Candidates set for Preston City Council’s Lea and Larches by-election

Posted on - 16th June, 2024 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Larches, Lea, Politics, Preston Council, Preston News
Preston Town Hall in Lancaster Road Pic: Blog Preston
Preston Town Hall in Lancaster Road Pic: Blog Preston

The list of candidates for Preston City Council’s forthcoming Lea and Larches by-election includes two former councillors who used to represent other wards on the authority – and another who failed to win in the same ward at the local elections just last month.

The poll – which will take place on the same day as the general election, 4th July –  was prompted by the resignation of veteran Labour councillor and one-time town hall leader David Borrow.

That came just weeks after the latest local contest saw the party’s dominance in the three-seat ward broken when the Liberal Democrats ousted another Labour stalwart, Jennifer Mein, who was defeated by just 13 votes.

Read more: Preston’s landmark Guild Tower to be converted into more than 100 flats

The Lib Dems – who became the official opposition on the Labour-controlled council that day – will be looking to add another member to their tally with their Lea and Larches candidate this time round, Sean Little.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) he was standing in the ward because he wants to see “a better future for my kids, my family and the community”.

Mr. Little added:  “I’m the only candidate who actually lives in the ward. I enjoy living here because there is a great local community.

“I would love to see better facilities for families and children to enjoy.   With the support of local residents, I can help make Lea and Larches a better place.”

Labour have turned to party veteran Mark Routledge in an attempt to retain the seat – and so hold on to two out of the three in total.

He was first elected to the city council back in 1996 for a four-year term representing the neighbouring Ashton ward, before returning to that seat for a decade-long stint between 2011 and 2021, when he did not contest that year’s election.

Mr. Routledge says he is returning to the fray for the by-election because he wants “what is best for Preston and those residents that live here”.

“I want to make a difference within the local community, to actively listen to concerns that are raised and work closely with residents and the council to resolve them. I want the council to continue to provide support for our families, our children and our grandchildren,” he added.

Ann Cowell was an independent candidate for Lea and Larches who came third, with just over 300 votes, at last month’s local elections. She stood on a ticket which included opposing the controversial development of a 3G football pitch and sports hub building on Ashton Park.

She told the LDRS she was back on the campaign trail because she has “had enough of local party politics”.

“I am a local resident in the Ashton-on-Ribble area and I want to get back our voice [and] our say in the council.  I have no party political master to contend with – I am the people’s voice first and foremost.

“I want to stand for the people who are fed up and not engaged with party politics. Let’s keep it local,” Ms. Cowell said.

Daniel Duckworth, the Conservative candidate for the by-election, was a member of the city council until last year’s local elections when he lost the Sharoe Green ward seat he had held for four years.

He told the LDRS that, if elected again, he would “ensure Lea and Larches residents’ voices are heard – and that the Labour administration is held to account on planning issues and especially the potential Ashton Park development”.

He added:  “I have a strong record in working with local communities and will ensure speeding and parking issues are also tackled. [I’m] a good listener and someone who will always stand up for Lea and Larches and Preston.”

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