So far we’ve been introduced to two fine candidates who are hoping to sit their bottoms on those lovely wooden seats in the council chamber, accidentally knock into the dodgy swinging microphones and gaze at the many variations of the name COLCHESTER on the wooden plaque… but how do you fancy meeting one who is already in there?
Yes, that’s right! In this blog you are meeting a real live Councillor, standing in the same Ward as Elisa Vasquez-Walters, from the previous blog. He doesn’t bite too much, he breathes oxygen, he comes when he’s called – in essence he’s just like a regular human!
In actual fact, he really is one of us, as you will find out below – there’s lots of pictures to prove it 🙂
Please meet Martin Goss, Liberal Democrat Candidate and Councillor for Mile End…
Martin was born in the vintage year of 1974 and has lived in Colchester since he was 4. Originally born in Waltham Forest, he moved to Loughton and then to Colchester. This new Colcestrian went to Prettygate Infants & Juniors and then Philip Morant. He also did his ONC & HND in Business & Finance at Colchester Institute before finishing a degree part-time whilst working and then completing an MBA through work!
Mr Goss now works as a Senior Project Manager in the Financial Services industry and married Rachel his long-term partner in October 2014.
I found Martin to be chatty, engaging and very knowledgeable. He is happy that the Coalition years are passed, although stressed the amount of restraint which was exercised by his party on the Conservatives at the time. He likes Tim Farron‘s leadership.
Martin says: “I am a very driven and caring person who likes to try and help others which motivates me to do my best for Mile End residents and Colchester along with our fantastic team of Dominic Graham, Phil Coleman and Anne Turrell.
I’ve absolutely loved being a Councillor for the last 8 years, having met so many fantastic local people and having been involved in many initiatives such as the Bergholt Road playground refurbishment, installation of over 50 new litter bins in our area and the planting of many new trees, becoming Broadband Champion for Mile End, setting up numerous Neighborhood Watch schemes, getting UK Power Networks to donate £1000 to St Helena Hospice after causing mayhem in our area with road works and fighting to get more school places for Mile End by visiting Ministers in Parliament.
I get many emails each day from local residents and have enjoyed helping resolve many local issues which matter to our residents.”
Interesting fact – I’ve met local sporting legends Bobby George and Peter Shilton.
ONWARDS TO QUESTIONS!
Colcestrian – So, as usual a simple one to get going – what’s your full name and what do you like to known as?
Martin – Martin Andrew Goss – I am always known as Martin.
Colcestrian – What do you like most about the Ward you are standing for, and what made you want to stand this time?
Martin – I like the fact Mile End has many main and important Colchester facilities such as the Hospital, Walk in Health Centre, Colchester United Stadium, Colchester Station and some local shopping facilities such as the Turner Rise Retail Park and Asda. It also has some great open spaces such as Cymbeline Meadows and Highwoods Country Park.
We also have some great schools here such as Queen Boudica, Braiswick Academy and Myland School along with the Gilberd.
Colcestrian – You do live in the Ward; what do you think about candidates standing in Wards they don’t live in?
Martin – I have lived in Mile End since 2005 and Colchester since 1978 since I was 4. You’re welcome to work out my age! 🙂
All parties should be looking to get the best candidates for their areas and if they live in a neighbouring ward but are the best person for the role then the electorate can have confidence they are voting for someone who will do their best locally. That’s what’s important. It is what the person does and what they deliver that’s important.
Colcestrian – What political party are you aligned with, if any, and why?
Martin – The Liberal Democrats. It fits best with my personal values and beliefs although I always challenge areas that I am less keen on – like any good local Councillor should do. The Lib Dems don’t have a whip so we are probably the most free thinking party.
The Lib Dems don’t have a whip so we are probably the most free thinking party.
Colcestrian – Do you think your political party’s actions at a national level will have an effect on you locally?
Martin – People generally vote differently in local and national elections, but the national scene can affect local elections, especially with an unpopular Government. Lib Dems have been doing very well at local elections in the last 12 months especially since we came out of the Coalition and chose Tim Farron as Leader.
Colcestrian – Everyone needs a break – what are your favourite hobbies?
Martin – I like to go to the gym and go out running as well as reading. I tend to read Autobiographies and Biographies as I find people really interesting and you get a good insight into various Leaders and how they’ve ended up in certain situations.
My other hobbies include scuba diving, cycling and visiting National Trust and English Heritage properties.
Colcestrian – When not doing politics, what does your day usually consist of?
Martin – I work full time as a Senior Project Manager in Financial Services, therefore when not at work my evenings and weekends are certainly spent looking after Mile End residents, dealing with correspondence or looking at projects to help improve our local area and town.
Colcestrian – How do you feel Colchester Borough Council currently performs for Colchester?
Martin – Sometimes residents get the split between Colchester and Essex County Council confused which isn’t surprising – personally I want one council that does everything well. Essex is responsible for roads i.e. pot holes, street lighting, infrastructure, Education, Social Services and some other big ticket items whereas Colchester is responsible for services such as planning, waste collection, tourism and open space maintenance.
Colchester performs well but like any organisation in the public or private sector there is always continuous change and improvements. Colchester is certainly one of the better councils at adapting to and leading change.
Colcestrian – What is the best thing about Colchester and what one thing would you change tomorrow about Colchester if you could?
Martin – Colchester has Castle Park which is magnificent. I want to see £4,000,000 invested in North Station immediately by Essex County Council to help rid us of the congestion along with the Park and Ride calling at Colchester Hospital.
I want to see £4,000,000 invested in North Station immediately
Colcestrian – Who are your heroes?
Martin – Steve Redgrave and Winston Churchill.
Colcestrian – What would you do to promote disabled rights if you are a Councillor after the election?
Colcestrian – What would you do for women’s rights in the town once election day is passed?
Martin – Everyone should be treated equally and I have been known to pull people up where I spot instances where anyone is treated unfairly. I am happy to work with any group to help promote women’s rights. Wage surveys still seem to indicate that in some sectors women’s pay can still be slightly further behind some of their male counterparts. It must be fair, equitable and everyone must be treated as equals at all times. I will always do what I can to help.
Colcestrian – What is your view on the spread of fines for the rough sleeping and homeless?
Martin – I am extremely concerned about rough sleeping and the homeless. I along with the Mile End team have made a concerted effort to reach out to the Homeless shelter in Colchester and visit as we want to look at doing things differently in this town and have some fresh new ideas.
I’m personally not keen on fines but there are also different levels of homelessness so it’s a complex area but needs fixing.
Colcestrian – Do you think the ‘Living Wage’ is truly a living wage?
Martin – If you’re talking about the Chancellors Living Wage then no, this isn’t the Living Wage in the truest sense. The real living wage is higher than that recommended and set by George Osborne. This is a complex area and does of course get entwined with tax credits which can further distort the figures. The true living wage is much fairer, not the one recommended by Government. It’s fiddling around the edges.
Colcestrian – Are you happy to keep promoting Colchester as a welcoming place for refugees?
Martin – Colchester is the most multi-cultural town in Essex and we have a long and rich history of helping those in need, whether they are from our town or from outside. It’s important to strike a balance to ensure those most in need are helped whilst being treated equally and fairly.
Colchester is the most multi-cultural town in Essex
Colcestrian – What is the biggest problem in the Ward you are standing in?
Martin – The biggest issue is North Station congestion which the whole town raises concerns about. This is our top priority to get resolved as well as stopping any further housing development here.
Colcestrian – Which green and ecologically-wise policies do you think Colchester borough should instigate?
Martin – Colchester has been at the forefront of using solar panels on their stock of buildings where
it is viable to do so which has made a major reduction on the Council’s own emissions. There is more work going on in this area. We have also looked into a wind turbine along with other policies such as Developers and the Council only planting bee friendly plants. Money has also been provided via grants from Government to clean up some of Colchester’s most polluted buses. Work needs to continue in this area. The Park and Ride also needs to call at the hospital as this will help remove some car journeys off the road.
I would like to see more electric charging points and work is underway to make these mandatory on new houses developments.
Cycling and walking also needs to continue to be promoted but not ridiculous investments made such as on Mile End Road where £750,000 has been invested in a cycle lane nobody has requested or wants. Essex County Council cannot make the sum add up and even the cycling experts have dismissed it as a waste of money.
£750,000 has been invested in a cycle lane nobody has requested or wants
Colcestrian – Tollgate Village, Northern Gateway… views?
Martin – Colchester is a growing town and our sport, leisure facilities and retail also need to continue to grow appropriately. The Northern Gateway is an exciting development in Mile End which if approved will deliver some major sport and leisure facilities for Mile End but also all of Colchester and beyond.
Tollgate is currently undergoing a planning appeal so the Government will appoint an Inspector to make a final decision on both applications later this year. Work is also underway on the next Local Plan so I’m looking forwards to seeing the next iteration of that in June which will again look at the Tollgate land along with all land allocations across Colchester.
If Colchester had approved Tollgate locally the Government would have made the final decision regardless as it would have to be sent off to the Secretary of State for a final decision and I’m not sure if people were aware of that.
Colcestrian – Do you think our current government and electoral system is fit for purpose?
Martin – Proportional representation is by far the most fair electoral system rather than first past the post. Many European Countries use proportional representation and even the mayoral elections use this system.
Relating to Government I’m not happy with the amount of cuts to our Police, NHS, Education system and local services. Cuts are set to get more brutal over the next few years so the levels of service will be unrecognisable. Our deficit continues to grow so the current strategy isn’t working.
Colcestrian – Are you having second thoughts?
Martin – Absolutely not. I am exceedingly passionate about Mile End and Colchester and will continue to do my very best for all residents as I have done for the last 8 years.
So there you go – Our first Q&A with a standing Councillor. Did you like what he had to say? Did you enjoy the sneak insight into the inner workings of the council?
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As always, if you are a Candidate who wants to show the public your real side, take part in The Colcestrian’s Colchester Candidate Q&A! Drop me an email on email@example.com – Your face could be here!