MEET THE CANDIDATES
Khalil Ahmed - Local Resident and Councillor, Parliamentary Candidate GE 2019, and Former Mayor (2014-2015)
Khalil has lived in the Disraeli ward since 1977 and represented it as a local councillor since 2011. Khalil was proud to serve as the Mayor of the Town from 2014 to 2015 and chose Diabetes UK and The Cardiomyopathy Association as part of his annual Mayor’s appeal, which raised a record-breaking £36,000 for both charities.
Khalil has always been passionate about his role as a local councillor and is willing to go the extra mile to support anyone asking for help.
As a supporter of the Women Against State Pension Increase (WASPI) cause, Khalil submitted a motion into Wycombe District Council to raise overall awareness and support of this issue.
The closure of Wycombe’s A&E and maternity departments’ has always been a main concern for all Wycombe residents, Khalil has been a long-standing supporter of the ‘Save our Hospital’ campaign. Another important campaign that Khalil supported all the way through to the High Court in London was the ‘Save the Children Centres’ campaign.
To tackle the problem of speeding, Khalil teamed up with local resident, Jodie Cristinziano, to form the Disraeli Action for Road Safety (DARS). DARS is now run by Dave Belshaw.
The Disraeli sheltered housing complex is home to over 50 elderly citizens and Khalil has made it a regular commitment to visit these senior citizens every week.
Khalil has always supported The Pastures Church and the Disraeli School with projects and initiatives by contributing his councillors ward budget. These projects include the purchase of a new scooter pod, learning resources, noticeboard and outdoor activity trail at the school and the refurbishment of toilets and a defibrillator at the church.
In the interest of fair democracy for all, Khalil along with Trevor, has always championed the need for a High Wycombe Town Council and worked tirelessly to trigger the Community Governance Review.
As part of the response to the pandemic, Khalil worked as part of the team to support not only Disraeli Coronavirus Community Support but other local vocal voluntary organisations.
Khalil makes a firm pledge to everyone that places their trust in him as councillor, to always listen and act for the best interests of the residents of Downley and represent them to the best of his ability.
Trevor Snaith - Community Champion, Former Mayor and WDC Councillor
Trevor Snaith has lived in High Wycombe for over 35 years. He has been a Councillor on Wycombe District Council for 8 years. Trevor has also been Mayor of High Wycombe and has been actively involved with many local voluntary organisations, groups and charities in the High Wycombe area.
Trevor raised over £500k to deliver the Wrights Meadow Community Centre and is currently a trustee of the centre. He has also worked closely with WISE to assist them on securing planning permission for their religious centre. He was also instrumental in stopping the closure of Holywell Mead Pool on the Rye and also put pressure on the Council to get it reopened.
Trevor has been a campaigner for the return of A&E to High Wycombe and continues to push for its return.
Trevor started the Wycombe Santa Sleigh in 2013 during his Mayoral Year. Wycombe Santa Sleigh annually collects for many local groups and charities.
At the start of lockdown in March 2020, Trevor created The Disraeli Coronavirus Support Group to help those struggling with lockdown. He set up The Pastures Church Food Bank, leading to the development of The Sticky Bun Runs around Downley. Trevor is also Chairman of Wycombe Food Hub, which also emerged from the work with The Pastures Food Bank.
Trevor, along with Khalil and Melanie are actively involved in a number of activities and campaigns in Downley. These include petitioning for a crossing outside the Disraeli School, petitioning for a doctors surgery in Downley, and working with Buckinghamshire Council on additional parking In Hughenden Park near Coates Lane.
Trevor believes in local democracy and fully supports Parish and Town Councils.
Trevor firmly believes that councillors are there to serve local residents and be community leaders, even more so in times of need. Those of you who have met Trevor know he will serve the residents of Downley well and always delivers what he promises.
Melanie Smith - Local Resident and Community Campaigner
Melanie lives in Downley and works for one of the UK’s largest estate agency groups as Head of Compliance alongside raising her two sons with her husband Tom who is a primary school teacher.
When the pandemic arrived last year, Melanie was furloughed and immediately volunteered to help local organisation Seerah Today as well as becoming the Street Rep for her road. When delivering a food parcel for a Disraeli resident, and having noted that the community wanted to donate food to those in need, Melanie concluded that a food bank was needed and immediately set about starting the Downley & Disraeli Foodbank based at The Pastures church with the incredible donations from Downley residents. Melanie also founded the Wycombe Food Hub alongside Trevor and Khalil and both initiatives continue to run today.
Melanie was also delighted to have been contacted by the BBC who noted the great work being done and arranged for Ross Kemp to come to Downley to film an episode of Britain’s Volunteer Army where Ross did the now infamous Sticky Bun Run and spoke to the residents of Littleworth Road about their local endeavours. Improving Downley community is at the top of the list for Melanie, who has ideas to make the Co-Op garden a community space and bring an artisan market to Cross Court.
Melanie said, ‘Helping local residents have a great community is the top of my agenda. I stand for integrity, honesty and transparency and will do my utmost to deliver on all the important issues our residents have.’
THE ELECTION JOURNEY SO FAR
Who would have thought a year ago we would have been in the middle of the worst pandemic the world has ever seen? The challenges have brought together so many people, groups and communities in many different ways. Trevor, Khalil, Melanie many others have been working hard alongside other groups and organisations during this difficult time.
During the first lockdown in March 2020 we set up the community support group to help residents in need of food parcels and those who were unable to get to the shops for necessities. We soon realised more help was needed.
Working with Pastor Ant Lee and the Pastures Church team, Trevor, Khalil and Melanie set up the Food Bank in the Pastures Church and were out every day collecting food from the generous residents of Downley and Disraeli.
During the first lockdown we rolled out The Sticky Bun Runs where we delivered cakes and treats by working with Downley Street Reps and residents groups across Disraeli. The Sticky Bun Runs became a regular event during all the lockdowns. Every week Trevor Khalil and Melanie delivered boxes of cakes and buns to the Downley Street Reps, community groups and pensioners in Disraeli. This was a great initiative that allowed the most vulnerable in the community to be identified and assisted. It was also a great way to get to know your neighbours. We were delighted to be able to arrange for BBC’s Britain’s Volunteer Army with Ross Kemp to come to Downley and film Ross doing the Sticky Bun Run.
Improving the Area
We believe councillors are there to serve local residents and our team has delivered many initiatives for the Downley, Disraeli and Plomer Hill areas. We believe Councillors should be community leaders and be there for residents all the time, and especially during times of need. There are a number of initiatives that need to be delivered for the community. Our aim is to make Downley a better place to live in for all.
We have a lot of community spirited people who will willingly get out and keep our area clean. Khalil, Trevor and Melanie have been constantly reporting fly tipping and illegal dumping and we have also conducted a number of clear ups. In Downley we arranged for dumped cars to be removed.
There is need for a health care centre in the area. A petition is underway and we have secured funding from Buckinghamshire Council for The Clinical Commissioning Group to undertake a consultation with the residents. More details can be found here: www.facebook.com/HealthcentreDoctorsSurgery4DownleyDisraeli
Speeding continues to be a sore issue for the area. With contributions from Khalil’s ward budget, we have been able to secure an MVAS at the cost of approx. £5000. We have also started a petition to ask Buckinghamshire Council to undertake a review for a pedestrian crossing outside The Disraeli School. You can get involved by joining Disraeli Action for Road Safety (DARS) at: www.facebook.com/groups/1683385425136059
Khalil and Trevor met the Hughenden Park Residents Association to review poor and unsafe parking near the Hughenden Park play area. The former De La Rue car park has now been resurfaced following Khalil’s lobbying of the council and work is ongoing with council officers to deliver signposts displaying the car park’s location and parking for Hughenden Park play area visitors.
Khalil was able to use part of his council ward budget and a grant from the British Heart Foundation to install a defibrillator at The Pastures church available for anyone to use in an emergency.
Khalil and Trevor saw that food poverty was an issue in the local area and created Wycombe Food Hub with a clear vision that no-one in our community should have to face going hungry. Volunteers collect residual food each night from supermarkets and the Wycombe Food Hub re-distributes the surplus food to 650 people a week. Wycombe Food Hub also supplies other groups like the One Can Trust, key workers, NHS workers, and those on the front line. If you are suffering food poverty contact https://wycombefoodhub.org/get-help/ or call 07971475401.
The residents and care workers at Hughenden Garden Village, The Heights, and The Royal Star and Garter have enjoyed frequent visits from Khalil and Trevor who along with Melanie delivered sticky buns and chocolate treats from the Pastures Food Bank and, more recently, the Wycombe Food Hub.
The celebrations around VE Day had to be somewhat low-key, although socially distanced street parties could be arranged. As key workers for the Food Bank, Khalil, Trevor and Melanie were able to visit the street parties and hand out chocolate animals and treats to local children.
Although Christmas was very different, Trevor and Khalil and a socially distanced Santa and sleigh made appearances across Downley.
OUR MANIFESTO PLEDGES
Khalil, Trevor and Melanie have a record of delivering and we have made the following clear pledges about what we will work on if elected:
We will actively support the work of the Downley Parish Council
We will deliver a Town Council for the unparished wards of High Wycombe (eg, Disraeli) which, unlike Downley, has not been allowed local democracy in the form of a Parish/Town Council
We will work with residents and the council on traffic calming measures to address the issue of speedingWe will address parking problems on a number of streets
We will improve road quality, potholes and pavements by ensuring the council puts all failed road surfaces we have been notified of on their priority repair list
We will address fly tipping and litter
We will address anti-social behaviour
We will work towards the creation of a new play area and skate park on Plomer Hill
We will work towards more car parking on Coates Lane to make access to Hughenden Park easier and safe
We will ensure establishing a doctors surgery for Downley is a key priority