Hertfordshire County Council election: The four candidates for the Bishop's Stortford Rural division
Four candidates are standing for the Bishop's Stortford Rural division on Hertfordshire County Council in the local election on Thursday (May 6).
As in Bishop's Stortford East, the Conservative incumbent is seeking re-election. In 2017, Graham McAndrew won with over four times as many votes as his nearest rival, with 2,090 (60.5%).
Liberal Democrat Calvin Horner – who this time is standing in Bishop's Stortford East – came second with 516 votes (14.9%), Labour's Alex Young third with 388 (11.2%), UKIP's William Compton fourth with 301 (8.7%) and the Green Party's David Woollcombe fifth with 151 votes (4.4%).
Bishop's Stortford Rural is one of all 78 seats on Herts County Council up for grabs on Thursday. The Conservatives have 50 seats, the Lib Dems 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%.
MILLY LYNCH Labour
Labour’s Milly Lynch is 22 and lives in Proctors Way, Bishop’s Stortford. She works at a national poverty charity and volunteers at a food bank.
She is a social mobility and environmental campaigner who enjoys reading, yoga and crafting with upcycled fabrics in her spare time.
She said: “Bishop’s Stortford has been my home for 12 years. I studied at Herts and Essex and Hockerill [Anglo-European College] and recently graduated from Oxford University.
“As we rebuild from the pandemic we have to support local businesses and jobs, address the climate crisis and improve our public services.
“I will ensure local people have a real say in these decisions and that your voices are heard.
“Over half of Bishop’s Stortford residents are women, yet we do not have a single woman representing Bishop’s Stortford at the county council.
“As we build a better future, I will champion the interests of our community for everyone.”
GRAHAM McANDREW Conservative
Conservative Graham McAndrew is married with one son and, although retired, he is still actively involved with the Eastern Region Institute of Logistics & Transport.
When he is not carrying out his duties as the current Herts county councillor for the Bishop’s Stortford Rural division and as an East Herts district councillor, he enjoys gardening and walking.
He is also a former town councillor, serving from 2013 to 2017.
He said: “I would be privileged to be returned to County Hall so that I can continue to serve and support the whole community’s views, ideas and issues.
“My focus will be on a clean environment in line with climate change concerns. Taking a lead in environmental issues and the prevention of flooding, safer active travel – including 20mph zones – and progressing my Stansted-Harlow-Lea Valley cycleway.
“I will take an active lead on a pilot scheme for the Hadhams, Albury and Pelhams villages to fully take advantage of our East Herts Healthy Hub, culture strategy and dementia friendliness action plan, all to support social connection and improved wellbeing as we recover from the impact of Covid-19.”
DAVID OXLEY Green Party
Green Party candidate David Oxley has lived in Hertfordshire all his adult life.
He retired in 2015 after 37 years as a secondary school teacher and is now vice-chair of his parish council, a member of the village hall committee and editor of a magazine which covers three villages in the East Herts area.
Married with two children and three grandchildren, he is a keen musician who supports Greenpeace and Make Votes Matter.
David said: "As an active parish councillor, living in a small East Hertfordshire village, I am acutely aware of the need for affordable and social housing in rural communities.
"We need to challenge the power of the developers and ensure that we get the housing our communities need, whilst also promoting responsible stewardship of the land.
"The Green Party plays a vital role in holding the Tories to account, challenging the complacency and incompetence of the single party stronghold.
"At the same time, I believe it is important to promote community engagement and to enhance local democracy through the development of localised citizens' assemblies."
BOB TAYLOR Liberal Democrat
Former mayor of Bishop’s Stortford and Lib Dem Bob Taylor is a 73-year-old former local government litigation and planning lawyer.
May 6 is his sixth attempt to become a county councillor.
He is currently a member of the town council – an office he has held for 14 of the last 22 years – and he is also a former East Herts district member, serving from 2007 to 2011. He is also a public governor of Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust.
He and wife Veronica have two grown-up sons and his hobbies include photography and A/V HiFi.
He said: “I will be prioritising, if elected, the ring-fencing of the money provided for mental health care in the community provided by the Government, albeit not currently ring-fenced by them, which often finds its way into the general pot.
“I would seek to ensure that our roads are fit for the 21st century to avoid congestion, resulting in carbon dioxide emissions, by increasing public transport spending, improving the provision of cycle lanes and proper maintenance of the current road network.
“I would require developers to construct housing that is carbon neutral, with good insulation, green-energy heating systems and charging points for electric vehicles.”