Tomorrow the people of Kirklees will go to the polls for the 2022 local elections.
A third of all 69 seats are up for election with one seat in all of the borough’s wards going to the polls. The council is currently in no overall control with Labour (33 seats), Conservative (19 seats), Liberal Democrat (nine seats), Green (three seats), Holme Valley Independents (three seats) and other Independents (two seats).
Of the seats up for election this year, Labour hold 11, Conservative six, Lib Dem four, Holme Valley Independents one and Green one. There are 100 candidates standing.
Voting will begin at 7am on 5 May and will end at 10pm. Counting will begin at 1pm on 6 May with a full declaration expected by 6.30pm.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked the main parties – Conservative, Green, Holme Valley Independents, Labour and the Liberal Democrats – to provide “minifestos” for what they would do if they find themselves in administration after May 5.
The Lib Dems are defending four wards with Lindley and Golcar seen as “battleground” areas where the Conservatives and Labour are seeking wins.
Group leader John Lawson is also defending his Cleckheaton seat, where a major issue has been the controversial proposal for an Amazon fulfilment centre at Scholes close to the M62.
The group is also focusing on:
- Solar energy generation and storage for the council’s own housing stock, reducing costs to residents and reducing climate impact.
- Road and pavement improvement including ensuring adequate reinstatement where service companies have dug up the surfaces.
Improving the range and waiting times for children’s mental health and well-being services, which have seen soaring demand over the last couple of years and “must be tackled”.
- Expanding air quality monitoring to identify sites such as schools that may be susceptible to deteriorating pollution levels.
- Introducing an element of free bulky waste collection for all residents to reduce fly-tipping.
Here is the Lib Dems’ “minifesto” courtesy of group leader John Lawson and deputy Andrew Marchington.
“We believe that Kirklees has stagnated during Labour’s administration and that many opportunities have been missed to make Kirklees a greener, cleaner and safer place to live. We believe that these improvements should be available to everybody and in a way that makes sense to them.
“Residents’ concerns about over-development in their communities, stemming from Labour’s Local Plan, are legitimate. Following a motion from us earlier this year calling for a review of the Local Plan, it is a priority to test the plan against today’s requirements.
“We continue to call for a review of the Huddersfield Blueprint. It is the biggest single investment in Kirklees at over £200m, it was conceived before lockdown and the situation in all town centres, not just Huddersfield, has changed.
“We are determined that the council does as much as it can to help those most exposed to the Conservatives’ cost-of-living crisis.
“Energy and food security for our residents must be a priority. We must strengthen the way we work with the Third Sector and the way we challenge the government as a council to protect the most vulnerable.
“The way that the council makes decisions that affect all our lives needs to change. Currently, a handful of Labour councillors have complete sway. We continue to press for a new system that gives everyone a voice, restoring public trust in the process.
“We believe that simply widening roads across the borough will not improve our air quality, shorten journey times, or tempt people out of their cars. The spend it or we’ll lose it mentality must be challenged, both at West Yorkshire and national level.
“Spending millions on cycle lanes that few will use, just to tick a box, when it feels unsafe to cycle on ordinary roads because of the potholes does not make sense.
“Improvements in active travel, public transport and electric alternatives are important but there needs to be a coherent and integrated plan that meets everyone’s needs.”