February 10, 2022 3.10 pm

Grimsby council by-election: Meet the candidates

Park Ward by-election candidates on why people should vote for them

By Local Democracy Reporter

Crime, cycle lanes and the state of parks are some of the issues on the table at Grimsby’s next by-election.

Voters in North East Lincolnshire’s Park Ward will go to the polls next week to choose a replacement for the late councillor Debbie Woodward, who passed away in December.

Candidates told us how they would work to change the area for the better.

At a time when faith with politicians around the country is low, we also asked why people should put their trust in them.

The by-election will be held on Thursday, February 17, with polls open between 7am and 10pm.

The person with the most votes will complete Councillor Woodward’s term of office until May 2023.

Ryan Aisthorpe – Liberal Democrat

Ryan Aisthorpe, Liberal Democrat candidate for Park ward by-election

What is the biggest issue currently facing Park Ward, and how would you go about dealing with it?

There are so many issues affecting Park Ward, it is difficult to choose just one. From huge rises in Council Tax by virtually the maximum every year, to mounting road congestion, dangerous roads, parking problems and anti-social behaviour.

However, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that parks and recreation areas are an essential infrastructure. They’re vital for young people’s development and mental health, but our children are being held back due to lack of investment.

If elected, I would join Lib Dem Councillors at the Grimsby Town Hall who took the lead in calling for more funding for our parks, which was supported by all party councillors, to make certain Park Ward gets a fair share from the funding secured. It is most important that all play equipment in Park ward is brought up to modern-day standards.

What is the most important change you have made in your local community?

I am an active member of community groups and volunteered to build a community garden for one of them. I have successfully carried out lottery funded projects to help restore parts of the area and raised money for local charities, such as St Andrews Hospice through music, but I hope to give back more as a local representative of Park Ward.

What should be done to make Grimsby a place people are proud of?

Stop wasting taxpayers’ money on poorly thought through vanity projects, while cutting essential council services. Plans for Cleethorpes to get a 72ft white palm tree were scrapped last year, but money is still being wasted on luxuries while local residents struggle for the basics.

The Tory-run council plans to spend £7.5m on new buildings for itself, while waste removal and street cleaning services are stripped back, seeing rubbish pile up in the street in parts of Grimsby.

We should be funding the community, not the council. Vanity projects should come only after getting the basics right.

Confidence in politicians is low – what would make you different?

I am born and bred in the area, so I know it’s the people that make living in Park ward great. I want local residents to be heard and use my voice to help amplify their needs to the council.

I understand the anger and frustration of having a representative that we never see. I vow to be in regular contact and work hard all year round – not just at election time.

Marian Boyd – Conservative 

Marian Boyd, Conservative candidate for Park ward by-election

What is the biggest issue currently facing Park Ward, and how would you go about dealing with it?

One of the biggest issues facing Park Ward was the proposed introduction of a cycle lane along with double yellow lines which was proposed to run the full length of Weelsby Road, making on-street parking very difficult for residents and visitors particularly as there are a large number of households without driveway access.

This was dealt with by ward councillors listening to and supporting residents to oppose the proposed scheme which has now been shelved.

Another issue facing the ward is parking and once again ward councillors have listened to residents and worked with the portfolio holder with regard to parking enforcement and new technology will shortly be introduced which will be integral in addressing this issue.

As further issues arise I along with my fellow councillors will listen to residents and support them through ensuring problems are addressed.

What is the most important change you have made in your local community?

There have been significant changes in the local community during the time the Conservative administration have been in place and this has been complimented by the work of the Conservative ward councillors. The ward is much cleaner, the grass is cut more often and there have been major improvements to waste collection and recycling.

Through ward funding the Conservative councillors have assisted the local bowls club to provide community sessions and as a result have engaged many more ward residents in sport.

The ward councillors have also supported the Park Ward Forum who are a strong representative community body for the ward, introduced ward surgeries where local community members can meet and discuss issues with ward councillors something previous ward councillors never offered and if elected I will continue to drive change when needed to ensure I am a visible and approachable councillor who will do the upmost for the local community of Park Ward.

What should be done to make Grimsby a place people are proud of?

My personal belief is that Grimsby is a place people are proud of and this will be significantly enhanced by the regeneration that is being planned by the current Conservative administration. Grimsby is fast becoming well known nationally as the hub for renewable energy and this will be further endorsed by planned projects relating the South Humber Investment Project.

There are also major improvements planned for Top Town with the introduction of a Youth Zone and new cinema which will increase the leisure offer for people of all ages.

As a Park Ward resident I am also extremely proud to say that within our ward we have the jewel in the Grimsby crown in People’s Park which is well used by families across the borough and is a haven of peace and beauty.

Confidence in politicians is low – what would make you different?

There is no evidence that confidence is low in politicians at a local level and certainly the residents of Park Ward have confidence in their ward councillors and the current conservative administration.

As a person who is a resident of Park Ward and whose family also reside in Park Ward I am pleased with the improvements in the ward over recent years and I will if elected be a dedicated ward councillor who will build on the excellent work, passion for the ward and reputation of the late Councillor Debbie Woodward.

I am eager to work with my fellow ward councillors who also demonstrate passion and commitment to the Ward to ensure the excellent work of Councillor Debbie Woodward and her fellow councillors is continued to the benefit of local residents and the town as a whole.

Dave Mitchell – Trade Union and Socialist Coalition

What is the biggest issue currently facing Park Ward, and how would you go aboutdealing with it?

The biggest issue facing people within Park Ward at the moment is the cost of living crisis. I would campaign for a No Cuts people’s budget, that instead of raising the council tax every year, used council reserves and prudential borrowing powers to deliver a budget that met the needs of residence but did not mean higher council tax.

What is the most important change you have made in your local community?

The most important change I have made to the community was when as part of TUSC we oppose plans to demolish all 18 blocks of flats in the Washdyke area of Immingham.As a result of the campaign we saved 6 blocks of flats.

What should be done to make Grimsby a place people are proud of?

Instead of schemes such as a cinema that no one wants or needs, work with Freshney Place and other areas of the town centre to make it a place people want to visit. I would also look at ways to celebrate our maritime tradition as Hull have done. To attract visitors and educate new generations, and fight hard to give people real jobs with decent pay so people feel they have a stake in the towns future.

Confidence in politicians is low – what would make you different?

I am not in it for personal gain. I am not a politician. If elected, I pledge not to take the full attendance allowance and to only claim genuine out of pocket expenses. The funds I get, I will donate to the ward to be used as residents see fit by way of a ward fund.

Kevin Shutt – Labour

Kevin Shutt, Labour candidate for Park ward by-election

Under the Conservatives we have seen crime in the ward rise with violent/sexual crime and anti-social behaviour at the top of the list. And the worst of it is that 60% of reported crime is going unpunished leaving people feeling frustrated that nothing is being done to stop it.

Everyone across the ward should feel safe in their community with stronger relationships between the local authority, police, families and schools to provide that reassurance. Councillors play a critical role as the link between all of these and should be leading by bringing everyone together to find the right solutions to tackle these issues.

What is the most important change you have made in your local community?

I have lived in the ward for more than 30 years and want it to be a place that everyone feels welcome. Part of that is making the area attractive and pleasant for all. That is why I got involved in local voluntary groups to actively help in running the community café when the People’s Park café closed down, tidy up the streets and public spaces and make sure parks can bloom at their best.

When I stood for council last year I raised my concerns about the closure of the historic floral halls and an underused park in the centre of the ward becoming a magnet for trouble. I was assured it would be reopened but this wonderful community asset hasn’t and wheelie bin fires in the area have become an all too frequent occurrence.

What should be done to make Grimsby a place people are proud of?

People should be proud of Grimsby, and Park Ward. It is a friendly place to live and raise children, but the issues that exist need to be tackled rapidly to prevent them from spiralling into the norm.

There are long standing problems with play areas being run down and unattractive for families to use and the Conservatives solution seems to be to sell off the fields for more executive housing rather than give children spaces they want to use.

Even small patches of overgrown land, which become an eyesore and a haven for rats, should be easy to resolve but are instead overlooked.

Confidence in politicians is low – what would make you different?

I don’t see myself as a politician, just a local person who genuinely cares and wants to make a difference. Rather than be confrontational and get angry about things, I like to find solutions, bring people together and work towards overcoming the problems that are upsetting people.

Issues like problem parking, pot holes and anti-social behaviour can’t be solved by just one person, it needs the right person to be able to identify the heart of the problem and bring the right agencies together to fix it. It isn’t impossible, I have a very positive outlook and the time to be able to make those connections to improve the area for people.

I notice that very often it is the people who need representation in politics who don’t vote, I want those people to take a chance to change things in Park, to vote for me to have their voice heard on the council and hold me to account for the commitments I make to them.