Barnsley’s independent candidates have their say on why you should vote for them in May’s election

Barnsley residents are set to take to the polls on May 5, to select their ward councillor.

Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 11:05 am

For the 63 seats on Barnsley Council, the number of candidates standing for election in May are: 21 Labour, 21 Liberal Democrats, 21 Conservatives, five Greens, five Barnsley Independent Group, four Independent, two Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, five Social Democrats, five Freedom Alliance, two English Democrats and one candidate each from the Northern Independence Party and Yorkshire Party.

For a majority, 32 seats are needed, and Labour currently holds 49 seats, Lib Dems hold seven, Conservatives hold three and Independents hold three.

In Barnsley, there are 21 electoral wards, each represented by three councillors.

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Barnsley Town Hall

These are the independent candidates hoping to secure a seat this year.

Rachel Stewart

Rachel Stewart is standing independently in Monk Bretton.

Also standing in Monk Bretton are Kenneth Richardson (Labour), Sue Rose (Liberal Democrats), and Alexander Wilkinson (Conservative)

Rachel said: “Labour have held power in Barnsley all my life, yet they continue to point blame at Tory funding cuts, and not their own poor decision-making.

“Millions was borrowed and overspent on the town centre, whilst villages saw services, funding and facilities reduced, whilst demand increased.

“Council tax and rents were then increased, impacting many already struggling, because of the cost of living crisis and greed of the “few”.

“Following adoption of Barnsley’s local plan, and learning of the forthcoming destruction for our area; the lack of affordable homes compared to local need, and poor public consultation infuriated me.

“It left no choice but to campaign with others to save our green spaces.

“Brownfield is not prioritised for development in Barnsley. Greenspaces are vital for mental and physical health, and the health of our planet.

“Barnsley has very high rates of ill health, inactivity and lower life expectancy than most other areas.

“We deserve and desperately need change.

“I will fight for residents, without being silenced by a Party Whip, and ensure residents are listened to.

“I pledge to always stand up for us and our greenspaces, and work hard to improve the quality of life for all.

David Wood

David Wood is standing independently in Penistone West.

Also standing in Penstione West are James Bangert (Labour), Roy Garratt (Conservative) , Hannah Kitching (Liberal Democrat), and Richard Trotman (Green Party).

David said: “Every homeowner in Penistone West pays a premium to live here.

“It’s my intention to protect your investment by making sure we get the services and the money we are due from BMBC and more besides.

“I currently sit on Penistone Town Council, a position I have held for the past three years.

“As a resident of Penistone for the past 30 years, it’s become abundantly clear to me that the workings of our current Labour-controlled council in Barnsley must be challenged, to call into question their actions, demand more openness and challenge their spending.

“I believe in total transparency and thrift fullness when it comes to spending public money.

“I have and will continue to collaborate with others across our community who have volunteered to help make positive changes

“I shall continue helping to bring more “New Business” to our high street, and making our streets safer by working closely with SYP and our neighbourhood wardens.

“We need to tackle parking issues throughout the town and surrounding villages.

“By voting for me, you know you will get total transparency, you will be kept updated, and most of all you will be heard, and action taken.

Neil Fisher

Neil Fisher is standing independently in the Royston Ward.Also standing in Royston are Jonathan Hood (Liberal Democrats), Macaulay Larkin (Conservative), and Dave Webster (Labour).

“I believe democracy left Barnsley a long time ago,” said Neil.

“Local people weren’t asking for shopping centres, they were asking for simpler, cheaper things to make the village a better place, such as a community garden and something for the teens.

“Stop building on green belt, we just don’t have the infrastructure to support more housing and the green belt is more valuable in supporting wildlife and people’s mental welfare

“Speed bumps, roads repaired, zebra crossings, people have asked for this for years.

“Better Bus services to Barnsley, put family people and teens on the ward alliance so they have some input of the local decision making

“Sports areas better maintained, street bins emptied more often.

“Its the little things that make an impact on peoples lives not grandiose thinking.

“People just want a better, safer place to live.

“As the underdog in the local election I decided to ask people what they wanted in the hope that the winning candidate would listen to local people.”