Meet your local election candidates for Batley and Birstall


Thursday, 28th April 2011, 11:44 am



I have lived in West Yorkshire for most of my life and in Kirklees for over twenty years. I am married with two daughters who both attended local schools.

Having been involved as a leader in Youth Work, Sunday School and the Scout movement from a very early age, I feel that young people have been neglected by the council and that it is time that something was done about it. I became involved with the Liberal Democrats because I knew that they were the only party actively trying to do things for the community.

I am saddened when other political parties stoop to gimmickry just to win votes. I believe in common sense and good old fashioned honest politics where people stand up for what they believe in and take action to follow their policies through, rather than saying only what they think people want to hear.

It is time for real change; cutting crime, doing more for the environment, helping our young people and our elderly, improving road safety for ALL users and most important of all keeping our promise.

If you believe in these values as well, then please support me and vote Liberal Democrats.



I want Kirklees Council to ensure that local people enjoy good services and a decent environment. Our existing councillors have brought forward a number of initiatives, for example, on saving energy use in council buildings, reducing staff travel costs and of course the free element of the Warmzone. All these saved money without cutting services and benefitted the environment.

We have also opposed plans for massive expansion of housebuilding in the Kirklees LDF and want to see greater emphasis on redeveloping town centres like Batley.

I am concerned about the huge cuts to services especially to vulnerable people agreed by the three main parties – I was delighted that the Green Councillors took a stand and voted against them. If elected, I will seek to further this work.



Join the Batley smile campaign on May 5th and vote for Mark Griffin, your local independent candidate for Batley East.

I absolutely believe that I can make a positive contribution to the wellbeing of the people of Batley East and the town of Batley as a local independent councillor.

My pledges are as follows:

1) To enthusiastically represent the views and concerns of the residents of Batley East to Kirklees Council.

2) To work with local businesses, entrepreneurs and the public sector to positively promote the name of Batley and the Town Centre of Batley to assist in generating investment and jobs.

3) To support community volunteers and promote the vital role that volunteering fulfils in supporting the wellbeing of Batley and Batley residents.

4) Town Centre Christmas signs down in January 2012, unless used as a joke for fundraising and promoting the town!

Take a look at our Batley Smile project, a proposed social enterprise designed to get all of us that live in Batley to sell the best of Batley to both ourselves and others, to assist in generating investment and income for the area. What do you think? Got better ideas to promote Batley? Share them.



Mohammed Laher is a family man and a businessman, who lives in and cares about Batley, and he will work hard on behalf of all communities in the town.

Mohammed is against housebuilding on greenfields and in the green belt, and is concerned that the Councils LDF proposals have not been consulted on adequately. He is committed to regeneration and highlights the clear need to regenerate Batley especially the ‘mill mile’.

If elected Mohammed will fight for the best possible outcome for education provision in Batley and across North Kirklees, and he considers that our children are being let down badly by the Council.

Mohammed says that residents concerns are his concerns and particularly highlights crime, anti-social behaviour, the state of the roads, and deteriorating service provision and poor value for money, as areas in which he will work for improvements.



I am very proud and privileged to be the Batley East candidate for the Labour Party on the 5th May. I have worked in the community for over 10 years so I know Batley East very well. I am a person that needs to know what is going on in our area. I care passionately about Batley East and the residents that live here. I believe that people should stand up for themselves and there is no better way of doing this than in the ballot box. I know that we have difficult times ahead but we will get through it. We will fight against any more cuts to services in Batley East that is for sure.

We have been very lucky in Batley East we have a good strong team with Mary Harkin, Mahmood Akhtar and Hanif Mayet. They have achieved so many successes and I hope I can do the same.

I am the right person to represent you I am fair, honest and reliable. So please vote for me.

I would like to thank Mary Harkin for all her hard work over the last 21 years and for the help and advice she has given me.




John Birkenshaw has lived in Upper Batley for over 20 years and is a former head of CID in the Dewsbury Police Division.

He was an experienced and well respected police senior investigating officer and hostage negotiator. John retired from West Yorkshire Police in January 2004 after 31 years to take up a post as a senior manager in Leeds City Council’s Community Safety Department. He is currently the 2011 Census area manager for Kirklees, responsible for 200+ staff working on the census across Kirklees.

John has 3 grown up children and 5 grandchildren (three of whom attend local schools in Upper Batley).

John was officer in charge of Batley Army Cadets during the 1980s and is now on the management committee of Dewsbury Sea Cadets. John has previous been precluded from entering politics because his previous employments.

He genuinely wants to improve the quality of life and landscape of Batley and aims to work tirelessly with the police and local agencies to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour which has increased in Batley West Ward in recent years.

John is looking for your vote to change the tired political landscape of Batley to ‘Build a Brighter Future for Batley’.



The time is right for Batley to have a loud voice and a sustainable future. I have lived in Batley for most of my life and as a result have benefitted from its central location.

The town is at the heart of the old West Riding and now once again finds itself at the heart of the Leeds City Region. The people of Batley have had to watch over the last 20 years as other towns and cities have grown up around us. We are a forgotten son of Kirklees yet arguably now a vital cog in the growth of the area.

As your Green Party Councillor I will work tirelessly to ensure that Batley has a voice. At the heart of that voice is job creation, supporting local businesses and developing town pride. Batley to many is an industrial town with a dirty past but, actually, it is a pioneering town and a “Green” town. The shoddy trade was recycling on a commercial scale and from this Batley developed its wealth. Batley is well placed to be a “Green” town again. All we need is a drop of investment, a bit of vision and a lot of hard work.



I want to be a councillor for the Batley West ward because I want to help make a real difference to the lives of local people. I will:

Protect council services, especially for the old and vulnerable

Make sure that Batley Library stays open

Work with the local Police team to tackle anti-social behaviour and to help residents feel safe in their neighbourhoods

Listen to the concerns of parents about the future of secondary schools in Batley.

Campaign for a new 6th form college in our area

Persuade the council to do more to create jobs in Batley and to set on more apprenticeships

Do all I can to keep Fox’s in Batley

Try and get more affordable family homes for young Batley families.

I live with my family in Batley as I have done all my life. I run a high quality carpet manufacturing business in the town so I understand how the recession is hitting local business. I am committed to making Batley a better place for young and old from all our communities.



I have had the privilege of representing Batley West Ward for the last four years.

My two Labour ward colleagues and I have worked hard to resolve local issues, support local groups and support constituents on issues affecting them, in order to fully represent the whole community in Batley West.

We brought the “Narrowing the Gap” project to reduce inequalities in a deprived area, improvements to children’s play areas, the refurbishment of our town hall, and re-surfaced roads and footpaths. I work with the Neighbourhood Policing Team and Community Safety officers to challenge anti-social behaviour and to support individuals to change their behaviour and contribute positively to society.

I supported initiatives to reduce health inequalities such as the Diabetes Expert Patient Programme. We funded four diabetes EPP courses in Batley during the last 12 months. I am now considering utilising EPP for dementia, our greatest health challenge in the 21st century.

I promote greater understanding of different faiths as a good way to bring about a more harmonious society. I am a school governor, member of a local Children’s Centre Advisory Board and Kirklees Cabinet Member. Please re-elect me so I can continue to work hard for Batley West.




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.

“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.”



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 & 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.

Stopping Labours post code 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 have lived in the Birstall area for over thirty 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 Chair 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.



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.