Independent candidate Claire Wright launches manifesto

Claire Wright launched her manifesto this week. Ref exe 6325-05-15SH. Photo Simon Horn

Claire Wright launched her manifesto this week. Ref exe 6325-05-15SH. Photo Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

Independent parliamentary hopeful, Claire Wright, revealed this week the policies she hopes will see her voted in as East Devon’s MP in May.

At her manifesto launch at Exmouth Rugby Club, 100 days from the poll, she insisted that she would fight against cuts to youth and health services, bus routes, lollipop patrols and residential homes.

Councillor Wright, who currently sits on the district and county councils, called for laws compelling house builders to redevelop ‘brownfield’ sites instead of the greenbelt.

In front of 100 people, she was quizzed on her policies, acknowledging that there was ‘no bottomless pit’ of cash and added: “I feel that they [the Coalition Government] are

spending money on the wrong things, and that needs to be changed.”

Responding to concerns over the closure of hospital beds in Budleigh Salterton and Ottery St Mary hospitals, she said: “They say it will save money, but that isn’t the case.

“[At County Hall] We interviewed a GP…and it was revealed that the decision made at [their local hospital] at best would be cost neutral. All it will do is put more pressure on the carers in homes.”

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Cllr Wright railed against proposed county cuts to bus services that would leave some ‘isolated communities’ cut off. She said :“If it wasn’t for central government those cuts would not have to be made.

“I’m certainly opposed to those cuts, we need more investment in local rail services, the Exeter to Salisbury line and Exmouth and Exeter line, instead of HS2 - spend

the money on services that people actually want.

“They spent £3billion on reorganising the health service, the Health and Social Care Act has been nothing but damaging, privatisation through the back door.”

She branded police and crime commissioners ‘a waste of money’

and added: “Tax breaks for big businesses, why are we doing that? What about helping our local independent businesses which are struggling?”

Mrs Wright painted a picture of a ‘bulldozer-like’ East Devon District Council (EDDC) which didn’t listen to other views, and which wanted homes built on the greenbelt, to redevelop Exmouth’s seafront and build a supermarket on Exmouth’s rugby ground.

“I have spoken to some of the traders on the seafront – they feel EDDC dangled them on a string over the plans for three years.

“They can’t plan, and we need to recognise that Exmouth seafront is very special and some of those attractions are unique and they are heritage attractions.

She responded to Tory plans to stop the subsidy of wind farms and said: “Many are concerned about the landscape impact of wind and solar farms, I understand that.

“Rather than having speculative planning applications coming in, solar farms in particular, which can be very visually intrusive, what we need to do is sit down at the beginning of the Local Plan and work out where those solar farms or wind

farms might be best located to minimise the impact on the land. That would hopefully prevent them coming forward speculatively and sporadically.”

Mrs Wright called for more councillors of other political parties to stand at this May’s town and district council elections, adding:“We have a Conservative crime commissioner, a Conservative MP and every council locally is Conservative.”

“The county council...tends to be, fairly progressive, but the district council is...a dinosaur. It has always had a large Conservative majority...

getting things through is quite difficult because they block vote, and that can’t be good for democracy.

“People are tired of the old political parties, and May 7 has to be about getting a better balance on EDDC, and [a greater number of] other councillors, especially independents, because they don’t have to toe a party

line and can vote with their