Meet your local election candidates for the Spen Valley and Wyke

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BIRSTALL AND BIRKENSHAW

Suzy Brain

Liberal Democrats

Suzy has a long track record of working for improvements in housing, health and welfare.

Now she wants to bring her energy and enthusiasm to be a new broom to sweep clean in Birstall, Birkenshaw and East Bierley.

“We have had the same councillors for our ward for many years. I don’t want the same old half measures for Birstall, Birkenshaw and East Bierley. The best way to get a fair deal is to vote for me as the new councillor for the area,” says Suzy.

“I will work to create an open area for use by the community in the heart of our villages; I will ensure that everyone’s worries about schools are listened to and answered; I will press Kirklees Council to bring disused houses back into use so that our children have access to affordable homes near their families.”

Suzy, of Birkenshaw, won an OBE for public service and she is currently at the forefront of enabling patients, carers and staff to be the owners of a new health and social care enterprise delivering NHS services in Kirklees.

“A vote for me is a vote to put power in the hands of the people,” said Suzy, 54.

Robert Light

Conservative

“I will fight for the interests of Birstall, Birkenshaw and East Bierley whether it be for or against Kirklees Council. I will not compromise what I believe to be in the best interests of people in the ward for power or position in Kirklees.

My priorities are working with the police to improve crime in the area; setting up BBG High School for present and future children of Birkenshaw, Birstall, East Bierley and Gomersal; protecting the green belt in Birstall; fighting for a local co-ed secondary school for Birstall children; improving our local roads, pavements and street lighting; opposing plans by Labour led Kirklees Council to close Birstall Children’s Centre and Howden Clough Community Centre; preserving and enhancing our village centres and stopping Labour’s postcode rationing of services which will see larger cuts to services in Birstall, Birkenshaw and East Bierley than other areas. Birstall, Birkenshaw and East Bierley has seen Labour threaten the very heart of our communities, thanks to them two post offices have closed, two primary schools have been threatened with closure, and now our children’s centre and one of our community centres could face closure. I will fight to protect the services we need for our community.”

Clive Lord

Green Party

This may be the last time Birstall and Birkenshaw voters have the chance to vote for me. By this time next year I hope to join an environmentally friendly pioneering co-housing development in west Leeds. You can Google us on ‘Lilac co-housing’.

Over many years I have been involved in various local issues such as public transport and saving green spaces, but my main focus has been on the Green Party’s plans to preserve a world fit for our grandchildren. If our policies had been applied, the current economic downturn would have been less severe. So even if we don’t win, a Green vote is never wasted – it helps to raise our profile in the media.

As you know, there is a referendum on the alterative vote on the same polling day. Please vote ‘Yes’ to AV. We know that many of you would like to vote Green, but don’t want the ‘wrong’ party to get in as a result. Under AV, you can vote Green, but if we don’t win, your second choice will still count.

Mike Williams

Labour

I have lived in the Birstall area for over 30 years and I served as councillor for Birstall and Birkenshaw from 1995 to 1999. I am a school governor at Birstall Community School and I was previously chairman of Birstall Village Improvement Group. In the past, I campaigned to secure the successful regeneration of Birstall Market Place and the installation of CCTV cameras.

I will work with the community and with the local Tenants’ and Residents’ Associations across Birstall, Birkenshaw and East Bierley to take action on the many issues which need addressing. From anti-social behaviour to planning issues, I will be proactive in working to improve the local environment and the quality of life for all residents in this area. I will also fight to protect key local services against the government’s unfair and excessive spending cuts whilst ensuring that the regeneration of the ward continues.

In these tough times, local residents need a councillor who can speak up for them and who will take action to help them with their problems and concerns. I would like the opportunity to be that councillor.

CLECKHEATON

Robert Barraclough

Green Party

I am  a 61 year old farmer, married to Maureen, with two grown up children. I have been a Kirkburton parish councillor for the last four years and am standing for re-election to that council.

Previously, I worked for farming organisations and ran a not for profit company promoting local food. I was involved in setting the setting up of the Cleckheaton Farmers Market and am a passionate believer in local food and supporting local businesses.

With up to 2,000 job losses in Kirklees, many in front line services, the only party on the council to vote against the cuts were the Green Party Councillors. Green Party Councillors provide a distinctive voice that speaks out against the impact on our local services, of national cuts and threats to our green spaces when others are constrained by their affiliation to the coalition Government, I would support the Green Party team if elected.

The Local Development Framework proposals have the potential to impact on communities with targets that have been indicated by Kirklees Planning already proving to be unachievable due to the downturn in the housing market.

Dan Howard

Labour

I live in Oakenshaw with my partner and our two children. I have worked in Cleckheaton for all but 18 months of the last 17 years. I was chief reporter at the Spen Guardian and now work for Mike Wood MP.

I campaign for local people every day. It’s the job I do for Mike Wood and voluntarily for the Labour party. I’m not a career politician, I’m not interested in shuffling papers in Huddersfield. I’m a local lad who wants to help people and improve our ward.

Our Lib Dem councillors stand by and watch as services leave – many as a result of cuts by the coalition government. They’re also on the wrong side of many big local issues and are out of step with what people want and what the town needs.

Cleckheaton needs a vigilant, hard working councillor fighting to protect, improve and add to the services we have left.

If elected, I will: fight to protect the ward from government cuts; safeguard local services; defend our heritage; work for and represent everyone in the whole ward honestly; fight to keep the town safe and vibrant; campaign for better use of land and against threats to greenbelt.”

David Pinder

Conservative

David Pinder is a former career soldier, who also served in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a British vice-consul and associate director. He recently gained a Master of Philosophy degree from Bradford University and now lectures in counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism. A chartered fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and a former chief executive of three Chambers of Commerce, he understands the importance and needs of the business community. Additionally, as a former director-general of an international educational charity and a school governor of both primary and secondary schools (he is currently a governor for Spen Valley Sports College) he is also well-placed to understand and influence Kirklees educational policy - indeed, as the then chairman of Mirfield Town Council he was one of the first to speak out publicly against the ill-judged BSF plans for the whole of North Kirklees. For the past three years David has been a voluntary co-optee on the Kirklees Council scrutiny panel for Wellbeing and Communities. David is a passionate believer in preserving and strengthening local communities and their individuality. He believes that local councils should deliver essential local services effectively and generally assist, support and encourage but not dictate.

Andrew Pinnock

Liberal Democrats

As a councillor in Cleckheaton ward I work hard with the local Liberal Democrat team to get improvements in our area.

This year I have led the successful campaign to save our bus station from closure. I have also succeeded in getting the demolition of the derelict buildings on Westgate. I worked with others to get the council to invest £6m on major extensions and refurbishments of local schools. These are major changes but smaller improvements are just as important. I have helped get a spring lean to clear sites at Thom’s Bridge, the viaduct entrance, and in Scholes. I have continued to press for road and pavement repairs.

There is still much that needs to be done to make our town even better. I will continue to work with the local police to tackle anti-social behaviour; campaign to get a new young people’s centre in Cleckheaton and a new sixth form college for our area; fight to protect our green belt;

work hard to get a Spen Beck Countryside Park; continue to hold regular surgeries, keep residents informed, and listen to your concerns.

Cleckheaton is my town and I am committed to making it even better for all.

HECKMONDWIKE

David Brooks

Green Party

I moved to this area two years ago upon my retirement, having been committed to Green politics for many years. If elected, I will join the Green councillors in promoting ideas which the Green Party have put forward, such as the free Warmzone scheme which helps to cut carbon emissions, creating jobs and saving residents money. The Green Party have help the council save money without cutting services, and have opposed plans for massive housebuilding in the Local Development Framework.

I will be with other Green Party candidates in doing my utmost in protecting local services, particularly those for the most vulnerable in our community.  I want the council to give more encouragement to small businesses, and I will oppose the cuts, believing that they do not have to be so deep so soon.

Josie Pugsley

Liberal Democrats

These are the issues that I will prioritise for the Heckmondwike ward. The town centre needs an injection of new businesses. The council should take action to deal with empty shops and business premises that blight the town and spoil it for everyone. I will campaign to get the bus station in Heckmondwike. It must go ahead despite the cuts in public spending. I want every child to have a fair start in life and that means keeping children’s centres and getting the long-promised Spen Valley Young people’s centre. I totally support keeping our precious green belt and will campaign to make sure it is protected. I will work closely with the local police to tackle anti-social behaviour and to keep our neighbourhoods safe. I will work to get a new sixth form college for young people in our area. I will make sure older and vulnerable people get the care and support that they need.

I totally support the Able 2 project near Ponderosa. It just shows that green schemes can work and benefit local people and bring business to our area.

Mark Roberts

Conservative

Mark Roberts went through comprehensive school before obtaining degrees in marketing engineering at Huddersfield Polytechnic and Manufacturing Systems Engineering at Cranfield University. He is passionate about improving education provision especially in North Kirklees, and believes this would be best delivered through encouraging free schools and academies.

He has lived and worked most of his adult life in Kirklees and presently works in sales management in a successful local industry. Mark is especially interested in the role the council must play in regenerating the area and is committed to brown field development and the protection of green field sites, and if successfully elected will fight to try to ensure that this policy is implemented throughout Kirklees and particularly in Heckmondwike.

Mark is also committed to low council tax increases and better value for money service provision and believes that local residents deserve better standards and consistency of service from the council at the point of delivery. This would be best achieved by a commitment to localism – local services for local people, with residents having more control and say over the services they want.

David Sheard

Labour

OK – so it is not the best of times to want to be a councillor, not a lot of scope for new spending. But all that makes it all the more important to spend what we do have to the best advantage, all the more important to see that Heckmondwike gets its fair share.

We need to see through the work we have started, we need a bus station, we need a new library and information centre and we need to complete the work in Firths Park. Heckmondwike Labour Party are the only party to respond to the LDF consultation, pointing out that we are already the most built up Ward of Kirklees and that we will oppose any incursion into green field Land.

We have to address the problem of fly-tipping; we do need more things for both young and older residents to do – all things we are working on now.

As the cuts bight, there will be more need to help residents with all sorts of problems, having a full team of Labour councillors has helped. I hope you will allow us to continue after May to work for you and Heckmondwike.

LIVERSEDGE AND GOMERSAL

Karen Allison

Green Party

I have always lived in the Kirklees area and have two children, one currently at college and I am concerned about the impact of ending the educational maintenance allowance on young people. I worked for Kirklees Council for 20 years before leaving last summer on principle – I was shocked and angry about how quickly the cuts in services were being implemented and about how they so badly affect the most vulnerable in our community. So I was delighted that the Green councillors voted against the cuts budget earlier this year, while the other three parties combined to vote them through. I want Kirklees to ensure that local people enjoy good services. Our four councillors have brought forward a number of initiatives, for example, on ending the councillors’ entertainments budget, saving energy use in council buildings, and reducing staff travel costs. All these saved money without cutting jobs or services, and benefitted the environment. I am also involved in a wide range of community activities, including voluntary work for the Kirkwood Hospice, and chair of the Spot On Musical Theatre Company. If elected, I will be actively involved with the community and listen to people rather than just to other councillors.

Richard Farnhill

Liberal Democrats

I’ve always lived locally, and currently live with my family in Hunsworth. I’m constantly impressed by the hard work that the Cleckheaton Lib Dem Councillors put in, and that’s what prompted me to stand in Liversedge and Gomersal. I’ve been meeting residents, and they are telling me that they are ready for change – ready for someone who will campaign for them and listen and respond to their needs. They support my calls for derelict industrial buildings to be demolished, and then converted into productive, job-providing sites. People agree that the Conservative High School plans will have a negative impact for much of the ward. I’m passionate that our green belt should be preserved. I also want to ensure that local services are protected and will campaign as the Lib Dems do in Cleckheaton to keep our services like the Bus Station.

Liversedge and Gomersal is a lovely area, but the current councillors are complacent in dealing with local issues. You have told me that you want someone to represent you who will fight for the area, and I’m committed to work hard for the ward – all year round.

Lisa Holmes

Conservative

As a mother of two young children with elderly parents, I understand many of the issues that would be brought to me if I am elected to represent you. My work will be decided by the residents of the Liversedge and Gomersal ward. I believe councillors should be out and about in the community, finding out what is needed by you the residents and where they can help. I see the role of your councillor being to listen to your concerns, to do whatever I can to help resolve matters as quickly and effectively as possible, and to speak out for your needs. From talking to many residents during the campaign I already know that you are concerned about crime and anti-social behaviour, highways issues such as speeding traffic and poorly maintained roads and paths, access to services such as community and children’s centres and high quality local schools for your children. Your sitting Conservative councillors Margaret Bates and David Hall have worked for many years on just these issues, and if I am elected as your new Conservative councillor, I pledge to you that I will build on the good work they have already done in this ward.

Gordon North

Labour

I am the only local candidate at this election and the only candidate with an established record of working for Liversedge and Gomersal. If elected I would be the only councillor to live in our ward. I feel I am the best person to represent this ward and defend against Tory cuts. The cuts will impact on everyone. Working and living in the ward I know how worried local people are and what their needs and aspirations are, far more so than the outsiders standing for other parties. I know the value of good local education, but this is being undermined by the Conservative candidate and her campaign for an unnecessary private school in her own village of Birkenshaw. My focus, if elected, will be to fight for THIS ward and improve our services. Birkenshaw doesn’t need another councillor at our expense. As a former councillor I was never content with leftovers from Huddersfield and delivered many successes. The award winning Spen Valley Greenway was created in spite of a lot of resistance from Kirklees and I worked hard to overcome this. I will be a powerful voice for local people and will work hard for everyone in this ward.

WYKE

Neil Craig

Democratic Nationalist

Neil is 51 years old, born and bred in Bradford. For the last seven years he has run a public house in Wyke. He has two sons in the army who have served in Iraq and Afganistan. He attends many of the neighborhood forums and Low Moor Urban Village meetings, so is aware of the problems within the ward. His main concern is the delay in the provision of the railway station in Low Moor. Child safety with regards to the new Appleton Academy must also be high on the list of priorities when it is opened.

Sarah Ferriby

Labour

Sarah is 48 years old and was born in and has lived within the Ward of Wyke all her life. she was educated at Raw Nook first School, Delph Hill Middle and Wyke Manor School. She is from a hotel, catering and hospitality background and has been married to her husband Philip for 25 years.

Sarah is actively involved with many local community, friends of and residents groups. She has a strong interest in the environment, health, and the community, she advocates the importance of a good education and she sits on the board of governors at Appleton Academy and is a trustee at Nell Bank Outdoor Educational Centre. Over the past four years she has represented the Wyke Ward as an elected member and has worked on improving the community and its facilities within parks, open spaces and nature Conservation, highways, transportation, education and the environmental, the provision of services to the local community and has worked with many partner agencies to improve the ward, all of which impacts on the everyday lives of all residents within the area. Her interests are walking, reading, gardening, local history and vintage tractors.

Kevin Hall

Liberal Democrats

Kevin Hall is a 56 year old physics teacher who has one daughter. Currently he teaches at a secondary school in Calderdale where he has taught for 20 years. He has lived in the Odsal area for 25 years and is a season ticket holder at the Bradford Bulls.

Kevin’s priorities include tackling crime and disorder, improving the environment and the economic regeneration of the district. He would campaign for more money to help the elderly and people with disabilities to stay in their own homes. He believes that local councillors should be powerful voices for their communities and that the Council and its partners should be ambitious for the future of the district.

He is especially committed to raising standards in schools and improving Bradford’s place in the education league tables.

Liberal Democrats will do things differently because we believe that local people know best how things should be done in their area. He will campaign for more devolution of budget and services to the area committees and make them the drivers of change in their areas.

Richard Milczanowski

Conservative

I’ve been married to Helen for 28 years and we have a daughter, Sarah, 24. I enjoy gardening, socialising, watching Bradford Bulls and being out and about generally. I worked for 19 years in the aviation industry, at Leeds Bradford International Airport, but for the past 19 years I have been employed in the criminal justice field, managing and supervising people on court orders. My involvement in the local community dates back many years, where I regularly attend neighbourhood forums and various civic meetings where various council decisions are discussed. I firmly believe that the main duty of a councillor is to represent the interests of residents in the ward – this is because people matter. If elected I would campaign for Wyke ward to receive a fair share of funding from the council. Some key areas which I believe require attention include: street cleaning, dog fouling, potholes, sympathetic planning and construction, street lighting, crime initiatives. Towngate would also welcome a spruce up, which I am sure many residents would support. I believe I offer the opportunity to elect a new face, with new ideas, and someone with the determination and drive to improve Wyke and make it a better place.