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Kirkstall Ward: Leeds City Council election candidate 2021 statements

Voters in Kirkstall Ward will go to the polls on Thursday May 6, 2021 for the Leeds City Council elections. Voters will be electing one councillor.

Your West Leeds Dispatch has written to each candidate asking them for a statement of up to 300 words and a head and shoulders photograph to help you decide who to vote for. Here are their responses…

Reiss Capitano – Conservative Party

Address in Leeds.

Thomas Alfred Edwards – Liberal Democrats

Address in Leeds.

The whole political process is currently a shambles and politicians are near the bottom in the rating of public trust in professions.

We need new representatives able to move on from the poor decision-making of the Conservative government that has caused thousands of unnecessary Covid deaths, and away from the feeble Labour opposition.

We have all learned lessons this year and the post-pandemic society will be based on Liberal values:

  • solidarity between citizens, locally and nationally;
  • a greater awareness of the importance of community;
  • an acceptance that local government has a key role;
  • an enhanced status for the public service – at all levels;
  • the primacy of human values over economic demands;
  • the urgent need to support job creation, particularly at local level, and particularly with co-operative structures.

Locally for Kirkstall and West Park there are a number of important issues. The local community association has long battled for a district centre without success. The council’s planning decision has removed the obvious location at Kirkstall junction and a new site is urgently needed. This will be my first local priority.

It is the wrong moment to plan for a development of the Leeds Bradford Airport.

It is crucial for our children’s future that we take climate change seriously; I oppose the current planning application, and support lower car pollution and more recycling.

I support the preservation of local community pubs, and will support more safety on the streets with extra street lighting etc.

Lower levels of dog fouling would also be welcome. I hope you will able to support me.

I live locally and share the life of this community. If you’d like further information please email leedstedwards@gmail.com.

James Alan Ellis – Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Address in Leeds.

Victoria Helen Smith – Green Party

208 Queenswood Drive, Leeds, LS6 3ND.

victoria smith kirkstall green party
Victoria Smith

I’ve lived in Kirkstall for 16 years. Lucky me! We have two train stations, Leeds-Liverpool Canal, a shopping centre and amazing schools which is why I love living here. 

As wonderful as Kirkstall is, it suffers from fly-tipping, air pollution and congestion. I’ve got a range of ideas and the drive to help fix these issues. 

Closing the ‘rat-run’ through Abbey Park (Vesper Lane) is one initiative that I am involved with to improve local air pollution. Particularly because so many families use the park.

Cleaning up our public spaces – you may have seen purple bags next to public bins. These are community litter picking bags. I’ve been picking up litter as much as possible myself but we need wider change. 

The majority of homes here lie beneath the flight path The foreign investment company who own LBA want to almost double passenger numbers annually, using the smokescreen of a  ‘green’ terminal. They have no interest in our area or health, and solely want to increase profits.

For Kirkstall, this would mean one flight every two to three minutes between 6am and 7am, and later at night than currently, more congested roads and more air pollution. I am committed to take action on this as a committee member of the Group for Action on LBA (galba.uk).

Additionally, Kirkstall Valley Farm, nestled between the Aire and the canal, is a hidden gem of an initiative to grow food. I recently helped out planting hedgerows there using native species trees rescued from a site in Headingley, and am involved in installing Solar Power on the site. If elected, I will work more closely with the farm to help people in our community gain access to locally grown food.

A vote for me on the 6th May would be one for a cleaner, greener Kirkstall.

Fiona Elizabeth Venner – Labour Party

12 De Lacy Mount, Kirkstall, Leeds LS5 3JF.

Fiona Venner

As a Kirkstall resident, I’m delighted to be standing for re-election as your Labour candidate in the 2021 election.

Since being elected in 2014, I’ve been a passionate and energetic campaigner, working with local children on anti-dog fouling campaigns, getting Clayton Court and Heights refurbished, fighting for new zebra crossings on Queenswood Drive and Spen Lane, helping residents to set up community groups, supporting local businesses to recover from devastating flooding and working with our MP, Rachel Reeves, in her campaign for flood defence funding.

During the past year, I’ve supported children, families and businesses across the ward with shopping, food deliveries, fuel payments, access to business grants and support with childcare proceedings.

As well as being a Kirkstall councillor, I’m the Cabinet Member on Leeds City Council for Children, Families and Adult Social Care.

As lead for adults and children’s health and social care; I advocate for some of the most vulnerable people in the city.

I have a particular interest in mental health and worked in front line mental health services for 25 years, including 15 years as the Chief Executive of charity Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service.

I love cats and dogs, am a marathon runner and run around the ward most days with my running coach, Dookie.

I pledge to continue to:

  • Support our wonderful community to recover and rebuild from Covid 19.
  • Work with colleagues, children and young people in tackling the Climate Emergency.
  • Develop green space within the ward, including improvements for Burley Park, Wolseley Road play area and a new playground on West Park fields.
  • Campaign for increased pedestrian crossings across the ward
  • Develop youth work provision in the area
  • Run surgeries and attend meetings of Kirkstall tenants’ and residents’ groups, so I can represent your views.

West Yorkshire mayoral elections

West Yorkshire will also be holding its first elections for an elected mayor.

Here’s a list of candidates who are standing.

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