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Conservative mayoral candidate Linda Topping outlines plans for town hall
The Conservative Watford mayoral candidate has pledged to help small shopping parades, take a 10 per cent pay cut and light up the Croxley Rail Link viaduct like the London Eye, if elected.
Linda Topping outlined her plans for Watford Town Hall this week after being selected by the party to stand in the May election.
The candidate said she also backed the loss of the Farm Terrace Allotments in the health campus scheme as the regeneration of the area was a "greater good".
In an interview with the Watford Observer, Mrs Topping said she felt her background in business and charity work meant she could help get "value for money" at Watford Council for taxpayers.
Mrs Topping was a founding organiser and chairman of the Starlight Walk, which has raised more than a £1 million for the Peace Hospice, and is currently a director and trustee of the Darcorum Sports Trust.
Talking about her reasons for running she said: "I don’t have children at home, which is one of my big reasons. My baby is now 22 and I have no dependents apart from a dog and a husband. I mean that nicely.
"I have my own time for the first time in my life. I have a proven track record of raising money and I have a proven track record of saving money."
One of the areas she said she would look to save money would be the combined cost of the offices of the elected mayor and managing director.
She said: "Some councils do not have mayors. Why does Watford need a mayor and an MD? I am not saying they don’t. But that question needs to be asked and the answer needs to be given to the electorate of Watford. Does the MD need such a large salary if we have a mayoral figure?"
Asked where she stood on the mayor’s £65,000 salary, Mrs Topping added: "I think the mayor should lead by example and I would take at least a 10 per cent cut, if not more."
Another area Mrs Topping said she would like to reform at Watford Council was its printed magazine, About Watford. She described the magazine’s content as looking like a "Lib Dem manifesto" and said she wanted it to "reflect Watford".
However Mrs Topping was in agreement with the current Liberal Democrat mayor, Dorothy Thornhill, over the fate of the Farm Terrace Allotments in West Watford, which are due to be built over as part of the health campus project.
Mrs Topping said: "I have terrific sympathy with the allotment holders but for the greater good maybe the investment has to take precedent. I say that with a heavy heart."
The Conservative added that one of her main concerns was for smaller shopping areas of the town in places like St Albans Road, the Garston Parade, and Stanborough.
She said: "A lot of our shopping centres need attention. I think these smaller shopping areas are vital to ensuring not just a happy community but also that a community lasts. We have got to support smaller businesses."
One of the more eye-catching initiatives mooted by Mrs Topping is to light up the new viaduct over Ascot Road, which is being built as part of the Croxley Rail Link
She said: "If you do look at the Bushey Arches and the lights, they can be changed, and it is also how the London Eye is lit up in London. It spruces it up."
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