At the polls 2011: Parish, borough and AV vote too

CALDER Valley voters go to the polls next Thursday to choose town, parish and borough councillors - and take part in the Alternative Voting referendum.

All eighteen seats are up for grabs in both the Todmorden Town Council and Hebden Royd Town Council, with contests in most wards.

In terms of Calderdale Council seats, the Liberal Democrats are defending two seats, although Coun David O’Neill has resigned his Calder ward seat and will contest Todmorden ward as an independent, that seat being held by erstwhile party colleague Coun Olwen Jennings.

In a six-way contest, Labour’s Jayne Booth, Conservative Julie Stansfield, Kate Sweeney of the Green Party and David Jones (BPP) complete a busy ballot.

The Liberal Democrats have performed strongly in the ward for some years but as well as challenges from the other parties it will be interesting to see what effect Coun O’Neill’s candidacy may have on the party’s vote.

Hywel Morgan will defend the Calder ward seat for the Liberal Democrats. Last year Coun Nader Fekri retained his seat for the party with a whopping 1,200 majority, with both Labour and the Conservatives polling around 1,500 votes and a strong showing of more than 700 votes by the Green party candidate Alan McDonald, who is fighting the seat again this year.

Against a backdrop of a national Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition but a Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition in charge at Calderdale, and with an Independent candidate, Stephen Curry, thrown into the mix this time, it will be one to watch.

Labour’s Dave Young and Conservative Gail Patricia Lund complete a hotly-contested ballot.

It is often the case that representatives of governing parties can suffer an electoral backlash at local level, but Richard Marshall, defending his seat for the Conservatives in Luddenden Foot ward, will fight on a lengthy record of service over the years.

It is a straight three-way fight in a ward where the other two seats are Liberal Democrat-held. Candidates bidding to beat the Marshall factor are Liberal Democrat John Boje Frederiksen and Labour/Co-op’s Simon Robert Young.

With the AV referendum also taking place, an interesting election night is in prospect.