A GROUP of independent candidates are hoping to take the spring election by storm... and have vowed to “change” Colchester Council from the inside.

The six-strong group will contest seats across the borough in the May 3 poll.

The group came together after the relative success of team member John Akker in the Essex County Council election last year, in which he garnered 1,058 votes - 20 per cent of the overall vote - while running against Tory veteran John Jowers.

Mr Akker is now taking aim at veteran Conservative Robert Davidson in the Mersea and Pyefleet ward.

The retired trades union leader and research fellow at Essex University first rose to prominence in his efforts to halt plans for 350 homes on Mersea Island.

He said: “We have come together from different perspectives but the thing we have in common is we all want to change the way Colchester is being run.

Gazette: john akker 1.

Back for more - John Akker stood in the Essex County Council elections last year 

“We are not afraid of standing up and saying what we believe.

“Something is going wrong in Colchester at the moment and we want to change that.”

Mr Akker will contest the election alongside Chris Hill, in Old Heath and the Hythe, Kirstine Lee, in St Anne’s and St John’s, Mike Clark, in Shrub End, Edmund Chinnery, in New Town and Christ Church and Chris Lee, in Greenstead.

Gazette: Kirstine Lee independent candidate

Independent - Kirstine Lee

Mr Akker added: “There is a lot of distrust over the local plan process and a lot of that is down to to people still waiting on the parts of the old one to be implemented. I know that is certainly the case in Mersea.

“And that issue goes right alongside Colchester’s roads, its hospital and the rail services.”

Mr Akker also attacked successive Colchester Council administrations for being “over-compliant” with Government in terms of housing for too long.”

Gazette: Public consoltation over plans for the ex Alderman Blaxill site in Colchester..Mike Clark looks over plans.

Campaigner - Mike Clark will stand in Shrub End 

The group will oppose the perceived “vast over-development of Colchester”, a lack of openness in local government and an “over-reliance” on New Homes Bonus income.

Mr Clark, who was defeated in the Shrub End by-election late last year, added: “I think the least people should expect of councillors is that they are in it for the right reasons.

“There are some great people on the council but there are some rotten apples as well.

Gazette: Chris Hill.

Hopeful - Chris Hill will stand in Old Heath and Hythe 

“There is a change coming and we want to push that change.”

The group has pledged to review the plans for two new towns to the east and west of Colchester, a cut in town centre parking charges, better communication with residents and an independent financial review of the council’s finances, separate to the annual auditors’ report.

In a statement, the group said: “Ours is a complete rejection of current party politics. The consensus operated among the political parties has produced policies that are detrimental to the interests of Colchester.

“Only an elected group of independents can deliver what is urgently needed to transform Colchester.

For more information on the group, go to www.colchesterindependents.co.uk