Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Baildon Tory group secretary says co-opting new councillor would be cheaper alternative
A by-election in Baildon has been criticised as an “expensive and needless” waste of taxpayers’ money and an unwanted move into party politics.
Rob Higgie, secretary of Baildon Conservatives said the election for a parish councillor in the Baildon East ward could cost up to £10,000, money that could be “better spent elsewhere”.
He is calling for a new councillor to be co-opted on to the council to save money, which could be as much as a quarter of the parish council’s £40,000 annual budget.
Mr Higgie, of Cliffe Lane South, said: “Previously when a mid-term parish council vacancy has arisen it has been filled by a process of co-option, which is cost effective and has produced good councillors.
“This expensive and needless election they will leave the residents of Baildon both financially and politically poorer.”
The Baildon East seat is up for election following the resignation of Peter Haley earlier this month.
Now ten residents have petitioned Bradford Council calling for a by-election for his seat, which is likely to be held on October 4. It will be contested between Jen Kilyon, Ian Lyons and Terry Andrew.
However, Mr Higgie has criticised Mr Lyons, a Liberal Democrat, for the “unwelcome politicising” of the parish council, which is supposed to be politically neutral.
He claims Mr Lyons gathered a petition of Liberal Democrat supporters to call for an election – a claim Mr Lyons has denied.
Mr Lyons, who was the first candidate to declare his political allegiance, said: “Even though the parish council is not political, a lot of the members have membership of a political party. He’s quite right the cost could be up to £10,000 but the actual figure is more likely to be £6,000 or £7,000.
“Eleven electors have put in a petition saying they want an election – I certainly have not been walking around with a petition – so I have put my papers in.”
Mr Higgie said the candidates had until tomorrow to withdraw and urged them to do so, so that a member could be co-opted onto the parish council.