Local elections 2022: Harrogate Lib Dems pledge to end 'wasted' Tory spending

Harrogate's Liberal Democrats say they are "on the up" and confident of a comeback in next month's elections to the new North Yorkshire Council.

By Jacob Webster
Monday, 25th April 2022, 2:00 pm
Left to right: Andy Bell, Pat Marsh and David Johnson are amongst the 19 Liberal Democrat candidates.

The Lib Dems are the main opposition to the Conservatives - with eight current borough councillors against the Tory's 28 - and say they believe "real strides" will be made in the 5 May vote.

The party has pledged to bring an end to "wasted" spending by the Conservatives and wants to keep council tax "as low as possible".

The Lib Dems have also promised to bring two park and ride bus services to the Harrogate district if elected, and highlighted their recent by-election success as a reason why they believe the wind is now behind the backs of their 19 candidates.

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A party spokesperson said: "Following our win in the Knaresborough Scriven Park by-election last summer, the party has won the North Shropshire by-election and has been steadily climbing in the polls."

They added: "We’re disappointed that the Conservatives have wasted money on giant snow globes and social media influencers at a time when people are struggling to put food on the table.

"We want to make Harrogate and Knaresborough cleaner, greener and safer towns. We will do this by introducing two new park and ride schemes to help lower congestion."

The Lib Dems, which previously ran Harrogate Borough Council between 1994 and 2002, said they would campaign against dog fouling and push for more investment in health services if elected.

They also want more police officers on patrol, more 20mph zones outside schools and more street cleaners.

The party spokesperson added: "If the Conservative government allows, we would lower the housebuilding target to protect our green fields from development and fight against building more and more houses.

"We can’t keep putting pressure on our roads and local services.

"With so many people struggling, we want more done to help those who need it the most. We will be providing more support to local food banks and we’d introduce a meals on wheels service.

"Children have really missed out during the pandemic. We will introduce a fund designed to help children with special educational needs to catch up.

"We believe, due to all the housebuilding, that a new secondary school is necessary and we want to introduce free school buses to make our roads less congested at drop-off times."

Pat Marsh, who is currently leader of the Lib Dem group on Harrogate Borough Council and has been a councillor for 32 years, is standing for the Stray, Woodlands and Hookstone division on the new council.

Philip Broadbank is another long-serving Liberal Democrat who has served as councillor over the last 43 years. He is standing for Fairfax and Starbeck where he has lived most of his life.

Andrew Murday previously stood to become MP for Skipton and Ripon, and is now the Lib Dem candidate for Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale.

Chris Aldred, who is chair of the borough council's overview and scrutiny commission, is hoping to win the High Harrogate and Kingsley seat on the new council.

Tom Watson is another current councillor and is hoping to represent Washburn and Birstwith.

Last summer, Hannah Gostlow won a Knaresborough by-election and is now standing to represent an eastern division in the town.

Also in Knaresborough, Matt Walker, who previously stood in the 2018 local elections and was a manager at Harrogate District Hospital, is competing for a western division.

David Goode is a current county councillor and the Lib Dem candidate for Killinghall, Hampsthwaite and Saltergate.

Former secretary of the local Lib Dems, David Johnson, is standing for the Valley Gardens and Central Harrogate division. Mr Johnson currently works as a librarian and is a representative for the Prospect trade union.

Andrew Kempston-Parkes, who previously served as a borough councillor for four years, is the party's candidate for Bilton and Nidd Gorge.

The nearby Bilton Grange and New Park division will be contested by Monika Slater who worked in customer services for 17 years and is a former school governor.

Andy Bell, who set up the Knaresborough Wombles litter picking group and describes himself as a "passionate environmentalist", is competing to become councillor for Boroughbridge and Claro.

The Coppice Valley and Duchy division is being contested by Peter Lacey who runs a consultancy company and is director of Knaresborough’s Chamber of Trade.

Michael Schofield, landlord of The Shepherds Dog pub in Harrogate, is the candidate for Harlow and St Georges, while customer service assistant Justin Chan is standing for Oatlands and Pannal.

Judith Hooper, who worked as a GP and director of public health in Kirklees, has been nominated by the Lib Dems for the Masham and Fountains division.

Tom Cavell-Taylor previously stood in the 2018 local elections and is now bidding to become councillor for Ripon Minster and Moorside.

Also in Ripon, Barbara Brodigan is standing for the Lib Dems for the Ripon Ure Bank and Spa seat.

Chris Knight is the final Lib Dem candidate. He is a semi-retired business consultant and has been nominated for the Wathvale and Bishop Monkton division.

Those elected will serve one year on North Yorkshire County Council before transitioning to the new council in April 2023.

The deadline to register to vote has passed and those on the electoral register should have received a polling card or letter during the last two weeks in March.

Polling stations will open from 7am to 10pm on election day.

Those who are unable to vote in person can apply to vote by post or proxy.

For more information go to www.harrogate.gov.uk/voting-elections/county-elections

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter