THE Greens have taken control of a council after making a clean sweep at the polls.
The party won all three seats in by-elections to Kirkburton Parish Council this week – giving them 14 of the 25 positions overall.
Kirklees Green leader Clr Andrew Cooper, said yesterday: “All three candidates and their teams worked hard during the campaign and were worthy winners.
“We don’t see this as seizing control of the council. We work with everyone from any party in a spirit of goodwill to serve the local community.”
The by-elections took place after three councillors – two Conservatives and one Green – decided to step down late last year.
Clr Cooper criticised the Tories for forcing Thursday’s by-elections rather than waiting to hold the poll on the same day as the Kirklees Council election in May.
The Farnley Tyas and Thurstonland councillor said: “The Conservatives instigated the by-elections by collecting the 10 signatures needed to trigger them.
“They have cost the parish council £8,000 out of our £122,000 budget.
“The vote took place on a cold February day during half-term. which meant fewer people voted.
“I don’t think it was a good idea from the Conservatives, there was a certain amount of anger about why the elections had been held.”
In the Shepley by-election the Greens beat the Conservatives by 55votes, with Labour a very distant third.
The Greens took both seats available in the Kirkburton ward, which includes Highburton.
Conservative candidate Clr Adrian Murphy – who represents Kirkburton on Kirklees – came in third.
Clr Cooper said the result was disappointing for the Tory, who is up for re-election in May.
“I believe the Conservatives called this by-election with one eye on the Kirklees elections,” said Clr Cooper.
“Adrian Murphy was hoping this would give him a boost for May.
“It’s back-fired on them in a big way. For a Kirklees councillor of 12 years’ standing to lose a parish council by-election that his party called is embarrassing.”
Clr Murphy could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Labour’s Mike Greetham, who came last in the Kirkburton by-election, also believes the vote should not have taken place.
“It would have made much more sense to hold the by-elections on the same day as the Kirklees elections,” he said.
“Kirkburton has four councillors and Shepley has three so the people would still have been represented.”
Mr Greetham expects to do better in this year’s Kirklees election.
“There will be a much higher turnout in May,” he said.
“The higher the turnout, the better Labour do – that’s the case everywhere.”
SHEPLEY Ward (one seat)
Ian Lumb, Greens: 293
John Taylor, Conservatives: 238
Jan Thornton, Labour: 32
KIRKBURTON Ward (two seats)
Rae Thomas, Greens: 364
Peter Pankhurst, Greens: 330
Adrian Murphy, Conservatives: 261
Mike Greetham, Labour: 199