Battle begins for Wyre’s council seats

Wyre Civic Centre - home of Wyre Council
Wyre Civic Centre - home of Wyre Council

Green Party activists and independent candidates have thrown their hats into Wyre’s election ring - promising one of the most intensely fought local polls for many years.

Concerns about the impact of fracking in Wyre, Garstang and Bowland, have prompted the Greens to field 12 candidates borough-wide.

Among the best known among the Greens standing in rural Wyre are Joe Gilmour (standing in Garstang ward) and his daughter, Hana Jo Gilmour (Calder ward).

The other surprise when the nominations lists were revealed last week was a full slate of Independents for the three-seat Garstang ward. The three independents are endorsed by Garstang Independent Group (GIG), which is hoping to repeat its success of the 2013 county election campaign when its candidate Sandra Perkins defeated sitting Conservative candidate Val Wilson.

The GIG-backed candidates in Garstang ward, all familiar faces in the town, are Sandra Perkins, Alan Cornthwaite and Peter Ryder.

Former Conservative David Williams, who lost the Tory nomination for Calder last year is fighting under independent colours in Calder ward, and will also be backed by GIG.

The Conservatives, who currently hold the three Wyre seats in Garstang and whose party currently controls Wyre Council, have reselected their trio of Garstang representatives, Coun Lady Dulcie Atkins, Tom Balmain and Alice Collinson as their candidates.

The Liberal Democrats are not fielding any candidates in the borough poll. UKIP is only fielding candidates in urban Wyre.

Labour has chosen a Fleetwood man, Paul Treece-Birch, as its Garstang candidate.

Wyre has 50 seats and all of them will be contested. The Tories are fighting every seat, Labour 41, Green Party/Stop Fracking 12, UKIP 11, Independents eight, Trades Unionists and Socialists Against The Cuts two.

Of all the 20 parish councils in rural Wyre only Myerscough and Bilsborrow will see a parish election. In all the others there are either the same number of candidates as seats or fewer candidates than seats.

The biggest surprise at town council level is the failure of the Garstang Conservatives to nominate any official Tory candidates for Garstang Town Council.

The Conservatives have had a strong presence on the town council for two decades. The most prominent town council Tories have been Lady Dulcie Atkins and Tom Balmain who, while standing again for their seats on Wyre Council, are not standing for the town council.

All the town council nominees will automatically become councillors, and there will be three vacant seats.

At borough level, which will see municipal elections on May 7, the same day as the general election, the number of Wyre Council seats is being reduced from 55 to 50, following ward mergers.

All 50 council seats at Wyre Council are up for grabs, including those in rural Wyre, where boundary changes have seen the creation of an enlarged Garstang ward – which now includes Cabus – and a merged Brock/Catterall ward.

The only contested town / parish council is Myerscough and Bilsborrow. It has nine seats and there are 10 candidates.

All the elections in Wyre will take place on the same day as the general election, May 7. Postal voters will receive their ballot papers around April 21.

For details of candidates see this week’s Garstang Courier