District Council by-election in
Watton-at-Stone: 23 August 2018
Following the sudden death of the sitting Tory councillor for Watton-at-Stone, a by-election has been called for 23 August 2018.
The Labour candidate is Veronica Fraser, a retired local government officer and civil servant. "I believe that community voices need to be heard in the design of local services and planning decisions," she says, "and I am committed to genuinely consulting and representing the locality and its people."
District Council elections:
3 May 2018
On 3 May 2018, we successfully defended four seats that we already held in Letchworth and also won an extra seat in Letchworth South East.
Gary Grindal, with new councillors, Sue Ngwala, Daniel Allen, Helen Oliver and Kate Aspinwall
In Letchworth Wilbury Gary Grindal retained his seat on the Council, with a majority of 454 over the Tory candidate and with over 58% of the vote.
Sue Ngwala won Letchworth East, taking over from the popular and well-known Lorna Kercher, who has recently moved away. Sue had a comfortable majority of 394 over the Tory, with nearly 52% of the vote.
In Letchworth Grange, Helen Oliver and Daniel Allen had majorities of 114 and 119 respectively over their nearest Tory rival. They replace Labour's Clare Billing and Sandra Lunn. Sandra did not stand again, but Clare stood for a seat in her home town of Hitchin, where she won comfortably.
In Letchworth South East, Kate Aspinwall won the seat from the Conservatives with a majority of just eight. The other candidates, including a UKIP candidate, lagged well behind.
In Baldock Town, Alec Maguire lost to the Tory candidate, but was well ahead of the Liberal Democrat and the Green candidates. Similarly in Royston Palace, Rob Inwood was second to the Conservative and ahead of the other two parties. Rob Inwood (pictured right) was, however, re-elected to Royston Town Council and Amy Bourke-Waite (pictured left), formerly our vice-chair (membership), was also elected to the Town Council.
In the other two Royston seats, Ken Garland and Jess Finn fared less well. In both cases, the Liberal Democrats had something of a resurgence. In Royston Heath, they actually took the seat from the sitting Conservative councillor.
Our neighbours in Hitchin held two seats that they were defending and also gained a seat in Hitchin Walsworth, by a hefty majority.
For more information about the candidates and to see their election addresses, go to the Election page.
For detailed figures, and for the results in the rest of North Herts, go to the North Herts District Council website.
Details of candidates
Roughly one-third of the councillors on North Herts District Council retire each year (except in the year of County Council elections). This year there are elections in the five wards in Letchworth, the three wards in Royston and in the Baldock Town ward. There are no elections in East Herts, where all councillors are elected at the same time every four years.
Labour's candidates for these wards are below. Click on their names to read their election addresses.
Letchworth East - Sue Ngwala (Labour and Co-operative)
Both seats in Letchworth East are held by Labour. Lorna Kercher, who has served Letchworth East for many years, is retiring and moving to be closer to her family.
Sue moved to Letchworth 22 years ago. After adopting two children, she became a registered child minder and a full-time carer for her daughter. Both her children went to local schools, where she was chair of the PTA. She is particularly concerned about the lack of social housing and the huge profits made landowners and developers from house-building, which is money that ought to be invested in the community.
Letchworth Grange - Helen Oliver and Daniel Allen (Labour)
There are three seats for Letchworth Grange, two of them held by Labour - Sandra Lunn and Clare Billing, who are the two councillors vacating their seats this year.
Helen lives in Grange ward with her family. She is a Mum, a toddler group worker and a volunteer. She wants to work to ensure that new housing is genuinely affordable, with all the necessary road improvements and facilities included. She also wants to spend money where it is needed, such as playgrounds, rather than on increases in councillors’ allowances.
Daniel lives in Letchworth with his wife and children. He grew up in Letchworth and will seek to make a real difference to the community, ensuring that housing comes with facilities like doctors’ surgeries and with green space. He will make sure residents’ views are not ignored, as they have been over the “brown bin tax”, and that the council makes a genuine commitment to local decision-making.
Letchworth South East - Kate Aspinwall (Labour)
All three seats in this ward are currently held by Conservatives.
Kate has lived in and around Letchworth for the last 18 years and chose to raise her young children here. She is an experienced HR professional, and now works for a local not-for-profit organisation serving local children. Now that her own children are older, she is seeking to become a councillor in order to pay the community back for what her children have gained from it. She is especially concerned that Letchworth South East has one of the highest proportions of children living in poverty in North Herts and wants to ensure that the council gives every child the best start in life possible.
Letchworth South West - Jean Andrews (Labour and Co-operative)
All three seats in this ward are currently held by Conservatives.
Jean Andrews has lived in Letchworth for the last 50 years.
She was a District Council for Letchworth South East from 1996 to 2000.
She is concerned that the Tory councillors have awarded themselves
large allowance increases whilst planning to close local playgrounds,
such as the one in Oak Tree Close, and, ignoring the public
consultation, to charge for the removal of garden waste.
Letchworth Wilbury - Gary Grindal (Labour and Co-operative)
Both seats are held by Labour, but only Gary Grindal's seat is up for election this year.
Gary was born and raised in Letchworth and moved to the Wilbury 30 years ago, where he lives with his wife and grown-up children. He was re-elected to the District Council in 2014. He believes that it is vital that residents have a strong opposition to the Tory Council’s continued austerity, which has resulted in vital services being cut in spite of the rise in Council Tax bills.
Baldock Town - Alec Maguire (Labour)
All three seats are currently held by Conservatives.
Alec grew up and went to school in Baldock from the age of 11 and played football through many age groups in the town. He is now an enthusiastic, 24-year-old teacher who want to help make the local community better for everyone. He points out that the District Council has a corporate objective headed “Prosper and Protect”, but nevertheless has been cutting necessary local services, such as the playground at Ivel Close.
Royston Palace - Robert Inwood (Labour and Co-operative)
Both seats are currently held by Conservatives.
Robert has lived and worked in Royston for most of his life and was educated at Roman Way, Roysia and Meridian Schools. He has two teenage sons, one of whom has just started at college in Stevenage, whilst the other is still studying at school, as well as playing rugby for Royston. He has been a town councillor for almost 15 years and was Mayor in 2011/12. He has also served on the District Council. He is a support worker for adults with learning difficulties and mental health problems, so that speaking out for our more vulnerable residents matters deeply to him.
Royston Heath - Ken Garland (Labour and Co-operative)
Both seats are currently held by Conservatives.
Ken has lived in Hertfordshire all his life and in Royston for the last 30 years. He is a retired lifting inspection engineer and has previously been a governor of Greneway School and a member of the management committee of the Coombes Community Centre. He advocates a significant increase in good quality, environmentally sustainable social housing. He will work for more local jobs, restoring the cuts in local bus services and better train services. He is strongly opposed to the increasing privatisation and dismantling of our health and social care services.
Royston Meridian - Jessica Finn (Labour)
Both seats are currrently held by Conservatives.
Jessica has lived in the area all her life, which gives her a good understanding of local issues. She is keen to improve investment in jobs within the Royston area, and to grow the local economy and revitalise the town centre, encouraging more shops and leisure facilities to be built.
With the growing population of the town, she says that we shall need more affordable, sustainable housing and it will also be crucial to improve infrastructure such as pedestrian crossings, signs and other road-related safety measures – especially as traffic is likely to increase on the school run, due to the planned closure of Roysia. She will also oppose the brown “bin tax”, which is likely to increase fly-tipping.
Royston Town Council
There will also be an election for all the seats on Royston Town Council. The Labour candidates are:
Royston Palace: Amy Bourke-Waite, Robert Inwood (sitting councillor), Robin King, Stephen Lockett, John Rees.
Royston Meridian: Vaughan West.
Royston West: Ken Garland.
A new register came into force in December 2017, but, if you are not registered or not registered at your current address, you can register at any time during the year.
If you have moved to your present address recently, you need to register individually. The fact that the council knows you have moved in does not mean that you are registered to vote.
If you are doubtful whether you are on the register, check with your district council:
North Herts: 01462 474503.
East Herts: 01279 655261.
It's easy to register
All you have to do to register is to go to the government's registration website here. You will need your national insurance number. Or you can ring the appropriate number above or go to the council's website (see below) for a form. If you cannot find your national insurance number, go to the government website here. However, this could take 10 working days.
More information on individual registration
Under the old system, one person in the household could register all the members of that household to vote. The new system is designed to be less liable to fraud and involves every voter registering individually. This new system was fully introduced in 2016.
Apart from your right to vote, you may find it difficult to obtain credit if you are not on the register. It is usually the first thing that lenders check. Not responding to a request for information regarding voter registration from your council could make you liable to a fine of £80.
You can choose to have a postal vote, either for a specific election or permanently. You do not have to explain your reason for wanting to vote by post. Go to your District Council's website (see below).
In certain circumstances someone else can vote for you (proxy vote). In this case, you will have to explain why you need a proxy vote. Your proxy must also be registered to vote. There is more information on the District Council websites below and you can download the appropriate application form. In a medical emergency and some other situations, you can apply for an emergency proxy vote, right up to polling day.
For more information, click on the appropriate link below to go to your District Council website, where you can also download the appropriate form:
Elections are conducted on a regional basis, with a varying number of Members of Parliament per region. The East of England is entitled to seven MEPs. Parties put forward a list of candidates and electors vote for the party list or for an independent candidate (the "closed list" system).
The party (or independent candidate) with the most votes takes the first seat for the first candidate on their list. The vote for each party is then divided the number of seats gained +1. This means that the vote for the party winning the first seat is divided by 2 and all the rest by 1, i.e. they stay the same. The second seat is allocated on this basis and again the votes are divided by the number of seats gained +1. The third seat is then allocated on this modified vote, and so on until all the seats are filled.
North Hertfordshire District Council
The district is divided into wards with two or three councillors. One-third of the councillors are elected each year, except the year of the County Council elections. Normally, the councillor elected earliest stands down and there is only one seat in a given ward up for election. The election is on the "first past the post" system. If there is more than one seat up for election in a ward, then electors in that ward have as many votes as there are seats.
East Hertfordshire District Council
The district is divided into wards with one or two councillors. All seats are up for election every four years, on the "first past the post" system or, in the case of two member wards, where electors have two votes, "the first two past the post". The next election will be in 2015.
Hertfordshire County Council
The county is divided into one-member divisions, who are elected every four years on the "first past the post system". The next election will be in 2017.
If there are more than two candidates, the election for Police and Crime Commissioner is conducted using the "supplementary vote" system. You put a cross in the first column for your first choice and a cross in the second column for your second choice. If you wish, you may give only a first choice.
All the first choices are counted and, if one candidate has more than 50%, she (or he) is elected. If not, the top two candidates continue to a second round of counting: all other candidates are eliminated and the second-choice votes of everyone whose first choice was not for one of the top two are then counted. Any second-choice votes for the top two candidates are added to the first-round totals of those candidates. Whichever candidate has the greater number of votes after this process is the winner.