Residents to go to the polls in Wetherby area

Leeds City Council residents go to the polls next week to vote for ward councillors and the first West Yorkshire Mayor.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 9:48 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 11:40 am
Voting will open next week. Picture Bruce Rollinson

The mayor of West Yorkshire will have a similar role to those of Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and other metropolitan areas in England with devolution deals.

Experts say this will bring West Yorkshire greater influence within government at national level, including on economic recovery, the power to shape government policy and access further funding.

The election of the mayor has been made possible through a devolution deal, which was agreed by West Yorkshire’s five council leaders and the Government in March 2020 and became law in January 2021.

It looks set to bring at least an additional £1.8bn public investment into local control over the next 30 years.

And more decisions about transport, skills, housing and regeneration, which are currently taken in Parliament, will be made in West Yorkshire.

The mayor will be a figurehead for the region, working with the Mayoral Combined Authority, council leaders, business representatives and partners to prioritise issues that really matter to people and communities in the region.

They will have specific powers including ability to draw up a Local Transport Plan to improve connectivity across the region.

Their housing and land acquisition powers will support housing, regeneration, infrastructure, and community development.

And the election of the mayor will also change the way police and crime matters are overseen in West Yorkshire.

The mayor will take on the functions of the Police and Crime Commissioner and will be able to set the objectives for the police force through a police and crime plan, and appoint and hold the Chief Constable to account.

Next week will see every Leeds City Council ward is represented by three councillors who are each elected to serve a four-year term.

A Council spokesman said: “Their terms are staggered so that we only select one councillor in each local election.

“This system is called voting by thirds because a third of councillors are elected each year, over a four year cycle.

“Due to this, once every four years, there are no local elections. This is called a fallow year.

“The next fallow year in Leeds was 2021 but due to coronavirus we needed to postpone the elections in 2020 and are holding it this year instead.”

In 2018 three councillors were elected in each ward because the ward boundaries had been independently reviewed to reflect changes in population and ensure each ward contained a similar amount of electors.

Candidates:

West Yorkshire Mayor - Coun Golton (Lib Dem), Waj Ali (Reform UK), Tracy Brabin (Labour), Bob Buxton (Yorkshire Party), Andrew Cooper (Green), Thérése Hirst (English Democrats), Matt Robinson (Conservatives).

Wetherby ward candidates - Steve Clapcote (Labour and Co-operative), David Clark (Lib Dems), Alan Lamb (Conservatives), Penny Stables (Green Party).

Harewood Ward - Dan Cook (Lib Dems), Claire Evans (Green Party), Sam Firth (Conservatives), Michael Millar (Labour).