South Gloucestershire’s Liberal Democrats scored a stunning result in yesterday’s Frenchay and Downend by-election – pushing Labour into 3rd place and narrowly missing out to the Conservatives, who retained the seat with a vastly reduced majority of just 221.
The Liberal Democrat candidate was well-known local shopkeeper and parish councillor, Raj Sood. Raj was the only candidate who lives in the Frenchay and Downend ward. He runs the convenience store on Quakers Road and joined Downend and Bromley Heath parish council in 2015.
Speaking after the result was announced Raj said:
“It is clear from this result that many people in Frenchay and Downend are tired of being taken for granted by the Conservatives. I have been running a campaign built on listening to local residents and championing the issues that matter to them, like helping our local businesses to recover, direct bus services to Southmead Hospital and tackling ring road traffic noise.
“I feel indebted to people who showed their faith in me. I will continue to serve them as a Parish Councillor and local campaigner to the best of my ability.”
Councillor Claire Young, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on South Gloucestershire Council said:
“Raj’s phenomenal result in Frenchay and Downend – cutting the Tory lead to just 221 - shows that people in South Gloucestershire are growing disenchanted with the ruling Conservative Party. At a time when the Conservatives are making gains elsewhere, they are losing support in South Gloucestershire.
“We are confidently looking forward to the next local elections.”
Local campaigner and South Glos Council by-election candidate, Raj Sood, has called for improved safety for people traveling by foot and bicycle around Frenchay & Downend. In an extensive correspondence with council officials, he has raised a number of issues including potentially confusing traffic signals on junctions such the Hambrook Lights, the need for traffic calming measures outside the Quaker's Road schools in Bromley Heath, and the lack of safe pedestrian routes around Frenchay. Officials have now offered him an on-site meeting at the Hambrook Lights to discuss this topic further.
"The recent appalling incident at the Hambrook Lights junction in which a cyclist was very seriously injured must act as a wake-up call for our community. Active travel - by foot or bicycle - has enormous health and environmental benefits. We need to encourage it by providing safe pedestrian and cycle routes, including safe places to cross our roads, and by discouraging speeding traffic in residential areas.
"These are topics that are frequently raised with me by local residents. People want to be able to walk safely to school with their children. It should be safe to cycle to the shops or other amenities rather than feel one has to use a car. We should be doing so much better."
Eddy Gadsby, President of South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats, has issued a statement on behalf of the Party:
"I am sure we are all greatly saddened to hear the news of the death of His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and would want to offer our heartfelt and sincere condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and all the Royal Family.
His life of service to our nation will stand as a lasting tribute to him."
Eddy GadsbyRead more
Lib Dems are calling for an economic development plan for Yate, following the announcement that South Gloucestershire Council has purchased the Whirlpool factory on Station Road, Yate. The council has leased the site back to Whirlpool, with options to renew.
Stephen Williams, West of England regional mayor candidate for the Liberal Democrats said:
"Whirlpool is a major employer in Yate and one of the region's few manufacturers of household goods. South Gloucestershire Council is right to help the company stay on this key site. What is also needed now is the bringing forward of an economic development plan for the western gateway to Yate. This should include land set aside for new employment and housing and the reconfiguration of Yate station, making it a transport hub for residents and workers in the area. If I'm elected West of England mayor this May I will make this plan a key priority."
Cllr Claire Young, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on South Gloucestershire Council, said:
“This site has been at the heart of manufacturing in Yate for many decades. It’s an important provider of jobs for local people and has a significant place in the heritage of the town. It’s vital that the community are fully involved in planning for its future.”
Voters in South Gloucestershire are set to go to the polls on the 6th of May to elect a new West of England Mayor and Police & Crime Commissioner. Those in Frenchay & Downend also have the opportunity to elect a new South Gloucestershire Councillor in a by-election.
We don't know what the situation will be like in May, but the safest way to make your voice heard is to sign up today for a postal vote!
Download the form here:
and either email a scanned copy to:
or post it to:
South Gloucestershire Council
Electoral Registration and Returning Officer
PO Box 1953
Alternatively, you can nominate someone to vote for you at a Polling Station. Further details about both Postal and Proxy voting can be found here:
The Liberal Democrat candidates on May the 6th are Stephen Williams (West of England Mayor), Heather Shearer (Avon & Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner) and Raj Sood (Frenchay & Downend Ward).