Local Elections 2021: Lincoln leaders’ plans for the city

Labour hoping to fend off Conservatives

There are almost 50 candidates across 11 wards hoping for your vote in the City of Lincoln Council elections next month.

Labour currently has overall control of the council with 24 seats, while the Conservatives have nine and need to gain eight seats for a majority.

Voters will go to the polls on Thursday, May 6 to choose who they want to represent them in at the city council for the next four years.

We spoke to the leaders of the two parties currently sitting at city level to get their views going forward.

“Building on our successes” – Labour

City of Lincoln Council Leader Ric Metcalfe. | Photo: Stuart Wilde for CoLC

Labour leader Councillor Ric Metcalfe said his party’s record for the city will help his members to victory.

He said: “As the incumbents who have had control of the city council for a while we’re expanding on a very good record of significant achievement and delivering on our promises and future ambition for Lincoln.

Achievements over the past few years, he said, included the council’s help for “countless” individuals, families and businesses, during the COVID-19 pandemic, showing “significant resilience” against its own financial crisis, the new car park and bus station and being “well on the way” to delivering 500 new council homes.

Councillor Metcalfe said the council would continue to rebuild Lincoln’s economy and attract new funds to regenerate the city centre in a similar fashion to the Cornhill development.

He denied the party’s time in power had left them “stagnant” and that his administration was not “satisfied just to sit back and let things happen”.

“We’ve made things happen and we continue to respond to changing circumstances in the leadership we’ve shown,” he said, pointing to the Lincoln Roadmap to net Zero Carbon by 2030.

He said his party would continue to work hard to remind people this election was about local issues following the Conservatives sweeping success across the country in 2019 – where several Labour seats were lost amid national topics such as Brexit.

Despite Conservative claims to the contrary, Councillor Metcalfe said the party could take credit for money it had received from the Tory-led government.

“This is a competitive situation you don’t just get the money – we had to demonstrate a number of things,” he said.

Councillor Metcalfe’s party are also pushing for resolutions to issues and disagreements with the Conservative-run Lincolnshire County Council, including the Usher Gallery and the Western Growth Corridor.

“We can end Labour domination” – Conservatives

Leader of the Conservatives at City of Lincoln, councillor Thomas Dyer. Photo: Sean Strange

Conservative opposition leader Thomas Dyer believes that after a decade of Labour domination “now is a time for change”.

“Especially as we come out of the pandemic we must have a modern dynamic councils, that can support both residents and the businesses within the city,” he said.

“This last year, has shown the importance of local government.

“It’s been councils that have issued, much of the government support grants that businesses have benefited from, it’s been councils that worked tirelessly as part of the government’s everybody in scheme which was to get homeless people housed.

“It will be councils that will have a major role in our national recovery.”

Priorities for the Conservatives this year include a pop-in parking scheme to incentivise people to use local businesses, introducing better infrastructure, more action over climate change including new heating installation schemes and electric charging points  in social housing schemes. He also criticised the councils expenditure on the Western Growth corridor plans before “a single brick has been laid”.

Councillor Dyer is hoping his party will be the ones to bring forward many of the new £25 million Town Deal schemes, including works to improve Wigford Way, as well as better cleaning around the city and improvements to transport infrastructure such as focussing on delivering the North Hykeham relief road.

He said his party had a “positive track record” at county council level and that it had “ambitious plans” to bring that success down to city level.

He called for more action to tackle fly-tipping hotspots with higher numbers of fines issued for dog mess and littering, as well as a reversal of increasing rent allotment fees and parking charges.

The party wants to retain the number of public toilets in the city centre.

Councillor Dyer said he would take a different approach to Lincolnshire County Council’s Usher Gallery plans, which he called a “reasonable proposal to transform and modernisation gallery”.

“People are ready for a change” – Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat candidate Clare Smalley. | Photo: Supplied

Liberal Democrat candidate Clare Smalley says people are “ready for a change” from the two main parties and that her party could deliver that.

She hopes her party might be able to drive a wedge into the current hold the Conservatives and Labour have on the authority.

Clare, who is running in Abbey ward, said: “A lot of residents have told us that they sort of feel a bit neglected and that actually they’re ready for a change.

“A lot of people feel they’ve had Labour councillors, for a very long time.

“The Lib Dems have worked quite hard over recent years to support our residents with various issues, both at a local and county level, and… build our position.

“We’ve got a good group of people that are willing to be out there and be that voice.

“It’s the people that matter and the issues that are close to them […] these are local issues that affect local people and I think just support us and we’ll obviously we will be the party that are hoping to listen to people and support them.”

Priorities for the parties this year include tougher measures on an increasing amount of fly-tipping, protecting front-line services, making sure there was value for money for the increased council tax this year.

Clare said she would also like to see better funding for individual councillors to use on their own local wards, as well as more, easily accessible online meetings held by the council.

“We just really want to stand up to the council and you know get voters that voice that maybe they feel they don’t have at the moment.”

Candidates this year, she said, had a “wealth of experience” and were from a whole range of ages and backgrounds.

“A message that the environment does matter” – Green Party

Green Party candidate Matt Parr. | Photo: Supplied

Green Party candidate Matt Parr said his party wants to send a message to people that they have a choice if they don’t like the two main parties.

“They have a choice to vote for us and send that message that the environment does matter and they want to see change,” said the Hartsholme ward runner.

Matthew said the impact of COVID on his campaign of environmental awareness had been a “shame” and had lost some momentum, as he had been trying to organise better grass cutting, litter picks and tree plantings.

However, he said there had been some “amazing lessons” from the lockdowns, including how people had used open spaces for exercise, and how nature and the environment had returned to urban areas without people in them.

“The amount of people I connected with who said this has been a lifesaver for them, it’s really helped lift their mood to get out to walk around Swanholme or Hartsholme and without that green space, they’re not sure they could have made it through.

“There’s definitely some lessons to be had from that we actually really like our green spaces, and they provide such an amazing service for us, for our well being, during awful dark times.

“We need to we need to realise what that environment did for us and protect it.”

The party’s key policies include ensuring homes are in the right place and away from flood plains, along with making sure they have energy efficient facilities such as solar panels.

They also want more wildflower habitats to promote the creation of CO2, including potentially using grass verges around the city instead of mowing them.

Matthew would also like to see more green infrastructure on top of that with enhanced footpath and cycleway improvements – particularly in the Western Growth Corridor.

Below is a list of candidates for each ward in full. Councillors defending their position are highlighted in bold. One councillor per ward will be elected this year.

Abbey

  • Hansard, Roger (Conservative)
  • Moore, Val (Labour)
  • Penman, Donald (Reform UK)
  • Smalley, Clare (Liberal Democrat)
  • Yates, Kenneth (Green)

Birchwood

  • Chapman, Stephen (Liberal Democrat)
  • Gowen, Paul (Labour and Co-operative Party)
  • Radford, John (Green)
  • Strengiel, Eddie (Conservative)

Boultham

  • Carvalho, Daniel (Conservative)
  • Parker, Charles (Liberal Democrat)
  • Tooke, Simon (Green Party)
  • Watt, Calum (Labour and Co-operative)

Carholme

  • Choi, Jack (Conservative)
  • Craven, Oliver (Liberal Democrat)
  • Preston, Lucinda (Labour and Co-operative)
  • Readings, Aston (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition)
  • Shaw, Charles (Liberal Party)
  • Watson, Nicola (Green)

Castle

  • Haigh, Norman (Green)
  • Nannestad, Donald (Labour)
  • Storer, Rachel (Conservative)
  • Turner, Aidan (Liberal Democrat)

Glebe

  • Beardmore, Jacob (Conservative)
  • McKenna, Fiona (Green)
  • Metcalfe, Ric (Labour)

Hartsholme

  • Charters, James (Liberal Democrat)
  • Clarkson, David (Conservative)
  • Ellis, Adelle (Labour)
  • Parr, Matt (Green)

Minster

  • Dale, Richard (Liberal Democrat)
  • Storer, Mark (Conservative)
  • Wells, Joshua (Labour)
  • Wilkinson, Valerie (Green)

Moorland

  • Atkinson, Ben (Liberal Democrat)
  • Ellis, Geoff (Labour)
  • Fido, Matthew (Conservative)
  • Padley, Christopher (Green)

Park

  • Burke, Chris (Labour and Co-operative)
  • Chapman, Natasha (Liberal Democrat)
  • Horscroft, Sally (Green)
  • Parker, Nick (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition)
  • Sperrin, Liam (Conservative)

Witham

  • Guthrie, Deborah (Reform UK)
  • Hutchins, Joshua (Labour)
  • Mara, Bill (Conservative)
  • Parr, Amanda (Green)
  • Uldall, Sarah (Liberal Democrat)

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