People living in St James in Northampton will go to the polls tomorrow to elect a new borough councillor.
The seat was previously held by Councillor Terry Wire, who died after a long battle against cancer in May. He was the leader of the Labour group on Northampton Borough Councillor and had been a councillor for 19 years.
Four parties are all fielding candidates in Thursday’s election.
Rufia Ashraf, of Warren Road Northampton, is standing for Labour, Jill Hope, of Rectory Lane, Northampton, is representing the Liberal Democrats, John Howsam, of Wellington Street, Northampton, is the UKIP candidate, and Andrew Kilbride, of Lime Avenue, Northampton, is standing for the Conservatives.
Ms Ashraf, for Labour, said: “We badly need long-term solutions to the problem of traffic congestion, pollution and parking in residential areas. The streets haven’t been cleaned in a long time and there is still leaf fall from last autumn in the gutters. We have derelict sites like the Old Bread Mill and The Crown pub that need to be brought back into use for the community.
“This contrasts with the efforts made by the local community, particularly St James Residents’ Association, to bring people together, to run events and to look out for each other. What our community needs is more support from those at the Guildhall.”
Mrs Hope, for Liberal Democrats, said: “I’ve been listening to the people living in St James and they are fed up. Fed up with fly tippers bringing their rubbish into the area, fed up with traffic gridlock on match days and parking problems all the time. Fed up with Enterprise emptying the recycling boxes and leaving the whole area scattered with rubbish afterwards. The place looks uncared for.
“I’m an experienced councillor, and I can’t wait to get to grips with these issues. I’ve already campaigned successfully to deal with several derelict buildings that had been left to rot for years, but have now been sorted out. St James needs a really strong voice to raise these issues with both councils and to get something done. Other people talk the talk, but they are never out there except at election time, I walk the walk and have already helped many people in St James. Everyone in the area hears from me regularly, not just at election time, with FOCUS newletters telling them what I have done and how to get hold of me. Action not words, that’s what I commit to.”
Mr Howsam, for UKIP, said: “In my view, the public toilets are a disgrace - you wouldn’t use them unless you had to. It would be good to see them demolished and a new up to date facility in their place. Another area where I would like to see improvements is more money spent on street cleaning. Currently, however, I feel that funds are allocated in the town to the benefit of the minority, not the majority (i.e. the residents of St James). Funds should be re-directed to provide much better local facilities rather than projects like opening up Abington Street which was pushed through for political gain.
“If elected, I will work closely with St James Residents’ Association to build on their achievements in the community and give local people a voice. That is why I am standing as UKIP’s candidate – to make life better for people in St James Ward. I believe in honesty, fairness and common sense and that is what I want for the people of St James.”
Mr Kilbride, for the Conservatives, said: “St James is a special part of the town, at the last borough elections in 2011 I stood and missed out by just 33 votes, so I am hoping that the people of St James will give me the chance to represent them and work hard for the area.
“The Conservatives have done a lot for St James, like working with Church’s shoes to secure the old bus depot sight and create 150 new jobs in the area, helping residents affected by abseiling at the Lift Tower, supporting the Saints and Cobblers to expand their stadiums and working to improve match day parking by opening up the Claret Car Park. I hope the residents of St James allow me the opportunity to be their next councillor and work with the Conservatives at the Guildhall to get the best for St James.”