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UK Independence Party’s Watford mayoral candidate, Phil Cox, outlines key pledges
The UK Independence Party’s Watford mayoral candidate has pledged to end the "war on motorists", found an Office of Common Sense and make the council the most transparent in the UK, if elected.
Phil Cox, who was selected to stand in the May elections last week, also promised to protect the Farm Terrace Allotments and conduct a public review of the health campus scheme.
The 53-year-old IT businessman will be the first UKIP candidate to stand for elected mayor in Watford.
He said he had been prompted to stand as he felt the council had become an institution that dictated rather than listened to residents under current mayor and Liberal Democrat administration.
Speaking to the Watford Observer this week, Mr Cox said he had found the council’s customer service wanting in the past and hoped to found an Office of Common Sense, where residents could take complaints and suggestions.
He said: "We want that to be a non-council office run by people contracted in who will adjudicate on suggestions from the general public. It’s a bit like a suggestion box.
"This will be the sort of place where you can write to the council and say ‘I said to the council this, I told them I was having a problem with that’ and go to the office of common sense and they will say ‘yes, the council should have done this thing’ and that will come to me as the mayor."
Mr Cox said UKIP disagreed with the council’s decision to allow the Farm Terrace Allotments to be built on as part of the health campus scheme in West Watford.
He said: "They have not started building yet, so we would do everything in our power to save Farm Terrace. We are 100 per cent for keeping allotments where they belong, which is near people."
Mr Cox suggested that if elected he would look into whether having the main acute hospital in the "packed" West Watford area was best solution or if it should possibly move to a "more central location" to Watford, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans.
However he said any new hospital should be funded by the Government, adding: "I have never believed in PFI (private finance initiatives) it’s like buying on a credit card. Someone else’s credit card and it is a crazy way of doing things. All it does is push the bills further down the line for someone else to pick up.
"Government should build these sort of infrastructure projects. It should be fully Government funded."
Other policies mooted by the party are a review of controlled parking zone and the plan to make Watford a 20mph zone, a review of council pay and allowing an outside organisations such as the Taxpayers Alliance to inspect the council’s accounts.
Mr Cox grew up in Croxley Green before moving to Watford in 2001. He was initially a Labour member in his youth before moving to the Social Democratic Party, which broke away from Labour in 1981. He remained a member of the party when it became the Liberal Democrats and later rejoined Labour.
In 2010 the married father-of-three joined UKIP after becoming "disillusioned" with the main parties.
Mr Cox said he had voted for the current mayor, Dorothy Thornhill, before but now felt her administration was becoming dictatorial.
He said: "I don’t like the way that the council run by the Lib Dems are treating the people of Watford. I believe the council should be responsive to the people of Watford, be on the side of the people of Watford, listening to the people of Watford.
"We will act as independents as councillors and the mayor and put the town first. We will have no agendas whatsoever."
The UKIP candidate also criticised Mayor Thornhill for not ruling out running in the General Election next year as well as seeking re-election as mayor.
He added: "It could be construed that she is using Watford to keep her in a job until the General Election, in which case she would gladly wave goodbye to the town of Watford and say ‘thanks very much and thanks for all the fish’."
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