By-election candidates for Pill quizzed by residents
1:46pm Friday 25th October 2013 in News
CANDIDATES for the Halloween Newport council by-election were put under the spotlight by residents at an election hustings at the Pill Millennium Centre.
Three of the four candidates taking part in the October 31 poll in Pill grappled with subjects ranging from the state of Commercial Road to anti-social behaviour.
Around 90 residents attended the event organised by Pillbank Lane Neighbourhood Watch.
The by-election was called following the death of Labour stalwart Cllr Ron Jones.
Omar Ali, standing for Labour, said his family have lived in Pill for many years with his father having arrived in 1961.
“I’m aware of many of the difficulties in the ward. In my personal opinion all that is overshadowed by the quality in Pill,” he said.
Lib Dem candidate Paul Halliday said he was shocked at “how many of you are passionate about Pill but feel like no one listens to you.”
“I want to give you the opportunity to know you can get in touch with me,” he said.
Tory Tony Ismail said he was dedicated to work for Pill, saying Labour weren’t working for the area.
“I’ll listen to you. That’s your voice for you to give to me to tell me what to do,” he said.
Plaid’s Simon Coopey stood in for party candidate Khalilur Rahman who couldn’t make the meeting due to a family illness.
He said Mr Rahman still lives in Pill, isn’t a career politician and wouldn’t be a “Labour box ticker but someone on your side”.
One resident asked candidates what they would do to tidy up Commercial Road, saying the buildings are a disgrace.
Mr Ali said work was not going to happen overnight and it was something that needed to be chipped away at, but Mr Halliday claimed previous administrations hadn’t spent money earmarked for Pill.
Mr Ismail he would “sort it out and get involved” while Mr Coopey said it would have taken less time if previous administrations had started on work rather than “sitting on their hands on resources allocated for Pill”.
One resident asked who would support people with “broken lives”, like alcoholics and prostitutes, and not just want to see them pushed out.
Mr Coopey said such people needed to be treated with respect. The Lib Dem’s Mr Halliday said he has worked with homeless people and alcoholics, but said it couldn’t be ignored that people were afraid of walking up Commercial Road.
Mr Ali said he was helping young people with Communities First and had tried to act as a link between different communities. Mr Ismail said: “We need to clean the place up.”
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