The Conservative candidate for Chippenham has said he knows the area in which he is standing “like the back of his hand.”

Born and raised in Chippenham, Nic Puntis described experiencing a “very working-class upbringing”, before starting out as a surveyor in a local estate agent’s, “rising through the ranks” and setting up his own property development business.

During the pandemic, he decided to retire and focus on his charity, GIST Cancer UK, whilst representing Cepen Park and Derriads at Wiltshire Council.

Mr Puntis says it was the current Chippenham MP, Michelle Donelan, and her husband who first told him he would make a good MP.

He noted: “A local MP should absolutely have lived and breathed the constituency within which they are representing.”

He said: “I want to represent the community within which I’ve lived my whole life.

“I feel close to people. I’m accountable.”

He added: “Everybody knows where they can find me.”

Mr Puntis reported that residents regularly contact him with concerns, such as the cost-of-living crisis, empty shops on high streets, and a lack of infrastructure for new developments.

He said: “If you’re bringing a new community to an area, you have to provide doctors’ appointments for them and dentists’ appointments for them.

“You have to provide shops and cycle links into the main town.”

He added: “In the wider context, you need employment in that area, so those people can stay here for their work as well.”

He listed planning management, health, supporting local businesses, and the environment as his current priorities.

He said: “We have an electric car in our household.

“My house is fossil-free, I have an air-source heat pump in my house, so we just have electricity.

“I’ve had meetings with Wessex Water and Thames Water, both through my role as Portfolio Holder for Flooding, talking about storm overflows and the fact that they are still allowing, albeit watered-down, sewage, into our river systems.”

Mr Puntis described the role of an MP as “representing everybody” but also being realistic.

He said: “I’m not promising a railway station in Wootton Bassett or Corsham, what I am promising is that I will work hard to press all the buttons and speak to all the right people to try and make it happen.”

Regarding Ms Donelan, he concluded: “A lot of what she does isn’t broadcast, so people don’t realise how hard she actually works.

“I think I would just pick up the baton from where she left off and improve on it.

“My in-depth local knowledge will help me understand issues quicker and in more detail, and be able to react quicker to them.”