Kirklees Council candidate statements: Cleckheaton

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We’ve invited each of the candidates hoping to represent Cleckheaton on Kirklees Council to tell us why they deserve your vote on May 7.

Phillip Buck (Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts)

No statement supplied.

Andrew Lyndon Gray (Conservative Party)

Choosing to become active in local issues such as schools over the last few years was an easy choice for me as I felt a new voice was needed for Cleckheaton residents who have been let down by Kirklees Council. A former pupil of Whitcliffe Mount, in my local town I am truly concerned that we have been given a raw deal for far too long. Representing the Conservatives in the local elections is my opportunity to give local people a strong voice. Local politicians, including the Lib Dems, have been ineffective for too long and their contempt horrifies me. Rather than put Cleckheaton first, they have played politics on Kirklees Council for years. It is hardly surprising that your money ends up in Huddersfield and green belt building in our area is becoming extremely concerning. I want to bring change and give power to the residents of North Kirklees, bringing investment from Huddersfield to the local area; something my opponent has failed to do in his many years. I am married with two young children and want to bring them up in an area that puts people before politics. I promise to deliver this if elected on May 7.

Ken Lowe (Labour Party)

I strongly believe that the people of Cleckheaton are not getting fair representation within Kirklees and it is only by electing a Labour councillor that the needs and aspirations of Cleckheaton people will get heard. It was good for Cleckheaton having three Lib Dem councillors when they were the party in charge of Kirklees, but those days are long gone and not likely to return. What we need in Cleckheaton now is a new voice who is prepared to shout out for the needs of Cleckheaton and that voice is mine. I have a considerable track record and wide experience having been a teacher, a community worker – both in the voluntary sector and for the council – and latterly the support manager for the Labour Group of Kirklees councillors. So I do know my way around, do understand the job I would be taking on, and can hit the ground running. Most recently with a colleague I set up and now chair Batley Food Bank which helps hard pressed families throughout the whole of Batley and Spen – and even wider afield. A vote for me would be a vote for an experienced and caring person who was prepared to make his voice heard where it matters.

Andrew Charles Pinnock (Liberal Democrats)

As the local councillor, I and my colleagues work hard all year round to make Cleckheaton an even better place to live and work. I am campaigning for a replacement sports centre, which the council will demolish next year. Labour councillors have refused to replace it, even though that can be done in a cost effective way. Our library building is threatened with closure – 4,000 people signed a petition to save it, but there is still a threat of it being moved. I will not sit idly by while the council just closes down what we have here in Cleckheaton. Cleckheaton has had hundreds of new homes in the last few years. Any more new homes must be built on “brownfield” sites, so that our green spaces are protected. There is still much to do. I will: continue to work with the local police to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour; continue to work with the Friends of Scholes Rec and Hunsworth Rec; continue to get roads safer and well-repaired; work with local businesses to keep our town thriving; continue to hold regular surgeries, keep residents informed, and listen to your concerns. I am determined to get a fair deal for Cleckheaton.

Catherine Charlotte Stoyles (Green Party)

All my family hail from Bradford but I’ve moved around since being a child, living in villages, towns and cities in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Staffordshire. I settled in Kirklees in 2009 to live with my partner, and help him with his electronic music business. His family also own a music shop in Brighouse. My son currently plays in Kirklees Music School’s guitar group. I love the community events they hold, bringing young people together from all over the area. Currently, I’m studying at The University of Bradford, on placement with a homelessness service in Calderdale. As such, I’m committed to our proposals to refurbish empty properties and build sustainable homes, while protecting our beautiful environment. I’ve always been a Green voter, and decided to become a member in 2009 when it became clear that international and central government policy was ignoring all the science on human-induced climate change. Our society needs to change and the Green Party is offering hope for the future, with democratic ideals and global, European and local perspectives that are the logical way forward for humanity. We are living through some tough times; it is vital we build bridges and support each other.

Colin Walshaw (UK Independence Party)

Assuming you are in my Cleckheaton ward you have received my leaflets, therefore no need to expand on policies, read them? Why I am standing is relevant. We returned in 2007 after eight years living in the USA, looked around and said “What happened here whilst we were away?” Having never joined a political party, we researched the options, only UKIP made sense to our Yorkshire common sense. I joined the party in 2009. Initially I helped the local Lib/Dems, the Pinnocks, Anne Raistrick and John Lawson. They appeared to be good councillors and there were no alternatives. Last year I recognised fundamental disagreements with their core policies on Europe, man made global warming, immigration and other issues (too Liberal). December last year UKIP established a committee in Batley and Spen, I joined immediately with enthusiasm. On your behalf I want to understand how this socialist-dominated council can, for example, countenance a police commissioner’s decision for headquarters based in Cooper Bridge with all its traffic problems. Other similar decisions made by non-elected individuals smack of EU type politics. I freely admit not fully understanding the workings of Kirklees Council. On your behalf I will ensure we all will soon!