Harrogate local council election 2021: who are the candidates standing in my area?
The polls are opening once again as the local council elections 2021 take place this week.
On May 6, voters will choose a new police, fire and crime commissioner for North Yorkshire as well as a new county councillor for the Bilton and Nidd Gorge division of Harrogate.
When are the local council elections and who can take part?
The elections will take place on Thursday, May 6. All voters must be registered at an address in the area where they want to vote, be a British citizen, an Irish or EU citizen or an eligible Commonwealth citizen and not legally excluded from voting.
There are three ways to vote including in person at a polling station, by postal vote and by nominating someone to vote for you (a proxy vote) - however the date to register for both a proxy or postal vote has now passed.
In light of the pandemic, new rules will be in place and people voting in person will be required to bring their own pen or pencil, wear a face covering, clean their hands when entering and leaving, and keep a safe distance from others.
Voters should not attend the polling station if they have symptoms of Covid-19, or if they have been asked to self-isolate.
Anyone who develops symptoms, or is asked to self-isolate shortly before polling day, has up to 5pm on polling day to apply for an emergency proxy vote.
Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm and anyone who has opted to vote by post must return their postal ballot pack by 10pm. This can be handed in at any polling station if you don’t have time to return it by post.
Anyone who is registered on the electoral roll should have received a polling card with information and the details of their nearest polling station.
Who are the candidates in my area?
There are four candidates in the running to become the new North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.
These include Philip Allott (Conservative), Alison Hume (Labour), James Barker (Liberal Democrat) and Keith Tordoff (Independent).
Those standing in the Bilton and Nidd Gorge by-election include Matt Scott (Conservative), Andrew Kempston-Parkes (Liberal Democrat), Arnold Warneken (Green Party), Tyler Reeton (Labour), John Hall (Yorkshire Party) and Harvey Alexander (Independent).
What are their main policies?
All of the candidates' policies and manifestos can be found on their websites or social media pages but here is a brief summary of some their main campaign messages.
North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner candidates:
Philip Allott - Conservative: “I have a six-point pledge encompassing violence against women and young girls to dog thefts. In terms of ranking it has to be County Lines drug dealers because of the danger this poses to everyone in North Yorkshire. “These dealers create a spider’s web, ensnaring vulnerable young people into storing drugs and transporting them around the county. I am determined to smash County Lines. If elected I will be supporting North Yorkshire Police and the Yorkshire & Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit to help do that.”
Alison Hulme - Labour: “Violence against women and girls is the issue for our times and the one I am passionate about changing.Many women have lost faith in the police to secure justice. The vast majority of survivors of sexual violence and assault never report to police, and it’s not hard to understand why. The charge rate for domestic abuse-related crime in North Yorkshire in 2019-20 was just four per cent, compared to nine per cent in England and Wales as a whole. This must improve and as PFCC I will hold the police to account and build back trust.”
Keith Tordoff - Independent: “A Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has many issues to address. I would look to champion that the commissioner is elected to act as the bridge between them, the Police and Fire services. The commissioner must champion that by working together - it will help make North Yorkshire a safer place to live, work or visit.
“I served in the Leeds City and West Yorkshire Police forces for more than 20 years, being promoted and leaving with an exemplary service record.
“On joining the Police, I was told that police officers should be non- political, enabling them to represent all in society.
“I strongly believe an Independent Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner will be more widely accepted by the community to represent them equitably rather than someone from a political party. There is almost inevitable room for political interference when a member of a political party is elected to be a Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.”
James Barker - Lib Dem: “I could mention that the Lib Dems were opposed to the Government’s move to stifle people’s freedom to protest in its Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, though it did contain some proposals worthy of support, such as maximum sentences for low-level assaults against emergency service workers.
“But it’s a matter of what can actually be achieved with the resources available.
“There are a number of issues I’d dearly wish to resolve from investing in frontline services to providing additional support to countering rural crime.
“But one issue stands out, for me at least, that is the non emergency 101 number, which was recently highlighted by an assault on a woman whose reporting of the incident was dealt with less than satisfactorily.
“The issues need to be realistic and follow the SMART acronym (Specific, Measurable, Realistic, Timely). To that end I need to work collaboratively with stakeholders.
“The issues I wish to champion may differ from that of the Chief Constable.”
Bilton and Nidd Gorge ward by-election candidates:
Andrew Kempston Parkes - Lib Dem: “There is a real need for change. We have Conservatives at every level of local government affecting Bilton.
I feel there is incompetence and arrogance, and the Conservatives are not helping our town.
"When I next step into a council chamber I would love to hear more Lib Dem voices, more Green voices and more Labour voices. It’s only through hearing opposing views and listening to arguments that we can find the best way forward.
"I had an amazing four years as a borough councillor. I know I stood up and spoke for the residents in my ward. I would be honoured if the people of Bilton and Nidd Gorge would trust me to be their county councillor. They have my word that I will work tirelessly for them. I want to continue the great work that Geoff did in being a voice for local people, the homeless and those seeking affordable houses. I also want to support our great educational establishments, protect our green spaces and stop overdevelopment. I would ask anyone who sees themselves as centre or left-centre on the political spectrum to vote for me. A vote for Labour or the Green Party will just let the Conservatives win.”
Matt Scott - Conservatives: “I have lived in Bilton my entire life which means I use the same roads, shops and council services as local residents - and I’m immensely proud to already represent the community I have grown up in.
"As a Harrogate borough councillor since 2018, I have been handing out newsletters into the Bilton division which sets out our record of action locally. In addition to the Bilton and Nidd Gorge seat, there is the current Conservative county councillor Paul Haslam who is a sort of next door neighbour to me. We have a great working relationship and I would want that to continue if I was elected.
"As I’m the only candidate who lives in the division, I have experienced the problems of gasworks on Skipton Road. I am pleased to say these have now gone but clearly there is room for improvement.
"I will still be serving as a Harrogate borough councillor if I’m elected next month and will continue my current top priority of tackling litter. I’m hoping as restrictions ease further, I can organise more outdoor gatherings for litter picking and street cleansing.
"I also know anti-social behaviour has been an issue of late and in my capacity as borough councillor I have worked with safer communities teams on this. I will allow residents to judge my record on its own merits.”
Tyler Reeton - Labour: "I’m really proud to stand as the Labour candidate for the community which has given me so much. I now want to give something back.
"And the sole reason for me standing is for the benefit of others - I’m not doing it for myself. While I’m young at 19-years-old, that doesn’t make me any less passionate than the ordinary person. I will be a fresh face and the only candidate who will be truly accountable to residents. I also won’t shy away from any harsh questions.
"Anti-social behaviour is a problem which is spiralling out of control because not enough has been done. It’s a difficult situation to tackle but I believe in the message that if we all work together, we can get the job done.
"My local recovery plan will focus on rebuilding the community after Covid and using my county councillor grants, I will bring back a yearly community event like the Bilton Gala which has been fundamental for so many years.
"I have spoken with many residents during my election campaign and one man who has lived in Bilton for 47 years told me I was the first candidate to knock at his door. This is quite shocking. We need a councillor who is accountable and can crack on with the job. If you pledge a vote for me, you will be voting for real change.”
Arnold Warneken - Green Party: "A vote for me is a vote for your community. My voice is booming, strong and fair.
"People need to have a councillor who is going to argue their corner intelligently with energy and passion.
"And I’m not a person who will take no for an answer. If Bilton needs answers, I will be there until we get one.
"While political parties are bickering over who is right and wrong, communities are suffering. If you stick a rock through me you will see green running through but a vote for me is a vote for yourself.
"We have a duty as residents to make sure Bilton is not just a better place to live, but also that lives are full.
"Young people are now growing up in a completely different world. We need to speak with them to understand how we can provide a better way forward for them.
"Although some of the other candidates may be full of energy and understanding of social media, you can’t put an old head on young shoulders.
"And whether I’m elected or not, I will still stay connected with the community.
"Some of these candidates suddenly appear and then disappear when elections are held. That’s not me. I have always been around and will continue to be around.”
John Hall - Yorkshire Party: “Fairer funding for Yorkshire is our main message.
"School pupils who live in the London borough of Tower Hamlet receive around £6,965 of Government funding per head, while those in Yorkshire get £4,613. This is not fair and something I want to tackle.
"The Yorkshire Party is also really keen on its message to bring devolution to the north. We want a proper Yorkshire devolution package to keep as much localism as possible.
"And where Yorkshire Party candidates have been elected in the past, they have always been a success. We are pushing a new message but we know we can make a difference.
"In Bilton, I would get a good working relationship with police right from the word go.
"Affordable housing is another issue I want to get involved in and I would insist that any new homes to be built must fit almost seamlessly into the area.
"It’s going to take time for me to truly understand all of the issues and concerns in Bilton but I would be a new broom who could start afresh and not be tied to any existing problems or difficult relationships, as I know there is some hostility currently.”
Harvey Alexander - Independent: “If I could afford to stand in the police and crime commissioner elections then I would and the reason for that is I’m incensed with the lack of speed camera warning signs in North Yorkshire.
"Every other local authority in the Yorkshire area puts up signs but in North Yorkshire there are none.
"The point of these signs is to slow traffic, not catch people speeding. Some areas have signs up 24/7 even when there are no cameras there and they do their job to make the roads safer.
"If you vote for me I will do everything I can to bring more speed camera signs to the area and also address concerns about unemployment in the region.
"There is an awful lot of housebuilding going on but there is no industry being brought in to give jobs to local people.
"There is also a hell of a lot of commuters who travel outside Harrogate and this is a problem which is only going to get worse. What I find so annoying is all these big companies taking their business down south.
"We need to be doing a lot more to encourage big businesses to come here in Harrogate, especially these companies in high-tech industries.”
Where do I vote?
A number of polling stations across the Harrogate district have temporarily and permanently moved locations following a review which found some did not have warm running water for hand-washing, were too small for social distancing or were unavailable to be booked.
The following polling stations have moved temporarily:
· All Saints Church School has moved to Sicklinghall Village Hall
· Baldersby Mission Room has moved to Rainton Village Hall
· Lofthouse Memorial Hall has moved to Middlesmoor Village Hall
· St Mary’s Church at Dunsforth has moved to Boroughbridge Methodist Church
· St Michael’s all Angels Church at Wilsill has moved to Broadbelt Hall, Glasshouses
· The Inn at South Stainley has moved to Markington Village Hall
· The Kitchen, Asenby Hall has moved to Rainton Village Hall
· Woodside, Carters Lane has moved to Askwith Village Hall
· Nun Monkton Primary School has moved to Kirk Hammerton Village Hall
· St George’s Social Club has moved to Marks Church Hall
The following three polling stations have also permanently moved;
· North Rigton Primary School has moved to St John’s Church, North Rigton
· The Hydro has moved to Jennyfield Evangelical Church, Grantley Drive
· Citizen’s Advice Bureau has moved to The Wesley Centre, Oxford Street
For more information go to: www.harrogate.gov.uk/voting-elections/police-fire-crime-commissioner-election