It was disheartening to read in your paper last week one of my political opponents talking down Bordon.

In Bordon, I encounter remarkable individuals who are dedicated to promoting and enhancing our community. People like Jodie from the Y Plus youth group or Pete from Mercers Gym are committed to supporting young people.

I speak to Rachel from Whitehill & Bordon Living Streets, who tirelessly works to promote eco-friendly travel, and entrepreneurs like Dayne who are launching exciting new ventures, fostering employment, and prosperity in the town.

I support Sian from the Community Trust and other Bordon-based charities like the Tantum Trust and Home Start Hampshire, who strive daily to improve people's lives.

I also take pride in visiting the superb new leisure centre and the exceptional Oakmoor School, built by Conservative-led councils.

These individuals and initiatives exemplify the thriving and promising nature of our town. That's why I'm thrilled that our campaign for a new Youth Hub has been successful and, alongside a new nursery and Sainsbury’s, is hopefully opening next year.

I am also keenly aware of the tireless efforts of local councillors at town, district, and county levels to enhance and rejuvenate the area. Like me, they have welcomed the announcement about Sainsbury's, and it's a disservice to their efforts to hear cynicism from political opponents regarding these plans.

This is not to ignore the challenges facing Whitehill and Bordon, as every area in the new constituency has its own set of hurdles. These concerns were justifiably voiced at the recent meeting with the Regeneration Company, which unfortunately has not always been forthcoming or consultative in its approach.

The setbacks caused by Covid-19, escalating building material costs, and energy price rises due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine have significantly impeded progress in the town.

However, delays in crucial facilities such as the health hub, leisure amenities, care home, and primary school are gradually being overcome, with a clear roadmap for the future – though residents need a proper say in the future vision for these facilities.

Addressing public transport remains a priority, and I am actively engaged in ongoing discussions with Hampshire County Council regarding improved bus services and a new rail-link service to Liphook – stay tuned for updates!

Approaching a general election, what Whitehill and Bordon cannot afford is empty promises. Take, for instance, the Future Skills Centre, sadly closing due to dwindling student numbers post-pandemic.

While external factors have played a role in this decision, a lack of commercial viability also contributed.

It's either naïve, foolish, or cynically disingenuous to suggest that it’s all the fault of the government, or that a few meetings can reverse commercial decisions or conjure up solutions out of thin air.

In contrast, my support for local residents is evident in initiatives like the petition to prevent the closure of the Bordon recycling centre, which has garnered nearly 1,000 signatures and been acknowledged by the Leader of Hampshire County Council as a significant consideration in their forthcoming decision.

What Whitehill and Bordon truly needs is an MP who recognises the need for a new vision for the town, by engaging in thorough consultations with residents to understand their desires and requirements, creating a thriving environment for both old and new residents alike.

One who can hold stakeholders to account so that there's no room for buck-passing, and someone who understands we must prioritise the development of road and transport infrastructure to support growth, ensuring that these essential elements are in place before houses are built, not after.

If elected, I pledge not to support any further residential construction until the surrounding infrastructure is in place. That is the commitment I make to you, and if given the opportunity, it's a promise I intend to keep.

Greg Stafford

Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Farnham and Bordon