In the final part of our look at the crucial contests in next week’s Kirklees Council election, local government reporter Barry Gibson turns his attention to the struggle between the Conservatives and the Greens in Kirkburton.
IT was the closest election in Kirklees last year, with Green councillor Derek Hardcastle clinging to his seat with just 82 more votes than his Conservative challenger.
This year it’s the Tories’ turn to defend one of their two seats in Kirkburton.
Long-serving Clr Adrian Murphy is due to become Deputy Mayor of Kirklees next month – but only if he can keep his seat in Thursday’s election.
The Lepton man is angry that the Greens have taken credit for a one-year reprieve for Shepley Library, which had been due to lose its paid staff next year.
In February, Mirfield, Denby Dale and Kirkburton Area Committee agreed to provide the £24,000 needed to keep the two part-time librarians in Shepley in 2013/14.
The decision was later approved by the council’s Labour Cabinet.
Clr Murphy believes the Greens are wrong to claim credit for the reprieve.
“The money is Area Committee money, it isn’t money that they have found from anywhere else.
“It was unanimously agreed between the nine councillors. The Greens haven’t conjured up this money.”
He added: “We got the Citizens Advice Bureau to use the consultation room in the library, that’s the way we’re going to have to do it.”
Clr Murphy is also focusing on preserving the countryside.
“Wind turbines are a huge issue in Shelley. There are health and safety issues regarding blades coming off the large turbines,” he said.
“At a recent council meeting I proposed that wind turbines should be restricted to 22 metres and shouldn’t be sited within one kilometre of homes.”
Clr Murphy is campaigning against the Local Development Framework (LDF), which would allow 22,470 new homes in Kirklees by 2028.
“We don’t have any infrastructure for development on green belt,” he said.
“It would lead to additional traffic which would cause more chaos at Waterloo.
“If the Conservatives get back in power, we will be scrapping the LDF.”
Green candidate Robert Barraclough stressed the importance of keeping rural libraries.