On the 5th May this year there’s going to be a pretty momentous event in Bingley – we’re going to be given the chance to vote on who represents us on the new Bingley Town Council.
The new town council will cover Bingley, Eldwick, Gilstead, parts of Cottingley, Crossflatts and Micklethwaite. The council will be made up of unpaid councillors, democratically elected by local residents and supported by a professional, paid clerk. The leader of the council would be called a “Chair” or could be called a “Mayor”. Different areas of Bingley have been split into wards, and you will only be able to vote for the candidates standing in your own ward.
Since there is no information centrally telling us anything about the individual candidates, and what their hopes and plans are for our lovely town, I thought it would be useful to provide some information here on the candidates who contacted me.
Ros Dawson – Priestthorpe Ward (Independent)
Ros was brought up and went to school in Bingley and returned to live here in 2008 with her husband and children. Ros was one of the main campaigners for a Town Council – to give people a voice and a way of achieving progress for our communities.
Ros says, “I want the new town council to consult with residents to draw up a plan of action. Matters you may want the council to tackle include:
– Finding good uses, like housing or workplaces, for derelict sites including the Station Master’s House and the former Technical Institute.
– Having a say about development in our area.
– Creating a proper regeneration and environmental strategy, supporting and making more of our canal, river, parks and greenspaces, our pool, market and the huge variety of community and voluntary organisations which contribute so much.
– More sporting and outdoor activities for everyone.
In 2014 I helped to save Bingley’s public toilets from closure. I am also a founding member of both Bingley Walkers are Welcome and The Friends of Bingley Pool.”
Michelle Chapman – Crownest Ward (Believing in a Better Bingley)
Michelle is well known in Bingley for setting up the Bingley Flood Support Group following the Boxing Day 2015 floods and was instrumental in ensuring that people in Bingley were helped and supported in what was a very difficult time for many. Michelle is very involved in volunteering as well as being a mother of 2 and step mother of 3 and having a career in engineering. Michelle takes action and gets results – and was recently invited to Downing Street to receive a Points of Light award as a result of her community efforts.
Sara Hardman – Bingley Central Ward (UKIP)
Sara has lived in Bingley for 10 years and is married with 2 children. She is a qualified accountant with a degree in Law & Economics. Sara currently co-runs a retail business in the town, as well as working part-time at one of the local schools.
If elected, she is committed to:- • consulting voters about their aims and aspirations for the Town, so that together we can build a better community, • establishing a farmer’s market in our Market Square; • working with the community policing team to have more visible policing on our streets • consulting with the Planning Department to ensure the right balance of shops, bars and takeaways in our town, • seeking funding to continue community events such as Bingley Bonfire and Bingley Music Live.
Edwina Simpson – Priestthorpe Ward (Independent)
Edwina moved to Bingley in 2010, attracted by the appealing outdoor environment but also by a town that she felt had great character and potential.
Edwina wants to help the new council to:
- seek residents’ views so that we can work strategically to develop the town and villages that we want to see
- safeguard and get the most from all the excellent assets and amenities in our area, such as the canal, the swimming pool and the various green spaces
- identify sources of funding to ensure an environmentally and economically sustainable future for Bingley
- harness the enthusiasm and generosity of all the community groups and individuals that help to bring life to the town – and give Bingley a voice
“My professional background is in arts management, and over the years I have worked as a volunteer in areas such as adult literacy, care work and nature conservation. Now that I work from home the town means even more to me.”
Tom Storer – Crownest Ward (Independent)
“I understand that classes at Trinity 5-Rise have been either cancelled or vastly reduced, in favour of other locations. I know from my own experience that travelling even slightly further afield with a young child seems to require a full-scale military operation of planning and packing before you’re able to step outside of the front door… then add to that the additional costs of travel.
Unfortunately, funding (or the lack of) will always be at the core of any reduction in community services. Having reviewed the budget afforded to Bingley Town Council, my focus will be safeguarding the remaining community services and supporting the existing mother and baby/toddler groups. My daughter attends the First Steps Parent & Toddler sessions on Tuesday mornings, which have recently been cancelled or relocated following the floods, so I do appreciate the value of these groups.”
Chris O Neil – Eldwick Ward (Independent)
Chris has lived in Eldwick for 5 years. He is an active member of the Eldwick & Gilstead Gala Committee and a Trustee of The Eldwick Church. Chris is standing as an Independent candidate for Eldwick in the Bingley Town Council election. He has no political persuasions one way or another.
“My interest is to get the best possible deal for Eldwick, and Bingley in general. My priorities are reducing vehicle speed in Eldwick, stopping fly tipping and dog fouling and acting on increasing crime. I would encourage the electorate to vote for independent candidates, such as myself, in this most local of local election, rather than steer towards traditional national parties.”
Christopher Dickerson – Priestthorpe Ward (Independent)
If elected, Christopher’s main proposal is to ensure that the Council fund improved play areas for the youngsters of the town. Christopher is a parent and grandparent and he has always had a concern about the lack of play areas for all ages, but especially those of secondary school age. How many times have we seen them hanging around the shopping area, with nothing to do?
Maureen Carney – Bingley Central (Independent)
Maureen stands as independent candidate for Bingley Central/Myrtle Park. She was born and bred here and has worked in many shops and businesses. She is a member of Bingley Community Council and a committee member for Bingley WI, Bingley Walkers are Welcome and Friends of Bingley Pool.
“I believe Bingley deserves better and should have a community council which puts the wants and needs of Bingley residents, businesses and communities first.”
• Continue regeneration, particularly the market and shops. Organise local events that benefit the town and residents.
• Push forward positive ideas for derelict buildings/areas e.g. the Stationmaster’s House.
• Tackle problems with litter/anti-social behaviour in the town and parks.
• Continue fighting to keep vital local resources e.g. pool, library and public toilets.
Martin Chalk – Eldwick Ward (Independent)
Martin is originally from Bingley now living in Eldwick and is bringing up his family in the place he is passionate about. He aims to work hard for Bingley without any political agenda in mind,
Martin’s priorities to address are: crime, anti-social behaviour, litter, dog poo, parking, the future of Bingley baths, cattle auction market and the B&B site, public transport, community projects, public spaces (parks etc), road safety just to name a few. Martin is also in favour of keeping Eldwick Church as it is rather than knocking it down.
“I will be out spreading the word before voting day. My main aim is to make everyone aware that there is a Bingley Town Council coming and everyone can make a difference. If I happen to pick up a few votes (and twitter followers!) on the way I won’t let people down.”