Local elections 2022: The 10 key battlegrounds in the Harrogate district

A massively reduced number of councillor seats in Harrogate means this Thursday's local elections are set to be a tense and dramatic affair.

By Jacob Webster
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 9:58 am
With far fewer councillor seats up for grabs, many candidates will miss out on a spot on the new North Yorkshire Council.

Twenty one councillors will be voted in to represent the district on the new North Yorkshire Council - far fewer than the 42 currently on Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council.

Here's a look at the key seats to keep an eye on as the election results are announced on Friday.

Coppice Valley and Duchy

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With borough council leader Richard Cooper not standing for re-election, deputy leader Graham Swift is the most senior candidate for Harrogate's Conservatives.

He faces competition from four candidates for the Coppice Valley and Duchy division, including Independent Daniel Thompson.

The other candidates are Patricia Foxall (Labour), Peter Lacey (Liberal Democrat) and Leighton Regayre (Green Party).

Fairfax and Starbeck

The fight for Fairfax and Starbeck will see two more sitting borough councillors go head-to-head.

These are Liberal Democrat Philip Broadbank and Conservative Sue Lumby.

Green Party's Gordon Schallmo and Labour's Christopher Watt are also standing for this division.

High Harrogate and Kingsley

Another interesting contest is shaping up in High Harrogate and Kingsley where more existing and former councillors will battle it out.

Lib Dem councillor Chris Aldred is chair of the borough council's overview scrutiny commission, while Conservative councillor Tim Myatt is cabinet member for planning.

Former Labour councillor Geoffrey Foxall is also in the mix and aiming to make a return to local politics.

Killinghall, Hampsthwaite and Saltergate

David Goode (Liberal Democrat) and Michael Harrison (Conservative) both currently sit on the county council.

However, one - or both - of these could lose their seat after Thursday's vote.

The other candidates for this division are Green Party's Bill Rigby and Labour's Edward Clayson.

Knaresborough East

Liberal Democrat's Hannah Gostlow last year took a seat off the Conservatives when she won a borough council by-election by a majority of 251 votes.

Could she now beat Tory councillor Ed Darling and Labour's Sharon-Theresa Calvert to the Knaresborough East seat?

Masham and Fountains

In a rare all-female contest, Margaret Atkinson (Conservative), Felicity Cunliffe-Lister (Independent) and Judith Hooper (Liberal Democrat) are competing for the Masham and Fountains division.

The Conservative candidate is already a county and borough councillor for the area, and will be hoping to fend off competition from her two rivals.

Ouseburn

Voters in Ouseburn have two candidates to choose from.

The first is Green Party's Arnold Warneken who became the first ever Green councillor in the north of England when he was elected to the borough council in 1991.

And the second is Conservative Richard Musgrave who currently sits on both the county council and Selby District Council.

Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale

Conservative councillor Stanley Lumley and the Lib Dem's former parliamentary candidate for Skipton and Ripon, Andrew Murday, will challenge for this rural seat.

There is also competition from Yorkshire Party's Alison Harris who could cause an upset or take crucial votes away from her two rivals.

Ripon Ure Bank and Spa

Mike Chambers (Conservative) and Sid Hawke (Independent) both currently represent Ripon as councillors - and have done so for several years.

But which will miss out on a seat on the new North Yorkshire Council?

Or it could be both if either Barbara Brodigan (Liberal Democrat) or Robin Burgess (Green Party) pull off a victory?

Stray, Woodlands and Hookstone

Pat Marsh is the Liberal Democrat leader on the borough council and has served as councillor for 32 years.

She faces challenges from Conservative borough councillor John Ennis, Labour's Helen Burke and Independent Anna McIntee.

In total, 90 councillors will be voted in to represent 89 new divisions across North Yorkshire.

They will serve one year on North Yorkshire County Council before transitioning to the new unitary authority in April 2023.

The deadline to register has passed and those who are already on the electoral register should have received a polling card.

Polling stations will open from 7am to 10pm on 5 May.

Those who are unable to vote in person because of their employment or a disability can apply to vote by an emergency proxy.

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

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter