Washburn by-election winner with rural services pledge

Victoria Oldham (Con)
Victoria Oldham (Con)

An outright victory has been declared for the Conservatives in the Washburn by-election with the winning candidate pledging to improve rural services.

Victoria Oldham retained the seat for the party with 363 votes, almost 75 per cent of the total number of ballots, with Laura Dinning of the Labour Party second with 61 votes in the vote cast on Thursday (September 28).

Talking about what she hopes to achieve, Coun Oldham said: “There are quite a lot of issues in this ward, from planning decisions being made in neighbouring wards that will also impact here, road surfacing issues and the potential loss of green belt land.

“Some of these are because of decisions by Harrogate Borough Council, but also because of some by North Yorkshire County Council.”

She added: “I worked as a civil servant but now I am a private accountant, and I also run my own farm. Quite a lot of people around here have small individual farms.

“Part of what I campaigned on was working to improve rural services in the area such as access to faster broadband, retaining post offices and more schools. This will also mean improving recycling services and doing what I can to improve the environment as well.”

Discussing other major issues within the area Coun Oldham also highlighted the potential for a re-alignment for the A59 at Kex Gill, saying that ‘whatever is decided on should be done to benefit as many people as possible, with as little disruption as possible’.

Turnout on the day was around 18.5 per cent of the electorate.

Former Conservative councillor for the ward, Christine Ryder, who stepped down earlier this year previously won by a similar margin.

Coun Oldham said: “While I am happy at the result I am sorry for the low turnout.

“The electorate is 2,626 and the turnout was 487.”

She added: “I would like to thank the electors of the Washburn Ward for supporting me and to my agent Gillian Gill at the Skipton and Ripon Conservative Office along with Richard Cooper and his team at Harrogate.”

Result in full

Victoria Oldham (Con) 363 votes; Laura Dinning (Lab) 61 votes; Paul Trewhitt (Green) 44 votes; Jack Render (Yorkshire Party) 19 votes.