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2018 local election candidates

Updated: Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Thursday, 3 May is the chance to elect councillors to Calderdale Council.

As with previous elections, candidates are invited to send the HebWeb up to 500 words with a photo - see this 2015 HebWeb page for an example. So far we have added a contributions from Chris Wadsworth, Mike Prior, Sarah Courtney, Jenny Shepherd, Scott Patient, Richard Needham and Catherine Crosland - see below.

Calderdale is divided into 17 wards which each return three councillors. Three years out of four, we have the chance to elect one councillor. Councillors are elected to serve on the Council for a term of 4 years. Hebden Bridge is in the Calder Ward, and Mytholmroyd is in the Luddendenfoot ward.

Here the candidates for the 3 May election

Calder Ward

Sarah Courtney - Labour
Richard Marshall - Conservative
Donal O'Hanlon - Liberal Democrats
Jenny Shepherd - Green Party

Luddendenfoot Ward

Catherine Crosland - Liberal Democrats
Scott Patient - Labour
Michael Prior - Green Party
Jill Smith-Moorhouse - Conservatives

Town Council

On 3 May, those living in the Fairfield Ward in Hebden Bridge will also have the opportunity to elect a member of Hebden Royd Town Council. The candidates are

Richard Needham - Labour
Jenny Shepherd - Green Party
Chris Wadsworth - Liberal Democrats

Register to vote by 17 April


Chris Wadsworth: Lib Dem candidate for Fairfield Ward

Chris WadsworthChris Wadsworth is the candidate that lives within Fairfield ward right in the centre of Hebden Bridge and works as a sustainability manager in Todmorden. Chris states “it is a privilege to be selected once again as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Fairfield vacancy on Hebden Royd Town Council ”.

This is the second time within 15 months Chris is fighting to represent Fairfield following the resignation of a Labour member within a ward that already has two Labour Councillors and he doesn’t believe it would be well represented by a third.

Having been on the doorstep listening to residents Chris will be fighting to ensure the Town Council exerts as much pressure as possible on Calderdale to keep our roads moving as freely as possible and deal with parking problems which blights many areas of Fairfield and contributes to deteriorating air quality for us all.

Chris is an environmental scientist and would seek cross party support to make the Town Council both more environmentally aware and acting. Many of the issues in the town such as blocked drains, falling recycling rates, littering and dog fouling demonstrate, in his view, the current Labour dominated Town Councils lack of environmental understanding.

Chris appreciates Hebden Bridge is a unique place to live and work and will always support the elements that make up this character be it the Picture House, independent shops, artistic community, open spaces, voluntary groups etc.

Sadly Labour gives the impression of only being interested in your vote come election time but Chris pledges to put people before politics and not take your vote for granted. Liberal Democrats believe in strong local representation and Chris would be a moderate voice fighting for an Open, Tolerant and United Hebden Bridge.


Mike Prior: Green candidate for Luddendenfoot Ward

Mike PriorI moved to Hebden Bridge in 1994 and have, ever since, been active in local charities and the peace movement as well as the Green Party.  After the Boxing Day flood, I was one of the organisers of the Books for Children drive which supplied the children of Burnley Road School, marooned in a temporary home without books, with box-loads of reading material.

I believe in action rather than words so I want to focus my election statement on two immediate local issues, about which I believe Calderdale Council and its ruling group need to be held to account, rather than engaging in woolly platitudes.

First, the recent announcement that the Council will accept the closure of the 6th Form at Calder High School (CHS), following hard on the similar closure of the 6th at Todmorden High School done in the hope that students would go instead to CHS. In September, 2014, these two had a combined attendance of over 300. Now, it is forecast that the CHS 6th will soon fall below 100 students requiring its closure. The result will be that local children will be forced to travel long distances, perhaps as far as Huddersfield, lacking any continuity in their education. The future viability of both schools must be thrown into doubt.

It is clear that there is something very badly amiss with management at CHS and has been for several years yet the Council, which are responsible for the two schools, seem content to accept the situation without any inquiry or explanation. As a councillor, I would press for action to be taken to prevent further decline and, potentially, closure of CHS.

Second, the Cabinet of Calderdale Council seem ready to implement a local Accountable Care system for Calderdale which will inevitably result in a decline in the already hard-pressed health services in Calderdale.  It impossible to go into the details of this plan in such a limited space. For this, I would suggest reading the excellent postings of my fellow Green Party member and Calder Ward candidate, Jenny Shepherd, at the Upper Calder Valley Plain Speaker website. Suffice it that it is opposed by Calderdale Trades Council and many health-care professionals. Yet the Calderdale Labour Cabinet appears ready to accept the plan without even a full Council debate.

As a councillor, I would campaign for the implementation of this scheme to be halted until radically amended.

I would, as councillor, actively work with the problems of local residents concerning Council action and do my best to improve the social and environmental standards of the area. This has to be done on a case-by-case basis not in some generalised way as the two examples above show. Action is needed not words. I challenge my fellow candidates to declare how they would approach these two issues.


Sarah Courtney: Labour candidate for Calder Ward

Sarah CourtneyThe main reason I am standing as Labour's candidate in Calder Ward is that I want to make sure our voices continue to be heard on Calderdale Council.

Since first moving here 30 years ago I have seen time and time again the power of our community to stand together. But this is now being undermined by the millions of pounds in cuts supported by local Conservatives.

Despite these draconian cuts our Labour council has:

  • balanced the council's books
  • protected our libraries, parks, school and children's services
  • earmarked £100 000 extra next year to help tackle the obscenity of homelessness
  • created a £10 million fund to invest in small towns like Todmorden and Hebden Bridge

Our Labour-run council also abolished cremation and burial fees for children and has led the campaign to defend our A&E services.

In stark contrast, the Conservatives proposed a small-town fund but specifically excluded Hebden Bridge and Todmorden. They also proposed wasting £200,000 paying management consultants to advise them on how to cut half a million pounds from adult social care. This would have a devastating impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
I think Todmorden and Hebden Bridge libraries are genuine community hubs that change lives, but you may not be aware that the local Lib Dems wanted to cut library opening hours by 30%.

If elected, I am committed to listening to people in our community, especially those who struggle to have a voice, and I would support our Labour council to:

  • continue to oppose unfair and damaging government cuts supported by our local Conservatives
  • create more economic growth locally especially as we continue to recover from the 2015 Boxing Day floods
  • help deliver a new sixth form college in Halifax
  • build more homes which local people can afford

I have lived in several parts of Calder Ward including Todmorden, Old Town and currently in Hebden Bridge town centre with my civil partner, Tamsin, and our son.

I've worked with teenagers with learning needs for the last 12 years, represent West End ward on Hebden Royd Town Council and run popular events encouraging people to participate in the local live music scene. I have also worked for businesses in Hebden Bridge and Todmorden, and have just started a new job with one in Mytholmroyd.

I hope you will support me on Thursday May 3rd so we can continue to protect services in our communities.


Jenny Shepherd: Green candidate for Calder Ward

Jenny Shepherd

I’ve lived in Hebden Bridge for 25 years. Both my children went to school here. As well as working as a university lecturer in Leeds, Bradford and Bolton, I’ve also worked in Hebden Bridge as a WEA tutor in creative writing, a bookseller, cafe worker and freelance writer and filmmaker. I reckon this has given me a usefully rounded sense of life and work here, that would make me an effective representative of people in Calder Ward as your Councillor.

Calderdale Council would work better with a Green presence. No other parties share our key policy of one planet living - which means making sure our society and economy don’t exceed the planet’s ecological limits.

As your Green Councillor, I would work to create a safe climate and environment and a fair shares economy, and to protect and improve publicly owned and provided public services.

If you elect me, I will respond effectively to people’s calls for help and representation regarding Council and other services.

I will also:

  • Work with other Councillors to restore the Committee system that gives each Councillor a meaningful role in decision making.
  • Oppose the Council’s implementation of the government’s new cost-cutting and privatising NHS and social care system - the Calderdale Integrated Care System - and fight to keep the NHS as a comprehensive service that cares for everyone on the basis of their clinical need - not according to financial considerations that will restrict access to treatment.
  • Push for a zero waste policy for Calderdale, starting with an end to single use plastic cups in Council properties and the installation of water refill points throughout Calderdale to cut the use of plastic water bottles.
  • Promote biodiversity on Council-owned land, starting with replacing the Council’s use of glyphosate weed killer with ecofriendly foamstream.
  • Join with other councils around the country to effectively fight central government funding cuts to local government.
  • Make sure that all Council development and regeneration schemes abide by the principles of One Planet Living - which means abandoning economic growth as a goal and making sure that resource use does not contribute to climate change, biodiversity loss or unhealthy environments.
  • Work to reduce air pollution by creating  transport corridors in towns and villages for walking and cycling, and pushing for other measures the public voted for in the Calderdale Green Party Air Pollution survey last year. Starting with improvements to the Hebden Bridge to Todmorden section of the Rochdale Canal towpath, which has been dropped from the CityConnect scheme.
  • Push hard for all housing redevelopment and development schemes to include adequate amounts of social housing and oppose redevelopment schemes to replace social housing with so-called affordable housing.
  • Do everything possible to ban the burn on Walshaw Moor Estate and other environmentally unfriendly land management practices.

Scott Patient: Labour candidate for Luddendenfoot Ward

Jenny Shepherd

The main reason I am standing as Labour's candidate in the Luddendenfoot Ward is that I want to make sure our ward has another active voice on Calderdale Council.

My family and I moved here from Manchester 10 years ago and immediately fell in love with the area. I resolved to become deeply involved with local life and have seen, over and over again what can be achieved when our communities stand together. I know having another strong, environmentally conscious voice on the council can only be a positive thing.

Having, whilst in Manchester set up a community garden for the residents of an unloved estate, I continued with charitable work and volunteering by working with Incredible Edible Todmorden on various environmental and green projects. I have been a Parent Governor at Burnley Road Academy (where my children have all attended) for nearly 3 years, providing much needed help and support following the devastating floods of 2015, securing a Good OFSTED rating less than a year later and championing its now fully formed ‘Forest school activities”, the only school locally offering such provision.

Having been affected by flooding myself I immediately joined the Mytholmroyd Flood Wardens and am proud in playing a part of such an invaluable team.

This time last year I was honoured to be elected onto Hebden Royd Town Council for the White Lee ward in Mytholmroyd, securing over 50% of the vote and becoming the youngest Councillor. It has been a pleasure to support the excellent work the Labour-lead Town Council has been doing for the local community, amongst other things helping those local groups and individuals who really need it. I would push for an end to single use plastic cups in Council properties (as has just been achieved within Hebden Royd Town Council) and for water refill points throughout the Valley. 

I’m also part of a group CASC (Calderdale against school cuts) who are campaigning to raise awareness of the huge cuts facing our schools under this Government.

Opportunities for our local groups to thrive are being threatened by austerity and the millions of pounds in cuts to Calderdale council from this Government. Despite this, the Labour ran council has continued to balance the books whilst also protecting our libraries, parks, schools and children's services, whilst also setting aside a huge sum next year to help tackle the rise of homelessness.

If elected, I am committed to listening to each and every voice in our communities especially those who really need it. I would continue to work closely with the EA and VBA who are providing flood defences for those areas hit worst by the 2015 Boxing Day floods, I will keep up the pressure for clearer communications and proper management of the scheme whilst the works are ongoing and will continue to champion the superb work Slow the Flow and Treesponsibility are doing.

I welcome the works being done by the canal and River trust and the “City Connect” project in resurfacing the towpath between Sowerby Bridge and Hebden Bridge and thank the Labour ran council in pushing for reinstatement of  the proposed works all the way to Todmorden.

We also need build more homes on suitable sites which local people can afford and have an allocation of social and accessible homes. I think we all appreciate all the hard work that has gone into the Local plan to protect our green spaces, without this the Government would allocate the sites and we would see much more development up this side of the valley.

I hope to build on the excellent work Councillor Jane Scullion has been doing and, if elected, will continue to respond quickly and effectively to people’s calls for help and representation.  


Richard Needham: Labour candidate for Fairfield Ward

Richard NeedhamThe 3 things that drive me to stand for Fairfield Ward of Hebden Royd Town Council and that I offer people as the Labour candidate are: commitment to a thriving, lively town, a passion to ensure that our community is inclusive, supporting and celebrating the magnificent diversity of the Town, and finally and perhaps most importantly an ability to listen and help people.

Born and brought up in Yorkshire what matters to me is the attachment and commitment to the community where I have made my home. And since living in Hebden I have become involved in local activities and become fully part of this community. I shop locally am a member of local clubs. I have also become a trustee of the board of Hebden Bridge Community Association that so successfully owns and operates the Town Hall - I am passionate about the difference that all such voluntary groups can make to the town. In the past as a Councillor I have worked with local businesses on a Town Centre forum, listening to and following up their concerns - I would be keen to do the same in Hebden. We know Hebden and Mytholmroyd are unique, but what will keep them special and thriving is all of our commitment and a Labour Town Council and a Labour Calderdale Council that supports backs the efforts of local people.

Much of my adult life has been spent involved in regeneration initiatives such as Neighbourhood Renewal and working in Children's Centres, while currently I manage a children's charity. Making sure that initiatives are community driven has been my bread and butter. Therefore, I am no stranger to hard work and campaigning on community issues. The great challenge of this work is to ensure that all voices are heard. I have worked as a Social Worker and in Children's Centres and am committed to supporting and giving voice to the most vulnerable. It was years ago when I was last a councillor, but my proudest moment was during an election. I stopped and talked to a group of young people, some too young to vote, and as I left them one called out “What are you doing about the homeless?” I turned and told them of the local homeless charity where I was chair of Trustees and made sure they had the telephone contact numbers. 

Finally, ensuring that I am involved in and known to local groups is an important commitment I would make, also I would ensure that I am readily contactable and hold surgeries. The motto that I strive to live by at work and in Hebden is that “I am in the business of helping people”. If elected I would see my role on Hebden Royd Town Council as an opportunity to make a difference ensuring this community is a lively thriving home for everyone that lives here.


Catherine Crosland: Lib-Dem candidate for Luddendenfoot Ward

Richard Needham

I’ve lived in the ward for twenty-three years.

But this shouldn’t be about me!

This election is about you. It is your opportunity to influence how your Council is run, and how the money you pay in Council tax is spent.

What matters most is that you should use this opportunity. This is your vote, and your choice. How you use this opportunity is entirely up to you.

But obviously I hope you will consider voting Liberal Democrat!

During the last few months I have been speaking to many people in this ward about their views on the local area, and the issues that are important to them. I would like to thank everyone who very kindly gave feedback by completing my local residents’ survey.

I have listened to you all.

One of the ways that the Liberal Democrats are different from other parties, is that we are a party that listens. Other parties will tell you what they think is best for you. But Liberal Democrats believe that you have the right to make your own choices, about what is best for you, your family, and your community.

Something that became clear from the recent residents’ survey, was that the majority of you agree with Liberal Democrat policies, even if you do not actually vote Lib Dem.

For example, we asked your views on the recent decision of Labour run Calderdale Council to relocate Cragg Vale Primary School, from its original location in Cragg Vale, to the Calder High School site, to be part of an "all through school'. The vast majority of people who completed the survey, said they disagreed with Calderdale Council’s decision. The Liberal Democrats also strongly opposed this decision. It is just a pity that there was no Liberal Democrat Councillor for this ward, to speak up for the rights of the Cragg Vale parents and children, and for the wider community in Cragg Vale.

The Liberal Democrat group on Calderdale Council pledge to protect all successful small schools from merger or closure.
Many of you have also told me how disappointed you were by the recent news about the closure of Calder High School’s sixth form.

I realise that the Headteacher and governors of Calder High School have made a difficult decision, in difficult circumstances. But it is unacceptable that Labour run Calderdale Council have allowed school sixth forms to close, without making any alternative provision for post sixteen education.

Young people in this area will be forced to travel outside Calderdale for their post sixteen studies, because there is no sixth form college in Calderdale.

The Liberal Democrats on Calderdale Council believe there should be a sixth form college in Calderdale, with two sites, one in Halifax, and one in the Upper Calder Valley.

If you have found yourself nodding in agreement while reading this, could it be that you are a Liberal Democrat without realising it?

Please consider voting for me, to be your Liberal Democrat representative on Calderdale Council.

Previously, on the HebWeb

2016 local elections

HebWeb News: 2015 Calderdale Council Election - Results and candidates' statements for Calder and Luddenfoot wards.

HebWeb News: 2014 Calderdale Council Election - Results

General Election 2017

More coverage of elections of the HebWeb