Local election candidates: Harewood

Conservative candidate for Harewood Rachel Procter. (S)
Conservative candidate for Harewood Rachel Procter. (S)

Rachel Procter, Conservative

Rachel Procter is operations director of a facilities management company. She is a mother of two children who attend Harewood Primary School and lives in Bardsey with her husband John Procter, a councillor for Wetherby. If re-elected this will be her third term representing Harewood.

Labour candidate for Harewood Tosin Abbey-Philip. (S)

Labour candidate for Harewood Tosin Abbey-Philip. (S)

She said: “I want to see through the housing allocation process, that is my key area and I want to see that it is done fairly, that we do the strategic sites.

“From there it is also about having the infrastructure in place, so it is the schooling which I know personally about, and the medical facilities - those things are my main reason for standing again.

“95 per cent of my emails are all planning based and it is more the wider aspect which we are now looking at. When you talk to a lot of people that is their next concern, where their children are going to go to school. I know the Wetherby councillors are working on a big school for people locally and they have my support in that.

“We have a team approach with the Wetherby councillors and I think people don’t realise how we all work together.

Lib Dem candidate for Harewood Christine Golton. (S)

Lib Dem candidate for Harewood Christine Golton. (S)

“Something I do believe in is that we get the grass verges and hedges cut and that is because of the cyclists and horses.

“They have got nowhere to go if there are two cars coming and having the hedges cut ensures visibility and I do work with highways on that. We can’t enforce speeds but we can give people room to go.

“For the last four years we have worked hard on the planning issues, it never goes away on a week by week basis, so we are continuously in touch with people. It doesn’t matter if it is somebody trying to have a garage in the green belt in a village or 200 houses, it is just as important to that person. Hopefully that is why people will choose me.

“The project I am involved in now is the Scout hut at Bardsey and that is one of my real big things at the moment. That is a £250,000 project, which is why I am supporting them. It is not a small thing and it would be a big boost if it is much more fit for purpose, it would make sure it is there forever.”

Green Party candidate for Harewood Janet Heath. (S)

Green Party candidate for Harewood Janet Heath. (S)

Tosin Abbey-Philip, Labour

Tosin Abbey-Philip runs her own company working as a compliance consultant and lives in Swarcliffe.

She said: “I have always been interested in politics because I come from a family of politicians. My dad was a politician in Africa and I have always been a community activist.

“I love to hear people’s views, I love helping people. I ran my own non-for-profit for nine years in Leeds and I represented people in employment tribunals and various things and my heart has always been to help people whoever they are.

UKIP candidate for Harewood Ian Greenberg. (S)

UKIP candidate for Harewood Ian Greenberg. (S)

“Harewood is a Conservative ward but it is not about going where it is sage, it is about pulling your weight and supporting the Labour Party in order to fulfil its objectives, that is why I am standing for Harewood.

“I love Harewood, I have friends who live there and I do the Race for Life at Harewood House and it is just five minutes from my house anyway at Barwick and Scholes, so I just decided to go for it because I believe in the values of the party.

“People’s motives matter a lot and mine are not just to be a councillor but to work for the community.

“I have been door knocking for the past few months and I have met very beautiful people. I believe if the Labour Party had paid more attention to that ward we might do better in it.

“Some may think it is unwinnable but I don’t think it is because I have had some positive responses, some mixed but that is natural.

“The collective aim is to help Veronica King to be the parliamentary candidate and even if I don’t win I want to start a precedent for the next person coming in.

“The Labour Party’s values are very important, they serve the great community and they care about more than just making money for the rich. They think about people and listen to them.

“From going around in Harewood I also know about the issues local people are facing, like the buses being very poor which the Conservatives have not done anything about. Younger people are cut off and buses to Leeds are hourly and that is not good.

“People want road breaks and they are averse to development on the green belt, so all those issues I am hearing and I am listening to people.”

Christine Golton, Liberal Democrat

Christine Golton is a retired mother of five children, one of whom is the Liberal Democrat Group Leader on Leeds City Council.

Christine has previously worked looking after adults with learning difficulties.

She said: “I’m not a party animal, I just get frustrated when I see how much money is wasted or not shared out fairly in Leeds.

“I joined the Lib Dems because I like how they challenge decisions made that affect us locally.

“I’m standing because I can make a difference to make sure that all the different communities in our area get a fair share of local services.”

Janet Heath, Green Party

Janet Heath is retired but has worked as a teacher, workplace trainer, and driving instructor. She lives in Boston Spa.

She said: “The Harewood ward is the most rural of all the Leeds City Council wards and I am a country person at heart. I am interested in wildlife conservation and the protection of rural habitats.

“I value the beautiful landscapes we have around Leeds and I want to protect them from speculators and developers. I know we need housing, but the Green Party advocates using empty properties and utilising brownfield land before putting our green belt under tarmac.

“Whatever housing is provided should be affordable and sustainable. When we build or renovate homes they should have a insulation spec akin to that in Germany and Scandinavia.

“Another issue facing a rural ward is transport. I would campaign for cheaper fares for younger and more vulnerable people, which would also reduce car emissions.

“I am not in this to become a career politician, I am an ordinary person who cares about the community and the environment. I want to help protect the vulnerable and maintain the service we all value. I will be fighting to maintain the services, such as police, education, care of the elderly, youth clubs, and libraries.

“We have to make sure they are not eroded by the cuts. When they start to get eroded, you start to get a disintegration of community feeling.

“As for the environment, I am aware that so few politicians have given a thought to its future. I have three grandchildren and that really brings it home to you, and this is my contribution in helping provide a world for them which is as good as the one I have been lucky enough to enjoy.

“I am realistic about the fact that this is a strong Conservative ward, but I am not defeatist and I am looking at the bigger picture. I want all our supporters and sympathisers to vote for what they believe in. We are up against the first past the post system, but we are in this for the long haul.

“Even if I don’t get voted in this time, if we can get 20 per cent of the vote or more, that will show up next time and we will eventually get the critical mass we need.

“When you consider as well that the Green Party has the strongest support from young people, you can see how support will grow that way too.”

Ian Greenberg, UKIP

Ian Greenberg is retired, though he used to work in electronics engineering. He lives near the Grammar School at Leeds in Alwoodley.

He said: “Standing for election is a natural extension of community work. I have been chair of a local residents group for eight years and have always been involved in voluntary work.

“Recently having retired I decided to stand. I have been involved previously, leafleting in particular, but I thought I would give it a go as I have the time.

“I want to make a change for the better and I want to see things improve. Over the years I have been very unhappy with the way Leeds City Council has been run, not just because it has been a one party system, more that it seems to be cosy relationships between all councillors of all parties.

“They seem to have settled into a routine and I don’t think it is fair to the people who live in the Leeds boundary.

“Councillors have started to have a salary and they don’t have to turn up to meetings at all. They don’t actually get a wage, it is called an allowance, from £15,000 to £60,000. And, instead of having full meetings, you have a highly paid executive board and decisions are taken by a small number of people and I don’t see that as democracy.

“If I could be part of a mechanism then perhaps sweep this away and I am pleased to say one of our policies is that we initially reduce the number of councillors from 99 to 66. My preference is a reduction to 33, one per ward, but that is my personal view.

“It is both parties that have done this and I would prefer to have a voice in the Civic Hall actually saying these things, which are perhaps unpalatable to the career politicians.

“I know Harewood reasonably well and it covers geographically the largest area. There are about a dozen villages and hamlets and an awful lot of long drives to walk up, which I have been doing.

“The difficulties they have are of course as diverse as the people who live in the inner city. Anyone who knows the area will know the horrendous traffic jams. Apart from the frustration you have to take in the pollution so improving the road system would bring that down.

“I think we need a new transport policy and that is one of the most important things.”