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Bramley Conservative candidate - Simon Mahaffey

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Simon Mahaffey, the Conservative councillor who is up for re-election in the Bramley ward, said he was determined to continue protecting the local countryside if re-elected.

The 56-year-old said he had lived in the same house in Bramley for the last 43 years and was a “true local”.

He said: “It really matters to me that the nature of the countryside and the rural communities are protected.

Simon Mahaffey is hoping to retain his seat (56293416)
Simon Mahaffey is hoping to retain his seat (56293416)

“Being part of the Conservative administration means I will have a stronger voice.

“I can actually influence what’s going on around Bramley whereas anybody from the independents will be a voice in the wilderness.”

Mr Mahaffey, an ex-paratrooper who’s now a compliance director for an insurance firm, said he had proposed a motion at the last council meeting to protect villages closest to Basingstoke – such as Bramley, Silchester, and Sherfield-on-Loddon – from substantial development.

He added: “If there is development going ahead, it needs to be appropriate character for the village, low level in scale, and most importantly, we’ve got to have the infrastructure and support.

“The big concern for Bramley at the moment is that the sewage system isn’t adequate and also the infrastructure can’t support large scale development.

“We’ve got one stop shop with only three parking spaces, the doctor’s surgery is overflowing, the school has no room to expand and the level crossing causes considerable traffic delays.”

Mr Mahaffey, who campaigned against the development of the Bramley Frith solar farm, didn’t anticipate any national stories such as the cost-of-living crisis or “partygate” to have any local impact on voting.

He said: “You have to recognise that local issues are distanced from national issues.

“I make the comparison of what goes on in Westminster to me being, for example, a Manchester City football fan.

“I support the team because I like the team, but to expect me to have an influence on Guardiola’s afternoon team choices is ridiculous.

“We must identify that national issues and local issues are very different.”

Click here for the Alliance for Democracy and Freedom candidate - Sarah Packman

Click here for the Basingstoke and Deane Independents candidate - Tony Durrant

The election will take place on Thursday.

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