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Preston local elections 2024 digest: Labour release campaign video, Trade union candidates and Ashton Park battle

Posted on - 14th April, 2024 - 9:00am | Author - | Posted in - Ashton-on-Ribble, Deepdale, Larches, Lea, Opinion, Plungington, Politics, Preston News
Preston Labour leader Matthew Brown opens their campaign video speaking from Winckley Square

All the candidates standing for election to Preston City Council were confirmed this week, but that’s not the only local elections news out there.

Here’s a digest of some stories and snippets relating to the local elections in Preston – we’ll aim to round them up each Sunday morning.

If you spot something for inclusion then drop it over to ed@blogpreston.co.uk and we’ll take a look as the election campaign unfolds.

Preston Labour release their 2024 elections campaign video

The video features Soundskills organiser Chris Davies, Cotton Court founder and owner Rob Binns and Sean Fensom from the Preston Digital Co-operative.

It broadly explores the themes of the Preston Model – also known as Community Wealth Building – which aims to encourage organisations in the city to invest within it and the use of local organisations and businesses for work and projects. The cabinet member responsible for Community Wealth Building, councillor Valerie Wise, doesn’t feature in the video – although she’s not up for re-election in this round of council elections.

A number of Preston Labour figures, including deputy leader councillor Martyn Rawlinson and current acting Lancashire Labour leader Jennifer Mein, appear throughout the video which was released on Thursday on social media. We’re yet to see a campaign video (we’ve checked TikTok regularly for any trace) from the other major Preston parties, though we expect to see the Lib Dems one filmed from inside a pothole on Black Bull Lane with Going Underground by The Jam as the backing track.

Read more: Preston Model probably better known outside of the area it aims to benefit

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition are putting up two candidates in this year’s elections.

Joel Patton, a final-year student at UCLan, is standing in the Plungington ward and attempting to unseat a senior Preston Labour figure and cabinet member councillor Nweeda Khan.

They say the recent by-election result in Rochdale showed confirmation voters are looking for ‘an alternative to the three main establishment parties’.

The TUSC (not tusk) out and about in their campaign

Restaurant worker Hasan Tunay is standing in Deepdale – to make it another four-candidate ward in the elections.

He said: “Our communities face a cost of living crisis with rents and bills to pay. But the food and energy companies are raking in their profits and there’s always plenty of money for war. TUSC is providing a voice for working-class people. I will be a councillor who will stand up for the billions, not the billionaires.”

Hopefully Hasan realises the population of each ward in Preston is about 10,000 or so people or he’s going to have an enormous number of spare campaign leaflets and a hefty printing bill.

Read more: Former Preston councillor to stand as pro-Palestinian candidate in general election

Ashton Park sports hub likely to dominate western seats doorstep agenda

In the west of the city a big talking point on the doorstep across those wards will be the plans for Ashton Park sports hub. There’s big campaign groups both for and against the development – funded through the Levelling Up fund – on the park.

The debate has triggered Ann Cowell to stand as an independent candidate in the Lea and Larches ward – interestingly not in the Ashton ward where Labour candidate James Hull will likely breath a sigh of relief and potentially makes the Lib Dems – who have been making lots of noise about the Sports Hub – have more of a chance.

Ann Cowell, Independent candidate for Lea and Larches ward at Preston City Council elections 2024
Ann Cowell, Independent candidate for Lea and Larches ward at Preston City Council elections 2024

She’s taking on the experienced Jennifer Mein, a former city and county council leader, who is standing for re-election in the ward. Jenny has her hands full at the moment, she’s also the acting Labour Lancashire leader after Azhar Ali was suspended.

Ann said: “I just feel like we’ve been ignored. Lea and Larches people haven’t been represented [on this issue] whatsoever. I could have stood in Ashton [the ward in which the park sits and where Ann lives], but at least we’ve got Cllr Liz Atkins – and she’s been supporting us all this time.”

Cllr Atkins is a Labour councillor for those who aren’t aware, the same political colour as the current Town Hall ruling party moving forward with the Sports Hub.

Mark Jewell is also standing in the Lea and Larches ward for the Lib Dems and Tracey Slater is standing for the Conservative Party, so it’s a four-way fight.

Read more: Covenant may prove curveball in battle to halt Ashton Park sports hub

Local elections information

A reminder, you can see every candidate standing in each ward in our full local elections candidate breakdown. There’s an important deadline this week too, April 16 is the voter registration deadline. The local elections themselves take place on Thursday 2 May.

Also well worth a follow of Local Democracy Reporter Paul Faulkner who does a great job keeping abreast of all political goings on in the city, his stories appear across the Lancashire Post, Lancs Live, Blog Preston and BBC Lancashire as part of the BBC Local Democracy Reporting Service scheme.

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Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines

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