Meet your local election candidates for Dewsbury
“I am 51 and have lived in Dewsbury for 25 years. I come from a background in textiles and am a self-employed engineer. I have had my own business in the past and have been a buyer and manager in retail.
I decided to enter politics a couple of years ago due to the introduction of intrusive laws affecting people’s behaviour which I regard as nothing short of social engineering.
I hope to bring a breath of fresh air to local politics by looking at why our council tax rates have doubled over the last 13 years despite inflation (RPI) only increasing by 38 per cent in that time.
I believe that every pound spent by the council should be spent wisely and be on a par with the private sector.
I would also look at the reasoning behind all the traffic ‘calming’ obstacles on our roads, some of which I believe to be a waste of money, money that might be better spent educating our children on road safety issues.”
Mark Simon Eastwood
“Regardless of political persuasion, we all want to see Dewsbury East prosper. If you select me as your councillor, I shall focus 100 per cent on representing you and not chase the financial rewards associated with being an elected member. I shall not be joining endless committees to receive inflated expenses.
As a married father of two from Earlsheaton, I am not asking for your vote to become a career politician. My reason for standing is simply because I think I can do a better job at representing my local community. As your Conservative candidate for Dewsbury East, I shall:
• Lobby Kirklees Council to halt the ill-conceived Local Development Framework plans for Chidswell and Dewsbury;
• Help enforce a zero tolerance approach to tackling anti-social behaviour;
• Put pressure on Kirklees Council to shift their focus from Huddersfield to Dewsbury, starting with proposals for Pioneer House;
• Campaign for greater transparency and democracy in relation to local planning issues;
• Work closely with local residents, Dewsbury Town Team, Chamber 0f Trade and Retail Forum to focus on the regeneration of Dewsbury;
• Prevent landlords who own empty properties in Dewsbury holding the town to ransom with inflated rents.”
Eric Firth (defending)
“I have had the privilege of representing Dewsbury East for 16 years and I am Dewsbury born and bred.
As a granddad, committed family man and resident of Dewsbury East I want what local people want: a safer, cleaner, brighter and more prosperous place to live.
I am proud of my track record of delivering for local people and have worked with thousands of residents on a wide variety of issues in my time as your local representative.
I have listed below a few of my recent achievements by working in partnership with local people:
• Yorkshire Water bridge victory
• Metro local bus for Dewsbury East residents
• Freedom march arranged to honour our armed forces
• Ahsworth Lodge refurbished
• Securing funding for Hanging Heaton Cricket Club and Bowling Club
• Supporting Help for Heroes
• Traffic calming in Chickenley
• New boiler for Shaw Cross boys club
• Free town centre bus
• Resurfacing Old Bank Road and Kennedy Close.
Although much has been done I am well aware that there is still a great deal to do with the regeneration of the town centre a priority. With your help on May 5 I will give you another four years of hard work and a personal commitment to revitalise our great town.”
“I live in Shaw Cross and am a governor at two local schools. I volunteer with a charity that helps young people find homes and jobs. I campaign tirelessly for all local people. Many residents have told me they are supporting me this time to be their councillor.
Recently with the dewsbury Lib Dem team I have:
Successfully campaigned to keep our Town Centre Free Bus;
Negotiated a council budget that saves our museums, libraries and Children’s Centres;
Supported police to prevent crime and reduce anti-social behaviour;
Backed action to compulsory purchase the Pioneer Building .
But there is still much more to do! If elected I will:
Protect the Green Belt in areas under threat like Chidswell;
Fight for a 6th Form College for Dewsbury;
Take action to improve our town centre by getting empty shops re-opened;
Campaign to protect Dewsbury Hospital;
Work to keep our area litter free and our roads and pavements well repaired.
We need an effective councillor with a track record of success in standing up for our area. Someone on the side of and working for local people and fighting for a better deal for Dewsbury.”
“Your Green Party candidate is Tony Kelsall. Tony lives with his wife in Hanging Heaton, Dewsbury. He works in the charity sector. Tony feels that although the council has had no choice but to make some cuts because of national Government policies, it is important to prioritise support for the most vulnerable people – particularly older people, children and disabled people, so the four Green councillors in Kirklees’ recent opposition to yet more cuts locally was welcome.
Like other Greens, he supports local government being truly local, and would like to see Batley and Dewsbury split from Kirklees Council so that local decisions are made locally.
The Green Party has successfully proposed a range of policies over the years which have directly benefited residents across the district, including the free element of the Warmzone initiative, substantial energy cost savings in council properties and the abolition of the councillors’ entertainment budget.”
“I feel privileged to stand as a Labour candidate for Labour Dewsbury South. I believe that Dewsbury South needs an articulate and passionate voice in the face of rising unemployment and cuts in public services that the Conservative-led coalition government have inflicted on the hard working-people of Dewsbury.
One of the many reasons why I will make an effective councillor is my detailed knowledge of local, regional and national government systems — in other words, I know how to get things done! My experience in education, housing and regeneration, the justice system and the community, will enable me to offer people the opportunity to get involved in the regeneration of their areas and use my extensive networks and connections to enable people to gain skills and secure work.
I will be accountable to you the voter, I will listen to your concerns, work with local community groups and organisations and represent the best interests of Dewsbury South. I will hold regular surgeries throughout the ward. I will help to protect and deliver local services and support the most vulnerable in our community.”
Adrian Hugh Cruden
“I am 47, work in the charity sector and have lived in Thornhill with my wife for over ten years. If elected, I would build on the existing successes of the four Green councillors, which include savings through energy efficiency in council buildings, ending the councillors’ entertainments budget and reducing staff travel costs, all without reducing jobs or services.
I am concerned about the impact of the £80m cuts to Kirklees’ services and the potential 2,000 job losses. Green councillors voted against the cuts budget. It is ridiculous that older people, disabled people and children are especially affected while the bankers still take home bonuses of billions.
I’ve been involved in campaigning against the plans in the LDF for building near 4,500 new houses, including 2,300 on green belt in the Thornhill Lees area. The Greens leafleted the area in February to encourage people to put their views forward. I co-authored the Green Party response to the LDF, and called for the plans to be abandoned in favour of renovating the many empty buildings in the town centre – for the second time, the Greens were the only party to make a formal submission to the LDF consultation process.”
Bernard Thomas Disken
“I live in Dewsbury and work as a solicitor in the town centre. I am a member of Dewsbury Road Runners and race director of the Dewsbury 10K Road Race.
The decline of Dewsbury town centre must be reversed. I support the Town Team and the proposals to regenerate the town centre.
My priorities are:
1. Providing high quality services for vulnerable and older people;
2. Preserving services at Dewsbury Hospital;
3. Protecting the green belt in Thornhill Lees;
4. A sixth form college for Dewsbury;
5. Preserving the number of police on the streets.
I support the Alternative Vote system which will give more power to the people. MPs will have to get the support of a majority of their voters. Under the current system many people vote tactically against a particular party instead of voting positively for their first choice. Under AV you can vote for your first choice in the knowledge that your vote will count against the party you do not want.
It is important that all parties work together on the council for the good of Dewsbury.
I am committed to making Dewsbury a better place to live.”
“Dewsbury South is an area with a large Asian community but the majority of Dewsbury South are white/English so why are all three councillors Asian? Is This what Dewsbury South wants? I don’t feel this is representative of the community. The perception this gives is one of inequality. Dewsbury has had too many problems to leave the situation unaddressed and not voiced.
I’m 48-years-old and have been married to Wendy for 27 years, we were both born and bred in Thornhill and both went to Thornhill High and were married in Thornhill Church, so consequently, I feel passionately about the area.
I’m chairman and founder of Thornhill United FC. With the hard work of the committee and parents we are the only football club in this country that give totally free football to over 150 kids and 40+ young adults.
I’m also vice chairman of the Friends of Rectory Park, a group that with the support of English Heritage is going to spend £0.5m restoring Rectory Park to the condition it deserves.
I have a history of making things happen in the limited field and with your support would like the opportunity to put this to the wider community.”
“Hey up tha no’s, I am Shaun Maddox, 42, and have lived in Thornhill since I was 12. I am Chairman of award-winning Valley Estate Tenants and Residents’ Association. We are a independent group who work on behalf of Valley Estate.
I have attended council meetings for the last two years to represent VETRA, but found that there was usually just me from Thornhill. So with Thornhill in my heart I have fought for better community cohesion, and spoke out on local issues and attended police meetings to set priorities for Thornhill.
359 voted for me last year and I can assure you, your voices have been heard and very loud you have been!
Representing their community is the primary role of every councillor. It is particularly true for independent councillors as they are most comprehensively the local voice of their community
I will campaign for the villages of Thornhill, Whitley, Briestfield and Thornhill Lees to be recognised as the gateway to Dewsbury and given the same investment as Ravensthorpe, Scout Hill and Savile Town.
I cannot change what the government in power give to Kirklees — no local councillor can. I can only make sure we get our share.”
Salim Patel (defending)
“The local elections will soon be upon us. You will have the opportunity to vote for the candidate who will be your local councillor for the next four years. Despite all the challenges that face us as a country, this election is about who will be the best person to represent our area at Kirklees Council for the next four years. Over the last four years I have worked hard as your local Ccuncillor with the local people to deliver lasting improvements to the local area, and to improve the everyday quality of life for the residents of Dewsbury South ward. I have enjoyed immensely meeting so many of you in that time and assisting local residents, young and old, across the ward. I have listened, and will continue to listen, to your concerns and represent the best interests of Dewsbury South.
I am committed to working to improve Dewsbury South and together with your strong and appreciated support, let’s make this area a safer, prosperous and an icon for others to follow our example. I hope I am worthy of your support and I look forward to meeting many of you around the area in the coming weeks.”
Naz Hussain (defending)
“I want to be re-elected to represent local people because there is still much that needs to be done.
It is shocking that investment in Dewsbury crematorium has been cut. At the same time the council has agreed to the spending of £30m on a sports centre in Huddersfield. Dewsbury has not been treated fairly. The D Shop has achieved very little but costs money that could be spent on making real improvements in our town like getting the roads repaired.
I am campaigning to protect services and to get a fair share for Dewsbury. I will continue to work with the local police team to tackle anti-social behaviour and to keep our streets safe.
Crow Nest Park and the museum are very important to Dewsbury. I will do all I can to make sure we get more improvements for the benefit of all. As a keen cricketer, I will try and help anyone who wants to improve local sport facilities.
I will work hard to get a new 6th Form College for Dewsbury.
I live with my family in Dewsbury. I work in Dewsbury. I am totally committed to making Dewsbury an even better place for young and old from all our communities.”
“My name is Darren O’Donovan. I am the Labour Party candidate for Dewsbury West. I was born at Staincliffe maternity hospital, I went to Thornhill Lees nursery, St Paulinus infants and junior school and then St John Fisher high school and 6th form. I am Dewsbury through and through.
I live in Dewsbury Moor and am involved in a number of community groups in Dewsbury West such as Westtown Neighbourhood Forum, Dewsbury Moor action group, Ravensthorpe residents group, Schoolcroft tenants and residents’ association, Dewsbury Celtic RLFC and the Dewsbury town regeneration team. I have worked voluntarily in my own spare time with these groups for many years.
For a number of years I have seen the area change. I have heard people’s frustrations about local issues. I have heard people’s frustrations at the lack of effective public representation. 2011 is the year that we must say ‘no more’. 2011 is the year we must begin to really address local issues and drive Dewsbury forward. 2011 is the year for positive change and a new optimism in Dewsbury. 2011 is the year we need a new kind of public representative.
I promise to fight for a fair deal for Dewsbury Moor, Scout Hill, Ravensthrope, Westtown, Thornhill Road and Ravensthorpe.”
Andrew Charles Stimson
“I am 63-years-old. I served an engineering apprenticeship. I taught for 24 years, mainly in special education. I also worked in a junior and a comprehensive school. I have been employed as a care assistant, pharmaceutical dispenser and more recently as a furniture maker.
I have been concerned about environmental issues for many years and was a founder member of the Southend-on-Sea Green Party in the early 80s. I am keen to see Kirklees Council ensure that local people enjoy as decent an environment as possible. 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 benefited the environment.
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.”
“I was born and raised in Dewsbury. My affinity with the town I grew up in is unquestionable and I believe, together, we can make Dewsbury a town to be envied. I still see many areas of Dewsbury as a vibrant small town and am determined to keep these going as well as rejuvenate aspects that are at risk of being lost.
I am a veterinary surgeon and chose to work for an animal charity helping people on low incomes get the support and treatment for their pets that they would otherwise find difficult to finance. I have also volunteered at a shelter which is a support for the homeless, disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Leeds and its surrounding areas.
I believe in supporting the community I am part of, we all deserve opportunities in life and having supported a number of charities I now feel the time is right to increase my involvement by standing as your councillor. Like many residents I am tired of not being able to have my voice heard because local councillors are inaccessible to the public and very hard to get hold of. That is why if I am elected, I aim to make myself available to residents at regular times.”