Our Core Values & Ways of Working
Supporters, candidates and independent Councilors supported by Portishead Independents share five core values that underpin a commitment to a particular way of working:
Independence: We will each make up our own mind about every decision without reference to a shared dogma or ideology.
Integrity: Decisions will be made in an open and understandable manner. Information will be made available even when we make mistakes and everyone will have the opportunity to influence decisions.
Positivity: We will look for solutions, involving others in the discussions, not just describe problems.
Creativity: Use new, or borrowed, ideas from within the group and the wider community to refresh what we do and how we do it.
Respect: Understand that everyone has an equal voice and is worth listening to. Accept that you win sometimes, you lose sometimes. It’s usually nothing personal and there really is no point in taking defeats to heart

These are our Ways of Working
Listen attentively – one person speaking at any time
Be open minded and prepared to change your mind
Question evidence, information, assumptions
Be honest and transparent – give reasons for decision
Be inclusive and respectful of differences – avoid being personal
Be constructive, solution focused and forward thinking
Be creative and use others’ skills/ideas to do stuff differently and better
Ensure that the Council acts as a bridge and facilitator for our community

Paul Gardner

“I felt very lucky to live in such a brilliant dynamic community but unfortunate to be lumbered with a Council that gives £45,000 of Portishead’s own infrastructure levy money back to Weston as it apparently did not know what to do with it. The previous council spent many £100,000’s not fixing Cabstand, and almost gave away the Golf Course for landfill, only being prevented by a four-year long resident campaign.
I run a business employing 25 people and work with all types of people and organisations daily to create practical cost-effective solutions that make a positive difference to them and their customers. Now that I have been elected, you will find me doing the same thing, working with you as individuals on your ideas and issues and doing practical things like making sure pot-holes and pavements are fixed, working out how to bring more local jobs and opportunities and how to creatively fund and build amenities.
I stood as a Portishead Independent, firstly because I have been inspired by the achievements of Independent Councils in places like Frome and Buckfastleigh and across the UK, and secondly because I have a view that local councillors should just work for local people and not far away political masters and agendas. I am honoured to have been elected and to have the opportunity to work for all of you” .

Caritas Charles

“I am honoured to have been elected alongside Paul to run for the two District Council seats of Portishead East. As a Community Engagement Manager with 15 years of experience in similar roles, I will use my skills to help our community tackle the problems we face and develop a positive future with you. We as a town are facing serious issues such as traffic congestion, overdevelopment and a growing lack of resources that make our already hard daily lives even more frustrating. Tackling these issues will be a priority.
As an Independent Councillor answerable only to you and not to party-political bosses I will tap into the great wealth of talent in our community so that together we can create a powerful voice for Portishead“ .

Caroline Goddard

I feel very fortunate to have lived in Portishead all my life (nearly 40 years). Even working all around the world, I still feel humbled every time I come home. My love of Portishead is deep rooted with my father having previously been a manager at Portishead Power Station. He actively encouraged me to get involved with my local community, which I have done since a young age and continue to do so. Whether this could include a member of Portishead Kilkenny Majorettes, Carnival Queen 1997, Committee member of Portishead Flower Show or a local business owner, I am now super excited to have joined Portishead Independents.
I stood for the Town and District Councils because I wanted to bring a new dynamic to Portishead and help local people to have their voices heard. Now that I have been elected as an independent Councillor, I am only answerable to you and not to any party-political bosses.
I recently took over Vine Cottage Livery Stables business, based in Norton’s Wood Lane and also run a successful HR Company. As Chief People Officer I am a member of the Executive Team, Glide UK, (previously Cable Com) based in Clevedon.
Now that I have been elected you will see me putting local people at the heart of everything I do, the same philosophy I have in my personal life and business. I believe attitude is everything in life and business and I believe we can change Portishead Town Council for the better.

Tanya Slatter

I have lived in Portishead with my husband for nearly 16 years and have lived in the West Ward since 2005. He is from South Wales and I am from Taunton, so Portishead was the perfect location for us to move to and still be close to our families – we visited lots of places in the area but fell in love with Portishead immediately. Both of our children were born here, and both currently attend Gordano School.
My career background is in insurance, in varied roles such as fraud investigation and people and project management, but I have worked with families and children for the past 13 years, currently within a school, and I have a real passion for ensuring that the voices of our children and young people are heard.
I was heavily involved in the campaign for a new school to be opened in Portishead six years ago, attending meetings with North Somerset Council and speaking at public meetings about this. I was also a Governor at High Down Junior School when my children went there.
I regularly attended meetings of the previous Portishead Town Council, speaking about issues important to the town, such as developer proposals, Portishead’s lack of infrastructure, where our money is being spent, and the ongoing saga of a skate park. I have also attended public demonstrations against many of the plans for Portishead. From attending these meetings, and the campaigns I have been involved in, I have gained a real insight into how our previous Council worked and I firmly believe that party politics has no place at local level.
I feel very fortunate to have been elected. I will continue to make these issues a priority and will campaign and vote against anything I, or the residents I represent, feel is detrimental to the town. I will continue to work for the improvements I feel are needed. Unlike our previous Councillors, I will be working directly for the people that voted for me and will make decisions based on their needs and concerns, not on those of a political party.
I am a regular user of social media and as a Councillor will use this to ensure that residents can contact me in a number of ways – via dedicated Facebook and Twitter pages, for example, as well as the more traditional email.

Nicola Holland

My name is Nicola Holland and I stood as a candidate for Portishead Independents. I am very honoured to have been elected to both the Town and District Councils.
I arrived in Portishead a year and a half ago, after 18 years in Bristol, with the idea that I would be living in a small town where the people had some sort of say and influence in how their lives were run. And then I found out that hoped-for democracy was a dream and the harsh reality was the councils, Town and District, ignored the wishes and the ideas of the community, behaving as if they owned all before them.
I have experience in several fields including many years in healthcare, several in the licensed trade running a pub and the last eleven years as a teacher of English. The arrival of my first child has meant that most of my teaching has been in supply work, often working on a one-to-one basis with children who are unable to access mainstream education. This has given me an understanding of many different walks of life and the experience of managing and working within a team.
Based on this knowledge, I do not want to make false promises to people. The only promise I will make is that you voted for me and I will listen to you and will do my utmost to make things work better.
I am not afraid to say no, especially if what one individual wants does not tally with what the majority of the residents of Portishead want. I will say no to more housing without first ensuring the correct amount of infrastructure to support this; no to building on greenbelt or on floodplain; and no to building housing at the expense of employment land.
Equally, I say yes to working with the community on community plans, to accepting offers of help from the experienced and knowledgeable. I say yes to ways of working that include rather than exclude, that offer hope rather than dismiss it, and yes to green, open spaces where our children can play and wildlife can flourish.
Together, that dream that I had when I moved here could come true. Individually, we are a voice in the wind, ready to act but easily blown aside. Together, however, united and strong, we can move as a force like the wind and blow away the naysayers and negative influences that have preventing our town moving forward positively. The people made a choice and voted to take back control of our destiny.

Ben Aldridge

Hi, I am Ben and I was tired.
I was tired of our elected Councillors not listening to the people that they represent.
I was tired of them not investing in a town that I love and I am tired of their empty promises.
I was also tired because I have just become a father for the first time!
That changes everything.
I wanted to represent a town which is safe for all of our children to grow up in. A town where there are open spaces to play, properly maintained and not neglected. I wanted them to have good educational opportunities and, when the time comes, a choice of affordable housing. I want the town’s infrastructure to support residents, so it is safe to be a pedestrian, a cyclist or a motorist.
Today we have much of this, but I was worried that without change we risked losing it. I chose to stand for Town Councillor so that we don’t lose these things.
It is my belief that the best people to secure the future of Portishead for generations to come are the residents who live here now. I believe that every one of those residents who wanted a voice, deserved to be heard. I ran for council and you elected me. I am grateful to represent the East Ward and as a Councilor I firmly believe we have a responsibility to listen and act.
Hi, I am Ben and I feel energized!
Ben Aldridge, 41 and longtime resident of Castle Donnington, Derby has lived in Portishead for five years. He is a Professional Services Supervisor and Consultant, working with companies to implement and manage health and safety systems, perform fire and water risk assessments and carry out access audits. He can often be seen around the town, helping with the Portishead Christmas lights, volunteering at the Soap Box races and getting involved with securing the town a skate park.

Tim Snaden

Hi, I’m Tim Snaden. I was born in Portishead (4th generation) and have lived here most of my life. I’m not a politician but I just felt so frustrated and let down by our previous council:
1. Seeing money raised here being sent to W-s-M to improve their town whilst Portishead (High St, Precinct and Lake grounds especially) are neglected and ignored
2. Excessive building but a lack of affordable housing whilst green spaces are being swept away
3. The behaviour of our previous Councillors who were often rude and refused to listen to the people who voted them in, their lack of transparency and contradictions which have, by their own admission, made the current council a laughing stock!
Now that I have been elected I will:-
4. Support the whole community in an inclusive way by being approachable, listening to people’s questions and ideas and be able to act on them in a positive way
5. Encourage people to use and enjoy our valuable outdoor spaces for better mental and physical health, by getting involved in community events and improving our outdoor areas for all ages
6. Have a community led plan for the future of Portishead to improve health care, schooling and transport as well as other community initiatives
On a personal note, I live and work locally and have worked in the motor trade for most of my life with a brief career change of 6 years as a community carer looking after elderly and disabled people.
I enjoy motorbikes, cars, cycling, travelling around the UK in our campervan and walking our two dogs in our beautiful local countryside.
I look forward to meeting you.

Janet Davey

Hello, I am Janet Davey
I joined the Portishead Independents team as, having been involved in local issues for the past five years, I believe that party politics has no place in local affairs.
Although I have no children myself, I have worked with young people for the past 45 years. Now that I have been elected, I will be an advocate for this amazing and important group of residents. They are our future, and I believe their needs have been neglected for many years, as there are very few resources available locally, particularly for those between the ages of 12 and 20.
This is why I campaigned strongly for a skate and wheels park, and to maintain access for people of all ages to continue to be able use our land known as the Golf Course and saving it from being turned into a landfill site.
This latter campaign has taken four years of effort by residents with little support from our councils. It resulted in the official protection of two footpaths.
I fully support leisure facilities for all residents in Portishead and will always fight for everyone to retain access to the green open spaces in our town, as they are essential to the health and well-being of all of us.
I am a person who is tenacious in following through Freedom of Information requests, and believe that local governance should be open and transparent, and decisions must be made based on the facts.
I am currently very concerned about the large sums of what is known as Section 106 money, (money that developers have to pay to the Council to help build the community infrastructure needed to support development), in the region of £3 million, that are available and should have been invested in Portishead infrastructure and community projects. Some of these funds are in danger of being lost back to the developer, as they have not been invested in time.
Now that I have been elected, I will look to learn more about these monies and redress the situation.
I am often out and about canvassing and supporting our plans so hope to bump into you soon.

Bob Bull

I have lived in Portishead with my family since 1970 and have seen the extraordinary growth it has enjoyed. There are many positives about the town. Since retiring from a career in Engineering and Computing I have taught computing in the old “Cold” and “Hot” Library and now in the new facility, a clear example of a positive improvement!
Some of you may also know me from my work in local west ward campaigns such as to improve road safety around High Down School.
However, there is much more work to deal with many issues currently facing our town. Now that I have been elected, I will push hard for more community service improvements along with better transport. I also want an improved police presence to restore Portishead’s reputation as the best place to live in North Somerset.

Bob Cartwright

I grew up in Newhaven, another coastal town and have been lucky to live in Portishead for the last 8 years. I have worked in retail for 25 years and am a keen amateur photographer and kite-boarder.
I really love Portishead with its great community spirit and traditions, combined with being a modern town.
I stood for council to try to get rid of the council red tape and stuffiness and give everyone a voice. Ordinary local people are best placed to solve all the issues we have in town like the traffic, parking, and lake ground maintenance.
At the moment, I have a particular interest in helping to deal with the crime in Portishead and preventing further crimes - you may have seen me on the local news recently. I am hoping HTV will be doing a follow up soon so watch this space! .

Paddy Sterndale

I have lived in Portishead since February 1972 and am a retired Aerospace Engineer. I am involved in a number of local activities including helping to organise the Dig for Victory Show for the past seven years. I am also a member of the Gordano Society as well as the Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Railway Group. I enjoy gardening and have showed my garden as part of the Portishead Open Gardens event. Further afield, until recently I produced the quarterly Newsletter for the Bristol Jazz Society and am also a member of the Bristol Industrial Archaeological Society.
At national level, I am a life-long Conservative voter. However, I see no place for Party Politics at local level. It just seems to get in the way of sensible decision making to the detriment of local people, their needs and their everyday lives.
I stood for election as I have become increasingly concerned with the ad hoc over-development of Portishead. Current development seems to be piecemeal with no overall plan to provide the infrastructure needed to support the increased population, with resulting difficulty in getting GP appointments, traffic congestion, lack of parking, lack of amenities and so on. I would like to ensure that Portishead has a cohesive plan for the future that has been put together with proper consultation and wide community engagement and to support projects that the community wants and deserves.

Polly Shepperdson

Polly is keen to make local council processes and decision making accessible to residents. She is also committed to ensuring that relevant experts are included in discussions on topics that the council is involved with or invited to comment on. Her particular interests include environment, transport and health. .