Musician election candidate hoping to offer something new in Sandwell

A musician is hoping to become a breath of fresh air on the political scene in Sandwell, campaigning for a town he feels is undervalued.

SANDWELL COPYRIGHT EXPRESS&STAR TIM THURSFIELD 21/04/21.Richard Jeffcoat, 52, is standing as an independent councillor in Tipton Green ward, in Sandwell. He believes residents of Tipton are not represented well enough. Mr Jeffcoat has delivered 6,000 campaign leaflets to homes in ward, over 92 hours, causing the sole of his shoe to hang off!.
SANDWELL COPYRIGHT EXPRESS&STAR TIM THURSFIELD 21/04/21.Richard Jeffcoat, 52, is standing as an independent councillor in Tipton Green ward, in Sandwell. He believes residents of Tipton are not represented well enough. Mr Jeffcoat has delivered 6,000 campaign leaflets to homes in ward, over 92 hours, causing the sole of his shoe to hang off!.

Richard Jeffcoat, aged 52, has been campaigning hard to win votes in Tipton Green ward where he is standing as an independent candidate.

Mr Jeffcoat says he has visited more than 6,000 homes in the ward, causing the soles of his shoes to split, as he attempts to beat rival candidates Narinder Garcha of the Conservatives and Charn Padda of Labour.

Mr Jeffcoat was born in Edinburgh but later moved to Harborne, in Birmingham, before he bought a house in Tipton in 2017.

He says Tipton is a "great place" with a rich history, but feels it has been left "isolated" by council bosses favouring other towns in the borough.

Mr Jeffcoat – who is a pianist, organist and singer – said: "I am not a Tiptonian by birth. I actually moved here when I bought my house.

"I have been here for three-and-a-half years, and I love it. But I am also aware that is has challenges, obviously, replacing the amazing industry that was here.

"We do have unemployment and poverty, and ill health, but mostly important I think we have a disconnect.

"I think we don't really have the Government that we deserve, not in London or Oldbury [Sandwell Council].

"I am looking at whether we can devolve a lot of the decision making so that Tipton can look after itself. Tipton would be better represented, really."

Among his devolution ideas includes Tipton having a ceremonial mayor.

Mr Jeffcoat believes many residents are put off from voting due to "party politics". At the last election, there was only a 24 per cent voter turnout, he said.

Richard Jeffcoat

He said: "The problem is Labour is a one-party state in Sandwell. Three quarters of people are turned off politics.

"A lot of that is to do with party politics. I think party politics is getting in the way of decent government. People think it is about Boris or Corbyn, or whoever.

"But, at the end of the day, none of that really matters to whether the people in Tipton get their fair share.

"Sandwell is made up of 380,000 people, or something. There is a feeling some parts of it are more important to our political leaders, than others.

"It is easy for us in Tipton to feel we are hidden away, and isolated really.

"It is important we see councillors as being honest and accountable. I think sometimes we don't see that, in Sandwell.

"The last council leader, when she left, said she thought Sandwell was corrupt.

"We have got to turn the page on that, and we have to have councillors who are visible in the community.

"I want to offer council surgeries, and a promise that I will reply within 24 hours. If I was lucky enough to be elected, I would want to be a listening ear [to residents]."

The elections take place on May 6.

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News