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Meet Your Candidates

Steve Cheeseman – Allington

I am Maidstone through and through – I’ve lived here all my life, grew up in Barming and have moved around a bit since then. The only time I wasn’t living in Maidstone was my time at University, where I got involved in politics. Initially I was a Lib-Dem but when they went back on their promises time and time again I began reading through the manifesto’s of other Partys’ and found I was most aligned to the Green Party.

Locally we need to take immediate action to stop building on all our green spaces, and our current councillors don’t seem to want to do that. We also need to combat the growing level of traffic in Maidstone with new ideas-not just more roads. I have a daughter on the way and I want to make sure she has somewhere great to grown up.

Donna Greenan – Bridge Ward

Donna grew up in Maidstone and attended Invicta Grammar School. She worked for local companies and in London before moving to Scotland and the Czech Republic for a few years. She returned to Maidstone to bring up her family and works for a local charity.

Donna has been an active campaigner in Bridge Ward for many years, delivering newsletters throughout the year across the ward and writing to residents about concerns in particular roads. She has regularly called on residents to gain their views and help take their concerns further with the council. She has attended council meetings and planning meetings and has asked questions or contributed evidence to consultations.

Donna says: “I thoroughly enjoy the work that I have been doing so far for residents in Bridge Ward but I hope that this year I will be elected as a Councillor for the ward so that I can continue this work and do so much more for residents. My key priorities are protecting the remaining green spaces we have in Maidstone, looking at strategies to reduce litter, and make our streets safer for everyone so that we can live as a community.”

Caroline Jessel – Boughton Monchelsea

I am standing as a Green Party candidate because I remain deeply concerned for our collective future. Although we have now acknowledged that we are in a climate and ecological emergency our actions still fall well short of what is needed to avert multiple catastrophes. I also believe that if we address these issues correctly and energetically we can create a healthier, happier world.

Dr Caroline Jessel was the NHS England Lead for the South Regional Sustainability and Health Network. She has been a GP for 30 years in Kent and has always had a strong interest in the relationship between the environment and health. She is the chair of the Kent Nature Partnership and a Trustee of Kent Wildlife Trust and the Wealden Literary Festival. She is very interested in the challenges of creatively addressing root causes of both physical and mental health difficulties while reconnecting with nature.
She is the chair and founder of Dandelion Time, which has an innovative approach to helping children affected by trauma, abuse and neglect. This unique therapeutic model is a successful example of ecotherapy.

Claire Kehily – Coxheath

I have lived in Maidstone for all of my life, growing up in Coxheath and now live in East Farleigh. I am married with 2 grown up children and worked in Health and Social care for nearly 20 years, as well as various other roles. I am currently just finishing a temporary role at The Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter – a role I revisit yearly as well as working as an Independent  Funeral Celebrant .

Standing as a candidate for the Green Party  is important for me as it reflects my personal belief that we are guardians of this earth, and must work together to protect her, to attempt to prevent future desecration and try to repair some of the damage that has been done already, as well as focusing on other social, political and historical issues that need addressing. 

Chris Turner – Fant Ward

I have lived and worked in Fant for over twenty years and I have supported a number of local groups over the years. As a Green councillor I would work to unite council and community to change the focus of decision making and planning to one to true sustainability.

Pandemic is a grand word conveying immense scale and it is easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless by the COVID crisis. The truth though is that many communities and individuals stepped up and organised themselves to give great support and encouragement to their neighbours. This spirt is urgently needed to tackle the local and international crises of global heating and environmental breakdown. What you hear from David Attenborough is happening on our door step. Voting Green really can change our direction.

Mike Summersgill – Marden and Yalding

Mike has spent his entire working life using soil and water engineering techniques to clean up contaminated sites, put drainage and water supply systems in for people, re-use surplus soils and help alleviate flooding issues. Recognising that Nature is a fragile system that humans tinker with at their peril led Mike into Green politics as a way of improving communities’ local/regional environments and making a difference in a time of climate emergency.

A past President of a 10,000 strong international professional body of engineers and scientists, and a local music promoter in his spare time, Mike has recently retired after 45 years work and wants to harness his skills to the benefit of Maidstone and Kent.

Stuart Jeffery – North Downs

I spend a lot of my time walking the North Downs, the hills I’ve grown up with and love, so I was delighted to be selected to stand for North Downs Ward that stretches from Stockbury across to Hollingbourne and on to Warren Street. It is a huge area of the most gorgeous hills and villages.

I continue to fight the rampant and unnecessary housing on our green field sites, I campaign for 20mph limits where people live and I am deeply concerned about fly tipping and littering, indeed rural crime in general.

I have spent my career in the NHS, firstly as a nurse and later as a director. I now teach health care at the University of Kent.

Ian McDonald – Boxley Ward

I have been an active member of the Green Party for 30 years and lived in Maidstone for 28 years. I worked previously for London Transport and for former British Rail in administrative roles. I am involved in many other campaigns: on the environment and climate change, significantly improving public transport, recycling rubbish sensibly, opposing new housing development in most greenfield areas. I have a strong interest in international affairs, supporting relevant campaigns on improving justice and human rights in the UK and in other countries. 

2 thoughts on “Meet Your Candidates

  1. To all Green Party candidates,
    Please tell me how you plan to put pressure on KCC and Maidstone BC to rapidly improve our air quality?
    I don’t have the figures to hand but it is generally thought locally that the levels of pollution are very high and do not comply with EU or World Health standards.
    Since a coroner recently stated that poor air quality contributed to the death of the little girl, Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, both authorities must face up to the problem and speedily, for the health of all residents and to avoid the possibility of facing expensive legal proceedings.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Maggie,

      Thank you for your question. You are correct, the air pollution in Maidstone has exceeded maximum allowed levels and breached the law for many years. In particular, Upper Stone Street is one of the worst polluted roads in the country.

      In terms of pressure on MBC and KCC, we have asked questions at council meetings, exposed their failings in the press, demonstrated outside County Hall and the town hall and even set up monitoring ourselves. We will continue to do all of these until we see action. In addition our councillors will continue to campaign, ask questions and demand action of KCC (and MBC if we are successful).

      We will also push for implementation of our transport plan. We are keen to see an Ultra Low Emission Zone, electrified public transport, more cycle lanes, a 20mph limit in residential areas and better support for pedestrians. All of these will reduce emissions.

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