Harrogate Stray, Woodlands and Hookstone by-election: Why Conservative candidate John Ennis hopes his experience will count

Conservative candidate John Ennis is hoping his previous 12-year stint as a Harrogate councillor will stand him in good stead for the upcoming Stray, Woodlands and Hookstone by-election.
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Voters will go to the polls on April 11 following the resignation of Pat Marsh.

Mr Ennis believes his experience means he can better navigate the large Conservative-controlled North Yorkshire Council on behalf of his residents.

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He said being a councillor is not for the faint-hearted and requires someone who already understands the intricacies of local government in Northallerton.

John Ennis, Conservative candidate in the Stray, Woodlands and Hookstone by-electionJohn Ennis, Conservative candidate in the Stray, Woodlands and Hookstone by-election
John Ennis, Conservative candidate in the Stray, Woodlands and Hookstone by-election

He added: “There is a mystery about the new council with some people perceiving it as being a bit remote.”

Mr Ennis was born in Northern Ireland and had a career in the NHS where he worked in Leeds.

He’s the only candidate standing in the by-election who lives in the division, which he says gives him a better insight into the issues.

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Potholes are one of the area’s biggest problems and he said he has experience in battling for repairs.

He also said that residents in Hookstone are poorly served by the number 8 bus route and hopes to lobby the bus operator to make changes if he’s elected.

The Saints area has long faced traffic problems linked to local schools. Mr Ennis said he would be in favour of neighbourhood parking schemes to cut down on parking congestion.

He said: “There are issues in particular around St Aidan’s. Residents around there say it’s a very dangerous situation with people parking right up to the junctions.”

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Nationally at least, there is a sense that the winds of change are blowing, with some people wanting a fresh start and a change from the Tories.

The Conservatives will also face a challenge from Reform Party candidate John Swales, who is targeting disgruntled Tory voters.

However, Mr Ennis said he is “not trembling in my boots” about Reform and suggests the party could take votes from all parties.

Despite the Conservatives polling poorly nationally, Mr Ennis hopes it will be his experience as a councillor in the area and promises to tackle nuts and bolts local issues like potholes and parking that will count the most.

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He added: “The division has had a Lib Dem for the last two years so if people want a change, I am a change.”

The by-election will take place on Thursday, April 11. For more information, visit the council’s website – https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/your-council/elections-and-voting/elections

A full list of candidates is below:

Conservative – John Ennis.

Green – Gilly Charters.

Labour – Geoff Foxhall.

Liberal Democrat – Andrew Timothy.

Reform – John Swales.