VOTERS go to the polls in six days’ time to elect 23 of the 69 members of Kirklees Council. In the fourth part of our look at the key contests, local government reporter Barry Gibson asks if next Thursday will be Independent’s Day in Holme Valley North
CHARLES Greaves hopes Holme Valley North voters will declare their independence for the third year running next Thursday.
Meltham’s Terry Lyons unseated Conservative Royston Rogers in 2010, followed by his ally Edgar Holroyd-Doveton, who toppled Lib Dem David Woodhead last year.
And now Charles Greaves plans to make it a clean sweep by taking the seat vacated by retiring Tory Clr Beryl Smith in next week’s vote.
The 40-year-old debt adviser is backed by the two independent councillors – despite their differences over the Local Development Framework (LDF).
Clr Lyons and Clr Holroyd-Doveton support the plan to allow 22,470 new homes in the district by 2028, while Mr Greaves opposes the plan.
He said: “There are going to be issues where we have different attitudes but there is more that unites us than divides us.
“The only thing where we have a difference of opinion is the LDF.
“I’ve been a key player in Preserve Honley and Brockholes. I’m opposed to the current LDF, though Terry and Edgar voted in favour.
“My main concern is the 10 hectares of Provisional Open Land near Smithy Place in Brockholes. I want to protect that area by bringing it into the green belt.”
Mr Greaves, who lives with his wife in Honley, is also concerned about the council’s plan to withdraw paid staff from the village library.
“The reality is that the substantial cuts in the council’s grant has made a major problem but there are different ways of dealing with the cuts,” he said.
“Removing paid staff from libraries is a really lazy kind of thinking.
“We’ve got a lot of managers and executives on Kirklees and we need to have a real re-think about what they do. Reviewing supervision and management should be the starting point.”
Brenda Bodenham, 53, is hoping to keep the seat for the Conservatives next week.
The Honley woman questioned how Mr Greaves could work with other independents when they differed on the LDF.
“It’s quite a strange scenario when you’ve got somebody who’s part of a party of independents, it seems quite bizarre. I can’t understand how he’s going to align himself with them,” she said.
Mrs Bodenham, who runs Honley Post Office with her husband Duncan, said her party’s plan to split Kirklees was proving a hit with voters.
The mother-of-one said: “There’s quite a lot of excitement on the doorstep about splitting Kirklees, the idea is going down a storm.
“People feel that if the council is split it will become more accountable with local services delivered locally.”
Mrs Bodenham added that voters were concerned about the LDF.
“People are very upset with Labour, the Lib Dems and the independents for voting through the LDF – they want to know why we need 22,000 houses,” she said.