Hertfordshire County Council election: The four candidates for the Bishop's Stortford East division
Four candidates are standing for the Bishop's Stortford East division on Hertfordshire County Council in the local election on Thursday (May 6).
As in Bishop's Stortford Rural, the Conservative incumbent is seeking re-election. In 2017, John Wyllie won with 1,517 votes (42.1%), just 80 ahead of Liberal Democrat Mione Goldspink, who polled 1,437 (39.9%). Labour's Val Cooke was third with 458 (12.7%) and Madela Baddock of the Green Party received 179 votes (5%).
The same four parties will be vying for votes this time, but only Tory Mr Wyllie is standing again from four years ago. The Greens' Madela Baddock is seeking election in Bishop's Stortford West while Labour and the Lib Dems are both fielding new candidates.
Bishop's Stortford East is one of all 78 seats on Herts County Council up for grabs on Thursday. The Conservatives have 50 seats, the Liberal Democrats 18 and Labour 10. In 2017 the Tories got 46% of the vote, the Lib Dems 25%, Labour 21%, the Green Party and UKIP 4% each and others less than 1%.
GRAEME HILL Green Party
Green Party candidate Graeme Hill was born in Glasgow and moved to England in 1995. He has lived in East Herts since 2004.
A keen cyclist, he is married with a teenage daughter and works for a science research company. He is a member of his workplace’s biodiversity committee, which looks at improving sustainability.
He said: “I would support policies to extend 20mph where people live. I would like to see separate infrastructure for cyclists and the new e-scooters.
“I would support the reduction of speed limits in rural areas to make cyclists feel safer to travel between towns. Currently, there are too many rural roads where cars are travelling at the national speed limit.
“Additionally, I would support an increase in public transport services – we need integrated public transport with new housing.
“I would support the development of an education programme for residents to encourage them to increase biodiversity in their own gardens.”
CALVIN HORNER Liberal Democrat
Lib Dem Calvin Horner is a 58-year-old semi-retired voluntary sector worker.
He is married with two children and is a waterways chaplain, providing welfare and pastoral support to the communities on the River Stort, and a money advisor.
His hobbies include rose hybridising, gardening and local history.
He is a former Bishop’s Stortford town and Southampton city councillor. He is also standing in the town council by-election in All Saints ward.
He said: “Bishop’s Stortford’s recent rapid growth means tackling congestion and improving air quality is essential. I will work to improve conditions for walking and cycling, the introduction of 20mph zones and improved bus services.
“My priority will be to ensure Bishop’s Stortford residents’ views are heard, to improve the town’s infrastructure and provide support for local residents and businesses, such as new facilities to provide further education opportunities.
“The pandemic has highlighted the necessity of integrating health and social care provision. I will work for a better deal for carers and to protect services for the most vulnerable and disabled.”
OYA ER WILKES Labour
Labour’s Oya Er Wilkes lives in Dunmow Road, Bishop’s Stortford, with her 11-year-old daughter, who will be joining Hockerill Anglo-European College in September, and their two-year-old cat.
The 42-year-old missing children co-ordinator for a local authority in north London is currently building a garden shed from eco-bricks and improving her DIY skills.
She is also a keen skier and book club member who volunteers for a rape victim support charity.
She said: “My priority is improving the quality of life for children, young people and their families.
“This is only possible if there is financial stability, and I would like innovative and ecological proposals to be supported to achieve a thriving local economy.
“From a very young age, I have been a keen advocate for the unrepresented, unprivileged and disadvantaged individuals and groups.
“Now, I want to use my experience and skills so I can be the voice of my fellow Stortfordians.
“You will be able to stop me in the street, knock on my door, email me or call me with your concerns and be sure that it will be heard when decisions are made.”
JOHN WYLLIE Conservative
The current county councillor for Bishop’s Stortford East, John Wyllie is also leader of Bishop’s Stortford Town Council and an East Herts Council member.
The 53-year-old Conservative is a company director and serves as a trustee of Rhodes Birthplace Trust and Bishop’s Stortford Community Centres Trust.
He said: “Having lived in the town for 35 years I am fully aware of the issues that face us.
“With a growing town, we need to make sure future development is sustainable and has the least disruption and provides as many benefits to residents as possible.
“If re-elected I will continue to push for better leisure and recreational facilities as well as continue to work with residents over local issues that affect them.
“We need to continue to invest in improved infrastructure, including green charging points such as those in the Causeway car park.”