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Town Council Bye-Election results

Friday, 17 February 2017

Big wins for Labour candidates in Fairfield and West End Wards. Sue Fenton (Fairfield) and Sarah Courtney (West End), the Labour candidates for the Hebden Royd Council By-Election, each landed over 50% of the vote.

The results were as follows:-


West End ward

Sarah Courtney, Labour Party - 249

Jonny Gale, Liberal Democrat Party - 133

Richard Marshall, Conservative Party - 44

Kate Phillips, Green Party - 28

Turn out 44.47%


Fairfield Ward

Sue Fenton, Labour Party - 182

Jenny Shepherd, Green Party - 69

Chris Wadsworth, Liberal Democrat Party - 66

Oliver Williams, Conservative Party -36

Turn out 30.3%


The three candidates who didn't respond to the HebWeb invitation to post messages and photos received the least votes.


Town Council Bye-Election candidates

Updated: Friday, 27 January 2017

On Thursday, 16 February, bye-elections will take place in Fairfield and West End wards of Hebden Royd Town Council. Eight candidates are competing for the 2 seats. The candidates are:

West End Ward

Sarah Courtney, Labour Party

Jonny Gale, Liberal Democrat Party

Richard Marshall, Conservative Party

Kate Phillips, Green Party


Fairfield Ward

Sue Fenton, Labour Party

Jenny Shepherd, Green Party

Chris Wadsworth, Liberal Democrat Party

Oliver Williams, Conservative Party


After the last full election of the Town Council in 2015, there were 10 Labour councillors, 5 Liberal Democrats, 1 Green, 1 Conservative and 1 other. See results as posted on the HebWeb.

As usual, the HebWeb is happy to post messages and photos from candidates. Email the HebWeb

So far we have received the following:


Jenny ShepherdJenny Shepherd, Green Party, Fairfield ward

Jenny has lived in Hebden Bridge for 24 years and raised two children here. She’s a writer and retired lecturer and was the Calder Valley Green Parliamentary candidate in the 2015 General Election.

As the Calderdale Green Party Campaigns Officer, she is active in both Green Party and non-party campaigns to make things better in the Calder Valley - mainly flood alleviation, biodiversity restoration, reducing climate change, and defending and restoring the NHS and other public services.

Jenny said, “As Farfield ward town councillor, I will stand up for people’s interests. Air in the centre of Hebden Bridge is polluted beyond legal limits and this is something that urgently needs tackling.

"Fairfield ward suffers from both hillside and river flooding and I will do my best to make sure that natural flood measures are taken to reduce this risk.”

Other issues Jenny pledges to tackle as Fairfield ward town councillor include the need for an environmentally friendly, socially beneficial development on Brown’s Field and support for local businesses and co-ops.

Jenny added, “Since White Lee ward elected Cllr Elizabeth King as their Green Party Town Councillor, I’ve seen the difference a Green voice makes in Hebden Royd Town Council.

Cllr King has often been the only Town Councillor to attend Neighbourhood Plan meetings and Calderdale Green Party has worked with her to make sure that the Plan includes environmentally sound measures to reduce flood risk and climate change. We have submitted a full response to the Neigbourhood Plan consultation to back up Cllr King’s work on this issue in Hebden Royd Town Council.”

Green Councillors work for the common good. Cllr Elizabeth King successfully introduced her Animal Welfare Motion, that Hebden Royd Town Council recently adopted. Greens are pleased that the Town Council is willing to work cross-party and as your Councillor, Jenny would be looking to do this too.

Sue FentonSue Fenton, Labour Party, Fairfield Ward

Sue says, “I have lived in Hebden Bridge for the last 35 years, my children went to the local schools and I feel very much part of the community.

Since retiring from lecturing at Calderdale College I have volunteered for a variety of local organisations and will continue to do so. As a Councillor I would listen to the concerns of the people I would be representing and work in the best interests of the community we all live in.

I'm very proud of the initiatives that the Labour led council have taken to manage our own cinema, to provide allotments for residents as well as increasing the amount of grants available to community groups in times of Government austerity measures.

I'm known locally as someone who is organised and reliable and I'm committed to working hard for everyone in the Fairfield ward and in the wider Hebden Royd district “

Chris WadsworthChris Wadsworth, Liberal Democrat Party, Fairfield Ward

Chris Wadsworth lives within Fairfield ward right in the centre of Hebden Bridge and works as a sustainability manager in Todmorden for a global engineering company.  Chris states “it was an absolute honour to be selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Fairfield vacancy on Hebden Royd Town Council ”.

Chris is fighting to represent a ward that already has two Labour Councillors and doesn’t believe it would be well represented with a third.   

Out on the doorsteps the fear of future flooding is one of the key issues that has been raised with Chris and he passionately believes it is something the Town Council needs to start proactively addressing.

Chris is an environmental scientist and would seek cross party support to make the Town Council both more environmentally aware and acting. Many of the issues in the town such as poor air quality, falling recycling rates, parking, littering and dog fouling demonstrate, in his view, the current Labour dominated Town Councils lack of environmental understanding.

Chris appreciates Hebden Bridge is a unique place to live and work and will always support the elements that make up this character be it the Picture House, independent shops, artistic community, open spaces, voluntary groups etc.  

On a more fundamental level Chris joined the Liberal Democratic cause as the dark forces of nationalism and division started to rear their ugly head around the world.  Chris believes “it is time to stand up and be counted with regards to the kind of world we want to live in and I can’t help feeling we are doing too much looking back and not enough looking forward. Therefore if I am privileged enough to earn your vote on February 16th you can be assured I will always fight for an Open, Tolerant and United society”.

Jonny GaleJonny Gale, Liberal Democrat Party, West End Ward

I have lived in Hebden Bridge since 2011 with my wife Paula. Since moving here we have had two children, who go to nursery at Crossley Mill. I am a (state-school educated) barrister who used to be a professional classical musician. I still make music whenever I get the chance. Paula and I feel very well settled here. Hebden Bridge is a great place to bring up children and I hope to keep it that way.

I joined the Liberal Democrats in October 2016, after the events of 2016 convinced me that I had to make a stand against what I think is a real challenge to the values which I believe I share with a great many people, both on the Remain and the Leave side of the EU Referendum. In particular, anti-immigrant feeling, the rise of Islamophobia, personal attacks on judges, the abuse of the NHS, the planned repeal of the Human Rights Act, the paralysis of the Labour Party and the success of Donald Trump made me realise that it was no good just complaining about things. I had do something to make my voice heard against the rise of the far right internationally and the UK government’s post-referendum lurch towards the populist right, which was not something we voted for.

When I was told that a seat had become vacant on Hebden Royd Town Council, I jumped at the chance to serve Hebden Bridge, and at the same time represent those people who share my values but who feel that they are not currently being represented by Labour or the Conservatives at the moment. In particular, I campaigned for Remain in Hebden Bridge (which voted substantially Remain) and I do not think that those parties are representing the valid views of the 48%.

Hebden Royd Town Council is very much Labour dominated. I think that this is a shame because the Labour Party is in a mess from the top down. Labour representatives tend act en bloc and to toe the party line, and no-one knows what that is at the moment.

As a Labour voter (until 2016) I do not think my beliefs have changed, and I would be quite prepared to work with my Labour colleagues on the Council. But Liberal Democrats are encouraged to be much more independent than are their counterparts in other parties, and if I have the honour to be elected I will use my own independent judgment to act in what I think to be the best interests of our town.

Jonny GaleSarah Courtney, Labour Party, West End Ward

Sarah says, "I hugely enjoy living and taking an active part in Hebden Bridge life. I spent over 5 years as a school governor in Hebden Bridge, am involved in Hebden Bridge Folk Roots and the local live music scene, and have participated in and stewarded for the Handmade Parade and Arts Festival.

I am involved in local and national campaigns to help protect the NHS and I am committed to defending local public and voluntary organisations.

I volunteered after the recent floods and am keen to be an active member of Hebden Royd Town Council helping organisations, businesses and groups to continue to recover and grow.

I am particularly keen to investigate the idea of supporting local micro-energy generation schemes, especially if they help slow down the flow of water into the valley bottom.

Sarah moved to Todmorden nearly 30 years ago whilst doing A Levels in Halifax. She left the area to study botany, later completing a masters looking at industrial water pollution. She returned to the Calder Valley with her young family in 2001 and has lived in Hebden Bridge and surrounding villages for the last 15 years. She has worked for businesses in Hebden Bridge and Todmorden, and currently works with students with autism in a local secondary school.

Sarah finishes, "I am committed to getting the voices of people in Hebden Royd heard so together we can build on the strengths of our brilliant communities and make them the best that they can be."