Doncaster mayoral election: what matters to you
Bins, parking, anti-social behaviour, and care for the elderly look like they could be among the big issues in this year's Doncaster mayoral election.
It is just weeks until Doncaster goes to the polls to elect a mayor, who will have executive powers at Doncaster Council.
Over that time, residents can expect leaflets and promises from the six candidates whose names will be on the ballot paper on May 4.
But residents on the streets of Doncaster have told the Free Press what they think those who want to take the most powerful political job in the borough should be looking to sort out if they want to move in to the big office at the Civic Buildings.
Jane Birchall, aged 61, of Cantley believes the care of the elderly to be a major issue in the borough. Jane herself used to work in the sector, but left shortly after Doncaster Council stopped running several of its homes, despite protests.
She said: “I’m not sure if I’ll be voting - I’m not a fan of politicians. But I was concerned when the council pulled out of its care homes. The council run homes were the best ones in my opinion.
“I think care homes for the elderly are a big issue. I used to work at Plantation View.
Friend Wendy Gregory, aged 57, of Cantley, agreed that the care of the elderly was important - but it was not the only issue that would like to see the mayor look at.
She said: “I think there is an issue of drugs in Cantley, as well as drinking on the streets - antisocial behaviour is an issue I would like to see dealt with.
“But I also think there is an issue with housing in Doncaster. I had to leave my three bedroom home because it was underoccupied, and I think they need to build more homes for Doncaster people. My son is in a one bedroom flat with a baby on the way. He will need more room.”
For Robert Clifford, aged 28, of Wheatley, parking is the big issue.
Robert is disabled, as he has muscular dystrophy. He said: “I can’t park near my own home, and that is a problem for me. But it is not just near my house that parking is an issue. I struggle to park in town too. I got fined at the market once even though I have a blue badge. I think parking needs to be sorted out in Doncaster generally.”
He said he had not decided whether he would vote yet.
Bramwell Pearson, aged 90, of Sprotbrough, also thinks parking is an issue - especially near his home.
He was one of the first people to move onto his street 50 years ago. Since then, it has had schools built nearby, with parents picking up pupils causing an issue for residents.
He said: “From about 2.50pm until 3.45 the road is jammed. During that time, if someone had a stroke and needed an ambulance, there would be no way it could get down the road. They park on the footpath too. I would vote for whoever could sort that out. Two cul-de-sacs effectively become a school car park.”
Rachel Dickinson, aged 49, of Stainforth, who is retired through ill health, feels the biggest issues are unemployment, immigration and the benefits cap.
She is worried about people using concerns over immigration to cause trouble. She added: “I think the biggest issue in Stainforth is that there a lot of young people who have nothing to do, who then go and get into trouble.
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“There are more cuts to community resources, and less and less places for young people to go, and I think they should be looking at that.
Rachel, who has suffered from weight problems said she would also like to see more resources put into dealing with weight issues, which she feels is neglected in comparison to alcohol and stopping smoking.
Selena Skelding, aged 49, of Dunscroft agreed that more needed to be done to occupy young people and stop antisocial behaviour.
She said: “Where I live, the dumpit site is at the end of the lane, and we get youngsters aged from nine to 17 congregating round there, and they have nothing to do but cause chaos. I would like something to be done to help them. I would like to see them do something at Jubilee Park. They should get some money to do something there for the kids, something safe for them. They should talk to them and see what they want.”
She added she was also concerned about the amount of flytipping in the area, and wanted to see action on that and bin collections.
“The flytipped rubbish gets set on fire, and then the fire brigade end up getting called out,” she said. “And then if your bin doesn’t close property because it is full you get a warning sticker saying they will not collect it next time. It is not surprising when bins used by families are only being collected every two weeks.”
Pals Helen Steedon, aged 43, of Bentley, and Suzanne Fretwell, aged 39, of Balby, both feel more needs to be done to tackle homelessness in the borough.
Helen said: “You can see the problem on the street in town. There are plenty of empty buildings, and they should open them up. I’d like to see them use the old police station in Bentley.”
Suzanne added: “The problem seems to be in the town centre. I spoke to a lad who was sat in a doorway with three sleeping bags. He had been released from prison and had no where to go.”
The candidates will appear alphabetically on the ballot paper as follows:
George Jabbour - Conservative
Ros Jones - Labour Party
Eddie Todd - Independent
Brian Alfred Whitmore - UKIP
Chris Whitwood - Yorkshire Party
Steve Williams - Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition