UKIP hopes to form “a large group and challenge the total dominance of the Conservative group” on East Lindsey District Council.
The party currently has just two members on the council, but predicts large gains in the May 7 elections.
Julia Pears, the UKIP group leader on East Lindsey, has been a district councillor for some years and is standing in Coningsby and Mareham.
The former Coningsby Primary School teacher was once a Conservative but was unhappy at the “solid whipping” of Tory councillors to make them toe the party line. “UKIP does not ‘whip’ its councillors, so we can speak and stand up for things we support,” she said.
UKIP, she says, wants to see better planning in the district, saying it needs more housing especially for younger people, but the infrastructure like schools, roads and GP surgeries must come first, adding the existing medical facilities in Coningsby cannot cope with the development planned there.
Coun Pears also “strongly objects” to parking charges introduced by ruling Conservatives into Coningsby and Tattershall, saying they are unpopular, hitting businesses, leading people to park in side roads, and cost the county money in painting double yellow lines.
“If UKIP get in, we will review the car parking charges and promote the small villages,” she said.
Her husband Les Pears is standing for UKIP in Hagworthingham, and the former lorry and rally driver says motorists are too often seen as a ‘cash cow’ for government. Both would push for more fixing of potholes, saying they are costing motorists many repairs to their vehicles.
Coun Pears comes from an RAF family has supported the British Legion with a council grant.
“I’m a great supporter of attending the Poppy Appeal and the Remembrance Services,” she said.
Beekeeper and chairman of UKIP’s Louth & Horncastle branch Mike Beecham is the party’s Horncastle candidate.
Mike said the party has conducted straw polls and discovered major drops in support for the other parties, while support for UKIP has increased ‘6-7-fold.’ He also believes there is a ‘hidden’ party support for UKIP as some people prefer not to reveal their preferences to pollsters.
“I have heard the Conservatives are running quite scared of the fact that we are going to take a lot of seats,” he said.
East Lindsey needs more houses, he said, but rather than the council simply meeting targets set by central government, local residents need more control about what is built and where.
In the recent TV debate, UKIP Leader Nigel Farage said the party favoured ‘brownfield’ development.
“We should use more sites that have been used before. There’s plenty of brownfield land but developers don’t want it because there’s more work. A bit more pressure on them might make a difference. Planning in East Lindsey is not all that it should be,” Mike continued.
Mike agrees parking is another major issue, saying the first hour should be free in car parks. “Car parking charges are killing a lot of businesses,” he said.
Other UKIP candidates in East Lindsey include Aimee Flitcroft (Coningsby & Mareham), Ebony Moore (Spilsby), and Andrew Truscott (Teford & Donington).