A newly-elected Tory councillor has blasted his rivals for calling a second costly by-election in four months.
Paul Blakeley was voted onto Mirfield Town Council today but admitted the election was a waste of money.
The poll, called by UKIP after the resignation of Labour’s Gary Bunton, has cost taxpayers around £10,000. The money could have been spent on grants to community groups instead.
Clr Blakeley, 24, was the clear winner but only 361 people bothered to vote, just 15.37% of the electorate in the Eastthorpe ward.
In May former Labour Mayor of Mirfield Michael Hutchinson won a seat but failed to attend a meeting to be sworn in and was barred from joining the council.
Labour called a by-election in August to right the “injustice” but lost out to the Tories in a poll that cost just short of £10,000.
When Clr Bunton stood down the council was ready to ‘co-opt’ a replacement, carried out by a vote of councillors without the need for a by-election, but UKIP called an election instead.
Clr Blakeley, who polled more than Labour’s Thimme Gowda and UKIP’s James Griffith-Jones put together, said: “The last by-election cost a massive amount of money and when I heard UKIP had called another by-election and was wasting more public money I decided to put my name forward.
“They obviously don’t care enough about Mirfield but I do so that’s why I wanted to become a councillor.”
Mirfield-born Clr Blakeley is a member of Mirfield Show committee, Mirfield Round Table, the Mirfield pantomime and is a Scout leader with the 8th Mirfield group.
He wants to work to secure community buildings for Mirfield, such as the library and the town council offices.
The library had been under threat of closure and the town council has applied for an asset transfer for control of the offices in Huddersfield Road.
The election result was: Paul Blakeley (Con) 212; Thimme Gowda (Lab) 91; and James Griffith-Jones (UKIP) 57. There was one spoiled ballot paper.