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`Green' to quit over red tape

A HUDDERSFIELD councillor is quitting town hall politics - blaming red tape and the lack of help from officials.

A HUDDERSFIELD councillor is quitting town hall politics - blaming red tape and the lack of help from officials.

Clr Nick Harvey was the first ever Green to win a place on Kirklees Council when he was elected in Newsome in May, 1996.

Now he says he is fed up because his inquiries are frequently unanswered by council staff.

He said: "If a councillor cannot get a response, it is no wonder that residents get frustrated and disillusioned with the service that the council offers."

A by-election for his seat is likely to be held at the same time as the May elections.

Clr Harvey said: "I often work seven days a week dealing with the concerns raised by residents.

"I keep them fully informed of the progress of their inquiry and expect the council to conform to its own guidelines in replying to correspondence promptly.

"As this increasingly does not happen, it has led to more and more of my time being spent chasing different services for replies."

Clr Harvey is one of three Greens on the council, all of them sitting for Newsome ward.

Tony Elson, the council's chief executive, said Clr Harvey was undoubtedly one of the hardest-working councillors.

Mr Elson said: "The number of inquiries that he generates exceed those of any councillor serving at the present time.

"All 72 councillors receive support from council officers. Undoubtedly, Clr Harvey has had a far greater share of that time than other serving councillors.

"In discussions with colleagues some months ago, it became clear that to meet his expectations of the level of support that he felt he needed in order to maintain the service that he wished to give his constituents, would require the employment of more staff at a significant extra cost.

That wasn't possible within existing resources."

Greens have chosen 37-year-old Julie Stewart as their candidate in a by-election.

She played a big role in a campaign to save the village green in Lockwood from housing development and has since organised community events on the site.

Clr Andrew Cooper, the Green group leader on the council, said: " Kirklees has had real difficulty providing the service local people and the Green Party expect."


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