Kirklees goes to the polls next Thursday, 5 May, with 100 candidates on the ballot sheets in 23 wards across the borough.
Kirklees Council is currently in no overall control, and the Labour group is under pressure with opposition parties targeting a handful of key wards. One of them is Denby Dale, where the Conservatives triumphed last year by defeating veteran councillor and Cabinet member Graham Turner.
This year the Tories are looking to win against Will Simpson, another Cabinet member and seen as a rising star within the Labour group.
In Crosland Moor and Netherton, a Labour stronghold, the ward bids farewell to Erin Hill, who has stood down. The candidate replacing her is Jo Lawson. But arguably the most interesting name to emerge is the independent Steve Bradbury, who has locked horns with Kirklees Council many times in the past.
He is currently banned from municipal buildings in the district. However that does not prevent him attending the election count at Cathedral House in Huddersfield on May 6.
A Kirklees Council spokesperson said: “All election candidates have equal access to the information they might need to be able to run a successful election campaign. All candidates can attend electoral events such as the postal vote opening sessions, the verification and count event or visit the Returning Officers office address to receive access to specific election.”
The Local Democracy Reporting Service invited candidates to outline their pledges and aspirations should they be successful.
CROSLAND MOOR AND NETHERTON
Isaac Barnett (Conservative)
I understand the local issues and challenges, and I am determined to champion the issues that matter and get things done for local residents. I am passionate about environmental and youth projects and aim to support funding for community groups. I also pledge to hold regular support surgeries for residents.
Suzanna Barraclough (Lib Dems)
Residents have expressed concerns about building on greenfield sites in our area. New development should come with improved infrastructure. We should also be investing in our communities, so that everyone can be fully involved with what happens where they live.
Steve Bradbury (Independent)
I’ve lived for the past 40 years within the ward. This gives me first-hand knowledge of local people’s requirements. I’m concerned at the waste of our money by the incompetent and often overpaid senior officers who provide services. This is an issue that I would be working hard to address should I be elected.
Chris Green (Green)
We need a Huddersfield Town Centre Regeneration Board with representatives from business, the community, Huddersfield Civic Society and cross-party councillors. The Labour Cabinet damaged the reputation of the town when it backtracked over siting the National Rugby League Museum in the George Hotel. We have to avoid this sort of damage to our town’s reputation.
Jo Lawson (Labour)
Should I be elected I will be a visible councillor, holding weekly street surgeries and updates through newsletters/social media. I will work to ensure that our ward is a clean, safe and peaceful area to live and work in, and to secure further investment for our ward and community groups.
Craig Armistead (Lib Dems)
I am deeply concerned that, between Labour’s Local Plan and Conservative national planning rules, Denby Dale will lose many of its green fields. Liberal Democrats called for a review of the plan earlier this year. I view that as a priority. While Labour and the Tories seem happy to blame each other the developers are making hay.
Vicky Rank (Conservative)
I’m local and would be a councillor who knows our area well and cares about our villages. I’d be another strong voice to stand up for our area and work with Tim Bamford and Michael Watson, councillors with a proven record of working for the ward and those living there.
Michael Shaw (Green)
Greens would stop the practice of councillors sending out mass unsolicited mailings to voters at council tax-payers’ expense using Kirklees budgets. Both the Conservatives and Labour did this in the Denby Dale ward. Given the timing it was clearly all about the election and politics on the rates.
Will Simpson (Labour)
I want to continue to work with residents to make Denby Dale the best place it can be, with more investment in roads, villages and green spaces. I want to improve our environment, tackle the climate emergency, and deliver a council that supports people through the Conservatives’ cost of living crisis.
Jonathan Tilt (Freedom Alliance)
My aspirations as a candidate reflect the aims of the larger pro-freedom movement: to protect and preserve personal freedom, civil liberties, and human rights. I believe in empowering people and local communities to pursue self-determination and success on their own terms, free from state overreach and government tyranny.
Kirklees Council is made up of Labour (33 seats), Conservatives (19 seats), Liberal Democrats (nine seats), Greens (three seats), Holme Valley North Independents (three seats) and other Independents (two seats).
Of the 23 seats up for election this year, Labour hold 11, Conservatives six, Lib Dems four, Holme Valley North Independents one and Greens one. The elections are being contested by ten parties, plus independents.