Election countdown: Green Party candidate claims Bilton at risk of being 'dismantled' by current councillors
The Green Party candidate contesting in this week's Bilton and Nidd Gorge by-election has claimed the community is at risk of being "dismantled" by current councillors.
Arnold Warneken is one of six candidates competing to become the division's new county councillor with voters set to go to the polls on Thursday.
He has put anti-social behaviour, littering, traffic pollution and loss of green space as his top priorities and has promised to "retain the uniqueness of the Bilton community" if elected.
He said: "With the backing of the Green Party, I would work to solve these issues, push to retain the uniqueness of the Bilton community, and build on the fantastic resources they already have here, which are under-rated, under-stated and under-funded.
"Local councils must have our climate in mind as we build the economy back after Covid.
"More Green councillors mean a substantial commitment to the climate action we all know is urgently needed in all our council chambers. Future generations depend on the steps we take now, protecting green spaces, reducing CO2 pollution from cars, making our roads safer and providing resources for them."
Mr Warneken became the first ever Green councillor in the north of England when he was elected to Harrogate Borough Council in 1991.
He has lived in the district for 65 years working as a farmer and currently sits on a number of committees and environmental groups including Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition.
He added: "As chair of the area planning, town twinning and environmental health committees, my experience will be invaluable moving forward as the region changes under the re-organisation of the authority in the coming years.
"I will use my experience working with and for the community, if I'm elected; I've been the district council representative on the Selby Police Liaison committee and a director of Harrogate Theatre and established and chaired Harrogate Environmental Forum.
"Now is the time to help local people have a say in local matters they deserve. I want to amplify their voices for the good of the community, to ensure that services they rely on and the future of the community is not at risk."
The by-election is being held following the death of Liberal Democrat councillor Geoff Webber in March.
The other candidates include Matt Scott (Conservative), Andrew Kempston-Parkes (Liberal Democrat), Tyler Reeton (Labour), John Hall (Yorkshire Party) and Harvey Alexander (Independent).
Voting will take place on 6 May - the same day that voters will choose a new North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner with the winners set to be announced the following day.
Voters will be required to bring their own pen or pencil to polling stations, wear a face covering, wash their hands when entering and leaving, and keep a safe distance from others.
People should not attend the polling station if they have symptoms of Covid-19 or if they have been asked to self-isolate. Anyone who cannot because of these reasons has up to 5pm on polling day to apply for an emergency proxy vote.
For more information go to www.harrogate.gov.uk/voting-elections
Meanwhile, there are no full elections being held for all seats on Harrogate Borough Council or North Yorkshire County Council.
This article is part of a series of profile pieces about the by-election candidates. Each profile will be published online in the run-up to polling day.
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter