South Lakes political parties plot final push and reveal manifestos ahead of local elections next week

Polling day is on May 22

Polling day is on May 22

First published in News
Last updated
The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Politicians are this week plotting their last push for the finish line before voters go to the polls on Thursday, May 22. We take a look at the election campaign.

PARTY officials are working on their final touches to persuade voters to back them against a backdrop of claims and denials about political pamphlets being misleading, making mischief or just plain old ‘dirty tricks’.

The Kendal Green Party reported some of their posters had been deliberately pinned to trees and condemned the practice.

And the 120-member Kendal Park and Oxenholme Residents’ Association say 14 of their 20 protest posters have ‘gone’.

Secretary Liz Teasdale, of Hayclose Crescent, has no theories who removed them or if it was political, but added: ‘It wasn’t the wind’.

The ‘No To Development’ posters mentioned the ‘local elections’ but did not encourage allegiance to any party.

Mrs Teasdale said they were a rally for residents to vote if they were against 200 new homes on land off Kendal Parks and the Hayclose Crescent areas, as well on fields behind Valley Drive.

Seventeen seats are up for election to South Lakeland District Council and voters will go to 18 polling stations from Kendal to Casterton, from Barbon to Dent and from Mansergh across to Garsdale.

All 28 seats on Kendal Town Council are up-for-grabs, while across in Sedbergh, 12 people are standing for the 11 seats on its parish council, and five for the seven seats on Natland Parish Council.

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The Wesmorland and Lonsdale Liberal Democrats’ say membership is up by about 15 per cent in the last year and are planning some high street ‘target work’ tomorrow as well as the standard telephone push to get voters into polling booths on May 22.

Local Conservatives are buoyant after finally opening a new HQ in Kendal town centre – taking over the Union Tavern - and have a specific voter-targeted project in mind for next week but are remaining tight-lipped until then.

South Lakes Labour say it has ‘knocked on thousands of doors so far’ and ‘will continue to do so up to polling day and beyond’.

Newcomer Kendal Green Party say it has delivered 20,000 leaflets and launched a new website this week with a three-page manifesto.

UKIP – standing in four of the 17 seats – are understood to have done a single round of leaflet dropping in some areas but have so far maintained a low media profile – perhaps hoping to win votes on the back of high public awareness of leader Nigel Farage.

All of the parties are waiting for the weather forecast for next Thursday as a spell of sun may just get more people into polling stations.

Also on May 22, 83 candidates are standing for 11 different political parties in the European Parliamentary Elections.

The full list of parties is: An Independent From Europe Party, the British National Party, Conservative, English Democrats, Green Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, No2EU, Pirate Party UK, Socialist Equality Party and the UK Independence Party.

DAVID WILLIAMS, Conservative councillor, SLDC

Conservatives know that Kendal deserves better and that change is needed. To improve the town centre - we want sensible car parking charges, better facilities, more investment and an end to waste. We give priority to maintaining and improving Kendal’s roads and streets, we oppose charging for on-street parking. We will back housing proposals that have residents’ support. Conservatives will work with everyone to save services at Westmorland General Hospital.

PETER THORNTON, Leader, Liberal Democrats, SLDC

1,000 new jobs, 1,000 new affordable homes for rent, doorstep recycling of plastic and cardboard to every home, investing in town centres by encouraging exciting world class events and a fifth year of Council Tax freeze. Every single one of these targets is on the way to being achieved. I’m asking you to vote Liberal Democrat on our past record and to secure our future and that of our children.

PAUL BRAITHWAITE, Leader, Westmorland and Lonsdale Labour Party

Labour understands the cost of living crisis facing working families. These elections are a chance for people to send a message to the Tory-led government. Labour councillors have a track record for working hard in the area and would provide an alternative voice on the Lib Dem dominated council. Labour councillors would work for a sustainable future for South Lakes, on health services, jobs, affordable housing, transport and the environment.

UKIP, Local elections manifesto

UKIP stands for putting power back where it belongs – with local communities. Elected councillors should put taxpayers first, rather than party politics. Councils should exist to serve their communities and not just spend their money. Important local issues should be put to binding referendums. That is what UKIP stands for. Local communities are under attack. The Government is taking money away from councils, but increasing the pressures on local services.

GWEN HARRISON, Green Party Co-ordinator

Our vision is for a region that puts the happiness and health of people first; a region that is resilient and socially just. We’ll push for the adoption of the Living Wage; reducing Food Bank reliance and fuel poverty; better, greener jobs; affordable, energy-efficient homes; and a resilient local economy. We’ll protect the environment, nurture independent, local businesses and support low-carbon transport systems. Vote Green, for the Common Good.

ROB BODEN, Independent

I feel the best way to serve the interests of constituents is as an Independent councillor. I am able to vote the way I feel helps most people, and raise questions and challenge – especially the seven executive councillors who make most council decisions. This is how I found out only 12 one-bed flats are being built here. I can propose motions for example getting SLDC to reject the Bedroom Tax.

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