Hertfordshire County Council election: The four candidates for the Bishop's Stortford West division
Bishop's Stortford West is the only one of the three Hertfordshire County Council seats in the town where a new face is guaranteed to be elected.
Conservative incumbent Colin Woodward was deselected in favour of Alistair Ward-Booth after serving 10 years as county councillor following a by-election win in 2011.
In 2017, Cllr Woodward won with 1,894 votes (52.2%), more than 1,000 clear of his nearest rival, Labour's Riccardo La Torre, who received 747 votes (20.6%).
Liberal Democrat Bob Taylor – who this time is standing in Bishop's Stortford Rural – was third with 604 (16.6%), UKIP's Robert Patterson was fourth with 227 votes (6.3%) and Alexandra Daar of the Green Party fifth with 153 (4.2%).
Bishop's Stortford West 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%.
MADELA BADDOCK Green Party
Green Party candidate Madela Baddock has lived in Hertfordshire for over 30 years and led the Divest Herts campaign, petitioning the county council to divest its pension funds from fossil fuel investments.
Her commitment to living sustainably includes installing photovoltaic panels on the family home and driving an electric car for her daily commute.
She manages a community garden and works with companies to encourage more sustainable business models.
She said: “Currently, transport links across Hertfordshire are poor. We need more and better connections between towns in order to encourage people to use public transport, thereby reducing the air pollution caused by the number of vehicles on the roads.
“Introducing a uniform 20mph limit on residential roads and installing dedicated cycle lanes in and around towns will encourage more people to cycle for short journeys as well as positioning cycle racks intermittently rather than all in one place in town.
“Biodiversity is an important issue and one easy way is to stop mowing verges, an action I would be pushing for.”
TOM DIAMOND Labour
Labour’s Tom Diamond lives in Cavell Drive, Bishop’s Stortford, and is a 27-year-old primary school teacher.
He stood for election to East Herts Council in May 2019 and is also standing in the district council by-election in Bishop's Stortford's All Saints ward.
During the pandemic, the keen runner and charity fundraiser has set up and ran a local social media account called PROUD “which celebrated the little achievements we made during lockdown”.
He said: “As a teacher in the local community, I see first-hand the issues we face.
“We need to work beyond our party lines to save our high streets, using our locality budgets to save businesses and the jobs they provide.
“We must work with schools to make sure they have the funding to support children with gaps in both their academic and social learning as well as deal with their mental health issues.
“We will ensure the elderly have the care they need so they have the dignity they deserve.
“Let’s build a stronger community, together.”
RICHARD TOWNSEND Liberal Democrat
Liberal Democrat Richard Townsend, 62, is a retired IT operations and training consultant who was a Metropolitan police special constable for six years.
Married with three grown-up children, he has lived in Bishop’s Stortford since 1992. He was elected to the town council as a member for All Saints ward in the May 2019 local elections, and is also standing in Thursday's East Herts Council by-election in All Saints.
He serves as a community governor at Birchwood High School, a trustee for Bishop’s Stortford Street Pastors and on the neighbourhood police priorities panel.
If elected, he said: “I will support and promote the carbon-neutral (by 2030) and renewable energy targets, and push for key residential speed reductions (20’s Plenty).
“I believe free school meals during holidays to be critical to the wellbeing of less privileged families and will work towards effective implementation.
“I will work for better, cleaner and affordable public transport and low-carbon alternatives, fixing major potholes and improving pedestrian experience.
“I oppose planning rule relaxation and will fight against breaches of the adopted neighbourhood plans.
“I will push for truly affordable social housing and decent homes for our younger adults.”
ALASTAIR WARD-BOOTH Conservative
Conservative candidate Alastair Ward-Booth is a 23-year-old trainee solicitor who lives with his family in Bells Hill.
He has been an East Herts district councillor for Silverleys ward since May 2019 and, before that, served on the town council from 2015 to 2019.
In his spare time he enjoys squash and reading. He is a trustee of Bishop’s Park Community Centre CIO and part of the Shaping Stortford forum.
He said: “I grew up in Stortford, went to school in Stortford and am a lifelong resident of Bishop’s Stortford West.
“For the last six years, it has been a privilege to serve first as a town councillor and, since May 2019, as a district councillor for Silverleys ward.
“As a young professional, I look forward to bringing fresh perspectives to County Hall and I support the investments in our county made by the Conservative administration.
“From investing in our roads, giving our care workers a pay rise or building new schools in Bishop’s Stortford, I will support continued investment in our local area.”