Parties battle for seats in council by-elections

April 30, 2013
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SEVERAL by-elections are set to take place across Surrey’s boroughs and districts, but the result of one was decided weeks before voters go to the polls on Thursday (May 2).

Conservative candidate Paul Spooner – who is already an Ash parish councillor – was uncontested for the Ash South and Tongham ward on Guildford Borough Council.

Cllr Spooner said he was surprised to find out no other parties were standing when he checked the voting details.

A by-election was called when the previous Tory councillor, Doug Richards, resigned – and Cllr Spooner admitted voters were disappointed that he was the only candidate.

“I feel people should have a choice so therefore the disappointment is more for the local community,” he said.

“They don’t get an opportunity to make a choice.

“Obviously Tongham is new to me from a representational standpoint, so I have been spending some time getting to know the good folk of Tongham.”

The Liberal Democrats gave no comment when asked why they did not have a candidate for the ward.

Angela Gunning, a Guildford borough councillor for Labour, said: “We made a strategic decision not to contest it.”

And Garreth Evans, chairman of UKIP Guildford, said: “Given the time frame, we didn’t have the resources [to field a candidate]. It’s as simple as that.”

Guildford borough by-elections are taking place in Stoughton and Ash Wharf following the resignations of Wendy May (Lib Dem) and John Randall (Con) respectively. The Tories, Lib Dems and Labour all have candidates standing for both wards.

Runnymede Borough Council is holding its fourth by-election in 12 months as candidates look to replace previous Chertsey South and Row Town ward councillor Stewart McKay.

Conservative contender Mark Nuti said: “In the area, the main issue locally is open spaces. Although I have a political leaning, as a councillor it’s more about local issues rather than policies on immigration.”

Gillian Ellis, standing as an independent candidate, said: “I think it would be better for local councillors to be free of politics and party rules, and to just sit round and come up with the best solution for the area they work in.”

Addlestone resident, Arran Neathey, 25, representing Labour, said: “We’re standing on the dramatic failure that is the government and its economic policy, and the failure it creates and [the] restrictions it puts on spending that affects local policy, for spending on things like potholes.”

UKIP candidate Paul Stevens, from Ottershaw, said: “I will focus on environmental issues, in particular the issue of housing developments on open spaces and the proposed development at Marley Close.”

In Reigate Banstead, a by-election is taking place for a vacant seat in South Park Woodhatch ward following the death of long-standing Conservative borough and county councillor, Frances King, on New Year’s Eve last year.

The Tories, Lib Dems, Labour, UKIP and the Green Party all have candidates aiming to join the two incumbent Conservative members on the ward, Stephen Bramhall and Carol Poulter.

Other by-elections are taking place for Elmbridge Borough Council (Claygate ward – Lib Dem, Tory and UKIP candidates), Waverley Borough Council (Farnham, Wrecclesham Rowledge – Tory, Labour, UKIP and independent candidates), Spelthorne Borough Council (Sunbury East – Tory, Lib Dem and UKIP candidates) and Tandridge District Council (Burstow, Horne Outwood – Tory, Lib Dem and UKIP candidates).

Article source: http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/s/2133330_parties_battle_for_seats_in_council_byelections


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