running them around to their various clubs.
Previously he had worked for the BBC for over 25 years where he worked across many different departments finishing up as a line manager in the Drama department. Whilst there he says he was lucky enough to have worked on much of the BBCs output including many of their most popular dramas.
As well as his council duties he is Currently a governor at Hinchley Wood Primary School and chair of their Behaviour and Safety committee. In the Elmbridge council he sits on the East Area planning committee, the performance and finance committee and is also a member of the overview and scrutiny committee.
In his spare time he likes being with his family and friends, enjoys going to the theatre and cinema. He enjoys watching most sport and likes playing golf all be it quite badly.
Vicki Macleod (Weybridge Riverside – elected since 2018)
She is a Founder Member of the ElmWey Learning Trust, and was a Governor at Heathside School from 2010 to 2016 when the Trust was established. She has a strong interest in the wellbeing of pupils in the Trust’s schools and of vulnerable members of our community. She continues to be involved with local charities for the elderly as a Trustee of the Weybridge Old Folks Club.
If elected as councillor for Weybridge Riverside, Vicki will bring her considerable knowledge of Weybridge and professional skills, developed in a number of management and business roles, to this work.
“I will do my utmost to ensure that, in these times of austerity, Elmbridge Borough acts in the best interests of all who live in Elmbridge, as well as seeking to bring much needed improvements to Weybridge.”
1. Vicki Macleod is a long-term resident of Weybridge, having moved here to work with Surrey Special Schools in 1991. She is well known locally and is embedded in the community through her work with charities for the elderly and with Heathside School. Vicki brings energy, interest and commitment to all she is involved in.
2. Vicki fully will work for more affordable and council housing, careful stewardship of the environment and to ensure our towns are great places to live. She supports the restoration and improvement of health provision in Weybridge and a future-proof ap-proach to traffic and parking in Weybridge.
Paul Nagle (Molesey West)
A lifelong Liberal and NUJ member, he is keen to see more effective local democracy to ensure people no longer feel remote from local councils – and that those councils are run more effectively. In our own area in Elmbridge we need a stronger focus on housing, most particularly affordable housing which is essential for many key workers and our own children.
We also need to give greater attention and priority to improved environmental policies such as sustainability, minimizing waste and fly-tipping.
1. There is a desperate need for (truly affordable) homes with the necessary services (po-licing, health social care etc) and physical infrastructure (transport, parking, etc), and supporting local shops and businesses so they thrive. These need addressing seriously in Molesey and Elmbridge as a whole.
2. I’d use all the leverage as a councillor to reconnect Molesey’s people with the decision-making that affects their community. This means facilitating contacts between the resi-dents and the council and its officers, both Elmbridge and Surrey. And all other key stakeholders who contribute to the wellbeing of the community. Being an active ‘con-nector’ and ‘facilitator’ would enhance wellbeing and bring progress.
Francisca Oxley (Thames Ditton)
Francisca is a local resident in Thames Ditton, with kids in the local schools (TDJS and HWS). She says: “I want to be your councillor, so that I can serve the fantastic local community here in Thames Ditton. My priorities when elected:
• Transport: put pressure on Surrey County Council to improve the condition of our roads and fix potholes that have appeared everywhere after this cold winter.
• Education: Campaign for sufficient local state secondary school places at HWS.
• Brexit: As an EU citizen myself, I pledge that I will aim to support and protect all EU citizens in my ward throughout the Brexit process.
• Flood protection: Work with the environmental agency and focus on local actions, including an early warning system, improving community based defences and to keep pushing for the “River Thames Scheme”, a flood protection scheme that hasn’t got beyond planning stage yet.
• Being green: protect our environment as much as possible.
• Support people in need as much as possible. Having worked and managed the local foodbanks, I am all too aware of how much hidden poverty there is in this area.
Zelda Pitman (Cobham and Downside)
If elected she will work to ensure that the Council makes sound, practical, justifiable decisions in the interests of the whole community. Zelda has long been active in her local community, volunteering with charity fundraising events and social care for the elderly.
She is a fervent believer in a fair society for all and is concerned by the in-creasing reliance by hard working local families on food banks, as well as rising incidents of homelessness.
Zelda and her husband commute every day, so local traffic and transport issues are a serious consideration for her. With two primary school age children, Zelda is also concerned that education standards remain high and that everyone has access to good school places.
1. Cobham is congested and that creates daily problems for the residents, plus traffic fumes which deteriorates air quality. Single residences are knocked down and blocks of flats are built without any thought given for its impact. I am also concerned about homelessness and families relying on food banks, plus standards in education.
2. If elected my focus will be on bringing the community together to consider how we want Cobham to evolve. We want the process to be bottom up and as part of it I would want to encourage volunteering. Housing, traffic, vital services like social care, families in need and education will be my focus.
Mike Rollings (Claygate ward – elected since 2018)
Mike finds Claygate and its atmosphere a perfect antidote to the busyness of a big city. And that is what he wants to protect and enhance.
If elected as a councillor Mike will work in close collaboration with Mary Marshall and Alex Coomes, Claygate’s two other councillors.
These will be Mike’s priorities as one of Claygate’s three Elmbridge Borough councillors:
- Campaign for more well-located secondary school places for our children
- Support sensible planning, but oppose out-of-character or out-of-proportion applications
- Put pressure on Surrey to fix the dangerous potholes and ensure quality road repairs
- Work to maintain the vibrancy of The Parade, our retailers and businesses
- Protect our precious Green Belt which makes Claygate a great place to live
- Encourage community sports, community activism, culture and neighbourly conduct
- Assist seniors, youths, families and vulnerable people with appropriate services
- Enable increased recycling, reduce cost of waste disposal and control fly-tipping
Mike’s campaign theme ‘Our Kind of Claygate’ reflects his commitment to a high quality of life in the village.
1. Claygate faces several issues: dangerous potholes, the scourge of fly-tipping, missing school places, non-affordable housing, threat to our retailers, vital services for the elderly, youths and families. Above all the need to protect the Green Belt and the village from over-development.
2. I will work with Claygate’s two other Lib Dem councillors, Mary and Alex, to tackle the above issues. Press Surrey for more school places and maintaining roads and pave-ments. Work on Elmbridge’s plan to build affordable homes, fight to protect the Green Belt, support local shops and businesses, engage with young and old, and maintain Claygate’s unique character.
Graham Winton (Oatlands and Burwood Park ward – Cllr 1983-2007)
Graham Winton is standing in the borough elections because he wants to build a civic community in the ward. We all have our interests, problems, pastimes and needs. We can all benefit from a community spirit. The ward needs an identity.
If elected Graham will strive to
• promote a thriving Oatlands Village Centre
• integrate the major schools in the area (Cleves and Oatlands First)
• manage traffic in all the major through roads particularly pressing for “20mph is plenty” where there is congestion, vulnerable school chil-dren or residents
• promote cycling and walking in place of car journeys
• encourage a better use of large open spaces in the ward for recrea-tion, fitness and sport.
Electing a Liberal Democrat as your councillor will always secure you a willing community worker, such as Graham Winton.
1. There is a lack of a community feeling in a ward that sprawls. Schools, churches, shops, businesses and residents need to work together to solve problems and create op-portunities. Cooperation creates the right kind of progress which generates community wellbeing.
2. I would work with all parties on the council to seek solutions to problems as they arise. I would hold regular meetings with ward residents to discuss issues. I would be an enabler to hold those responsible to take action where needed, for example, police, county council, health services, social services, fire services not just the borough council.
About our councillors
The eight Elmbridge Liberal Democrat Councillors are part of the administration of the borough. The Liberal Democrats are in coalition with the various town parties of Ditton, Esher, Hersham, Molesey and Walton. They work to achieve a greener, cleaner, fairer and safer community, while ensuring value for money from our council tax. Information on the councillors is below. Their contact details are in the ‘Contact Us‘ section.