I am delighted to announce that I will be standing as the Conservative candidate for the Mayor of the West of England Combined Authority. As a business leader and charity campaigner who lives in the south of Bristol, I believe I have a positive and dynamic vision for our region. I will support South Gloucestershire, Bristol and Bath & North East Somerset through the Covid economic recovery, I will strengthen our regions green credentials, secure the delivery of a free port in Avonmouth and ensure that towns, villages and rural areas are supported by building more train stations with better services.
The Combined Authority has a vital role to play in the continued Covid recovery, supporting businesses jobs and skills, particularly in our urban areas and I am keen to see our region go forward stronger than ever. Across WECA and the whole region we are well known for our ‘green’ credentials. I will prioritise the region becoming a leading light in growing an ecologically sustainable and commercially viable economy. With the establishment of a Collaborative Growth forum, business can develop a collaborative approach to regional growth alongside other stakeholders.
Having grown up just over the WECA border in rural Gloucestershire, I also know the impact of under supported rural areas and will make it a priority to ensure that towns, villages and rural areas are supported with better transport links. I will expand MetroBus, train and park and ride services to deliver this. The drive towards decarbonisation and reduced need for personal private vehicles is also a policy I fully support and will help to achieve as Mayor of the West of England. Greater investment in our high streets is also needed, ensuring that they have the necessary infrastructure they need to recover and grow.
I want to thank Mayor Tim Bowles, who is standing down in May, for his dedicated work in establishing the authority from the ground up as well as strengthening our region. I will use the platform that he created to take the Authority to new heights, working closely with our neighbours and expanding the Authority to include North Somerset Council.
Having been selected as the Conservative candidate for Mayor of the West of England I will be stepping down as the Bristol Mayoral candidate. I look forward to working with my replacement and helping to elect more conservatives in our region.