Local elections 2022: Why 5 May could become independents’ day in Harrogate

While much of the attention around Harrogate's local elections has focused on the main parties, an independent force is quietly gathering pace.

By Jacob Webster
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 9:41 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 2:01 pm
'Time for change' - left to right: Jon Starkey, Sarah Hart, Lucy Gardiner, Daniel Thompson and Anna McIntee.

There is the retired airline pilot, the brother and sister who run an interior design shop, and the owner of a 20,000-acre estate to name a few.

As individuals, they represent most walks of life in the district.

Together, they have the potential to cause big upsets by unseating some of Harrogate's top politicians.

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Boroughbridge and Claro candidate Noel Evans.

These are the ten independents who have put their names forward for the 5 May elections to the new North Yorkshire Council which will replace Harrogate and the six other district councils from April 2023.

Among the most high-profile of the candidates is Felicity Cunliffe-Lister, who runs the Swinton Estate which features a castle hotel and cookery school.

Formally known as Lady Masham, she is standing for the Masham and Fountains division, and faces competition from Conservative Margaret Atkinson and Liberal Democrat Judith Hooper.

Mrs Cunliffe-Lister said she would bring a "balanced and centrist" voice to the new council and that her top priorities are supporting the farming industry, tackling the social care crisis and helping the life chances of young adults.

Washburn and Birstwith candidate Ian Galloway.

Meanwhile, a group of five independents who say it is "time for change" in the way Harrogate is run have also emerged for this year's local elections.

Anna McIntee, Sarah Hart, Daniel Thompson, Lucy Gardiner and Jon Starkey have aligned in their calls for the £10.9 million Station Gateway project to be scrapped and for the Beech Grove Low Traffic Neighbourhood to be removed.

They also want more free parking, a freeze on council tax, "safe and well designed" cycle routes, and no more new homes built in Harrogate until a "cohesive infrastructure plan is in place."

Anna McIntee, a mum-of-three who works in a town centre shop, is standing for the Stray, Woodlands and Hookstone division, while Sarah Hart, chair of Harrogate Community Land Trust, is competing for the Harlow and St Georges seat on the new council.

Ripon Minster and Moorside candidate Andrew Williams.

Daniel Thompson is standing for the Coppice Valley and Duchy division. He runs an interior design shop with his sister Lucy Gardiner who is a candidate for Valley Gardens and Central Harrogate.

Jon Starkey, who works in events sound and lighting, is hoping to become councillor for Boroughbridge and Claro.

His campaign is being supported by retired airline pilot Noel Evans who put his name forward for the same division, but is now asking voters to back Mr Starkey.

Separately, Ian Galloway, a former Harrogate mayor and Conservative councillor for 22 years, is standing as an independent for the Washburn and Birstwith division.

Ripon Ure Bank and Spa candidate Sid Hawke.

And in Ripon, city councillor Andrew Williams is hoping to win the Minster and Moorside seat.

He is part of the Ripon Independents group with Ure Bank and Spa candidate Sid Hawke who currently serves as a city and borough councillor.

The pair believe Ripon has "lived in the shadow of Harrogate" since the borough council was created in 1974 and say next week's election is an opportunity for residents to have a "greater say over how our city is run".

If elected, they have pledged to address the city's "poor roads, poor policing, under provision of youth facilities, lack of a city wide bus service" and a "failure" to invest in infrastructure.

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