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Lea and Larches by-election result could hang on mood regarding Ashton Park development

Posted on - 3rd July, 2024 - 8:00am | Author - | Posted in - Larches, Lea, Politics, Preston News
Candidates in the Preston City Council Lea and Larches by-election
Candidates in the Preston City Council Lea and Larches by-election

Four candidates campaigning for Preston City Council Lea and Larches by-election are two former councillors who represented different wards in the past.

One campaigner is an independent candidate who failed to win in Lea and Larches in May 2024. The poll will take place the same day as the general election 4 July 2024.

The poll brought about by the sudden resignation of long-standing Labour Councillor, former Member of Parliament for South Ribble, David Borrow. 

Read more: Brexit, the housing ladder, NHS and roads – inside our South Ribble MP hustings

Labours dominance in the three-seat ward began to crumble when the veteran Jennifer Mein defeated by just 13 votes by the Liberal Democrat candidate Mark Jewell.  

Mark Routledge was an established city councillor who held the Ashton ward for two terms. He is standing as the Labour candidate for Lea and Larches.

Mark said: “I’ll be here to listen to people, and if I’m elected that’s one thing I will do.

“I will take their voice, the voice of the residents from Lea, Larches and Savick, their voice into the council chamber.

“Voicing the number of issues and priorities residents want to raise such as potholes, speeding traffic, overhanging trees on footpaths, parking, community safety, and of course the Ashton Park development.”

Mark Routledge, Labour candidate Lea and Larches

Daniel Duckworth the Conservative candidate who previously was a councillor in the Sharoe Green ward for four years. 

He is a school governor for Sherwood Primary school, he’s autistic and disabled and a trustee of Disability Equality (North-West).

Daniel told Blog Preston: “I will voice residents’ issues especially the Ashton Park development, taking both sets of views into account, and proper consultation ensuring residents are heard.”

Daniel Duckworth, Conservative candidate, Lea And Larches

He’s also prepared to challenge the council on anti-social behaviour, speeding, potholes, parking and is passionate about disability rights and people with disability heard.

Sean Little the Liberal Democrat candidate who lives in the ward explains why he is standing and the issues he will champion.

Ashton Park Sports Centre development is a main concern for residents, said Sean.

He told Blog Preston: “The plans have allowed for 120 parking spaces on the park, we believe there will be a congestion around when football is being played and actually the parking space won’t be large enough.”

Sean believes there will be an overspill off street parking creating congestion within the ward.

He is also concerned about the state of the children’s play area on the west side of the park and no funds have been set aside for improvement.

“It’s grassy, not level under the foot, the facilities are rusty, not fit for purpose, if plans for these areas to be developed it would be welcomed.”

On the controversy raised about the artificial grass pitches, Sean said: “We’re against the plastic pitches, they’re not eco-friendly, for a start, a definite no, no. 

Sean Little, Liberal Democrat candidate, Lea and Larches

“I don’t feel a need for that facility on Ashton Park at all.”

Ann Cowell is the independent candidate who previously came third in the May election with just over 300 votes.

Ms Cowell worked for Preston City Council with the finance department as a team leader for external funding before taking early retirement.

Ms Cowell’s passion is opposing the Ashton Park sports hub and is standing again she told Blog Preston:  “It’s the wrong area, not on a beautiful open space park, surrounded by residents.

Ann Cowell, independent candidate for Lea and Larches.

“The people of the area should have a say what happens at council. It’s not for the councillors to decide, they’re serving the residents, taking the residents concerns, hopes and aspirations, back to the council.

“Labour supposed to be for the working person. What are they doing around here for the local people? Nothing.” said Ms Cowell.

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