With council elections just around the corner, we’re shining the spotlight on South Tyneside’s candidates in the run-up to polling day on May 6.
Each one has been given the opportunity to tell readers why they’re running for a seat on the borough council and why people should vote for them.
Here’s what candidates standing in the Westoe ward have to say.
1. Paul Brenen (Independent)
I am Paul Brenen and I am standing as an independent in Westoe. If elected, I would fight for a more transparent council. One of my priorities would include improving our parks and green and open spaces. I want to improve tourism and look after our coastline, natural assets, historic buildings and green belt. I hope to help improve education and see our town centres attract jobs. I would fight the cuts we are seeing in our public services. I want to continue the trend of independent-minded councillors challenging the party which has dominated the town’s politics since before any of us can remember! I would fight the decline I see in the (party) that has plagued the council chamber and isolated the MP through feuds and infighting. Vote Paul Brenen, vote Independent! Photo: Paul Brenen (Independent)
2. Ann Best (Labour Party)
I offer the people of Westoe and South Tyneside 40 years of professional experience working in local economic regeneration, education, employment development, local and national government and democracy. I have lived in South Shields all my life, coming from a close family of miners, armed forces personnel, NHS and council workers. I work hard and respect everyone. I want swift and positive change in our town. I have the skills, ideas, local contacts and understanding to listen to local people carefully and make sure I act only in their interests. Please contact me via social media to find out more. Photo: Ann Best (Labour Party)
3. Heidi Wildhirt (Conservative Party)
This election provides South Tyneside with a real choice. Will you vote for the same ideas rebranded, for those who repeat the same old rhetoric? Or for someone who strives to see better opportunities, who wants to help our area prosper and flourish so we can be proud of where we live. Newfound blue wall seats are experiencing record investment. However, in South Tyneside, financial aid and grants have failed to reach our pockets, despite the Government having awarded them. Our council needs new faces prepared to scrutinise and put forward new, viable, progressive ideas to benefit local people. It’s politically convenient for our Labour monopolised council to keep Conservative developed opportunities at bay and starve our businesses’ of funding. It’s time our council worked with the Government and stopped playing with your future. If you, like me, want to build a better Westoe, join me on May 6. Photo: Heidi Wildhirt (Conservative Party)
4. Anna-Louise Lambie (Green Party)
I moved into the area almost five years ago. My family are originally from South Shields and I have fond memories of visiting the beach and flying kites on the Leas when I was a child. My background is in mental health and education and the pandemic has highlighted our needs for solid mental health provision and support for our education system. We live in a naturally beautiful area which needs preserving for future generations to enjoy. We have everything we need, the area is a hardworking area: we can work hard and enjoy it too. Vote Green on May 6 for a positive alternative. Photo: Anna-Louise Lambie (Green Party)