Leeds local elections 2024: Kirkstall candidates statements

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Voters in Kirkstall Ward will go to the polls on Thursday May 2, 2024 for the Leeds City Council elections. One councillor will be elected.

Voters are reminded that photo ID is needed to vote at polling stations. More details here.

Your West Leeds Dispatch has attempted to contact candidates 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…

Ainscow, Lyall: Conservative Party

Address in Blackburn With Darwen.


Belcher, Adam: Liberal Democrats

2 Railway Cottages, Kirkstall Lane, Leeds LS5 3LB.

Kirkstall, Burley and Hawksworth deserve a committed local advocate who is prepared to challenge a Labour Party which takes our communities for granted.

I have lived here and been involved in the community for several years, including volunteering for the Kirkstall Festival, so I have seen the problems facing our area first-hand. If elected, I will fight for a fair deal for local businesses, better public transport, and a big push to end homelessness in our city.

Our high streets have been hit hard by the pandemic, and now suffer skyrocketing energy costs. That is why I am proud to join the Liberal Democrat campaign to end unfair business rates, giving our shops, hair salons and pubs a much-needed boost. Instead, commercial landlords, who benefit from rising property values, will pay their fair share.

It is well-known locally that Leeds is the largest city in Western Europe to not have a metro system, forcing commuters onto roads. As I have for years, I will continue to call for the reintroduction of trams, but in the meantime I will explore every option to solve the traffic chaos at our busiest junctions and stop back streets being used as “rat runs”.

Homelessness is a blight which shouldn’t affect Leeds in the 21st century. The Liberal Democrat solution is simple: we have a national target to build 150,000 new social homes. In Leeds, we will replenish our council housing stock and get desperate families off waiting lists.

The Liberal Democrat record in local government is exemplary. For example, nine out of the top ten councils in England for recycling are run by Lib Dems. Labour-run Leeds, by comparison, ranks a terrible 253rd place. Where Liberal Democrats are elected, we work hard and get results for our communities, and that’s what I will do.


Long, Stuart

4 Stanmore Grove, Leeds, LS4 2RJ.

Stuart Long. Photo: David Spereall

I’ve lived in Kirkstall for over 40 years, attending the old Beecroft Primary and Kirkstall Middle Schools locally. I’ve known the great beauty that Kirkstall has and the amazing places like the Abbey that we have on our doorstep with its glorious greenspaces and am proud to call Kirkstall home.

As with any area, however, it does have issues.

Sadly, Kirkstall has been let down over the last 14 years and with little to no investment in the road infrastructure we can all see the roads straining and groaning across the ward that has led to many accidents at major junctions in the centre of Kirkstall, development of housing to private land developers has been prioritised rather than correcting the traffic issues that are so badly needed to be addressed, I have been campaigning on this matter with seniorofficers

I have also led a bus campaign for better services across Leeds since the Fairer Fares campaign that led a petition to Parliament in 2011, I’ve been campaigning all year for the re-establishment of the water levels to the Goit running through the ward as well as speaking with senior council officers to clean up drastically neglected streets in and around local schools and nurseries to provide improved access for families as well as elderly residents to local chemists and doctors.

I continue to campaign for Radon gas levels to be addressed in social as well as private housing across Leeds to improve the health of all, this led to referrals to the council’s Environment, Housing & Communities scrutiny board for investigation.

This election day, make your voice heard and your votes count. I have a proven track record of helping local families with local issues and am passionate for a better Kirkstall for all.


Smith, Victoria: Green Party

Address in Leeds.

Victoria Smith.

Hello Kirkstall and Burley.

I’m privileged to be your Green Party candidate on Thursday 2 May. I love Kirkstall and have lived here for 19 years. In 2022, it was special to be married in Kirkstall Abbey.

If elected, I will work to improve our area for the needs of local people.

Bin collections have become an increasing frustration. This is due to a combination of on-street parking and cuts to local council budgets. Bin lorries should be able to access local roads.

Drivers idling outside schools remains problematic. I will work with councillors of all parties, teachers and parents to address this.

Leeds-Bradford Airport have lost its application to expand night flights. I miss flying, but have been active in securing this as part of a local group for four years.

For our energy needs, I will back solar panel installation on all new build homes and push for retro-fitting. This will help with the cost of living and produce well paid sustainable jobs.

We are lucky to have amazing NHS staff. Many live in our ward and I would publicly like to say thank you. They deserve proper working conditions and pay. I support NHS strikes.

We live in a lovely part of Leeds and that includes access to the Leeds-Liverpool Canal towpath. We need more benches and bins along our popular Kirkstall and Burley stretch. Thank you.


Tival, John: Trade Unionist And Socialist Coalition

19b The Village Street, Leeds LS4 2PR.

John Tival

I have lived in Leeds for several years and have been an active member of the community during this time. This includes my involvement with the Socialist Party (Leeds branch), which led to my involvement in the Palestinian demos recently in Leeds. 

TUSC are campaigning against the ongoing austerity facing residents in Leeds – yet again we are being asked in this year’s council budget to pay more for less.

There is a crisis of local government funding, which needs radical change. But saying this is not enough – the council needs to act. It should work with trade unions and community groups to demand the funding for the services we need, and in the meantime use its reserves and borrowing powers to maintain services in the short-term rather than putting an extra £3m into council reserves in this year’s budget.

I am particularly supporting the campaign to Save Little Owls nurseries established by parents across the city. Teo Little Owls nurseries in Kirkstall ward are under threat of transfer to other providers, including potential privatization. These are Hawksworth Wood and Burley Park Little Owls – I would encourage everyone to sign the parent’s petition – www.change.org/savelittleowls.

Unfortunately – none of the opposition parties on the council even tried to put amendments opposing these cuts in the Labour council’s budget.

I have also been taking part in demonstrations against the brutal onslaught on Gaza. The tragedy of innocent civilians in Israel being killed on the 7th October, has been compounded by the over 30,000 now dead in Gaza. The opposition of political leaders like Sunak and Starmer to a ceasefire until recently, and still supporting arms sales to Israel, shows the need on this issue as well for political change.


Venner, Fiona Elizabeth: Labour Party

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

Fiona Venner.

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

Since being elected in 2014, I’ve been a passionate and energetic campaigner. This has included campaigning for the new playground on West Park fields and the refurbishment of the Wolsley Road playground, fighting for new zebra crossings on Queenswood Drive and Spen Lane and the new crossing point on Morris Lane/Spen Lane and working with residents to set up community groups and improve local green spaces.

Much councillor casework involves supporting families on the front line of the housing crisis and I’m an effective and determined advocate.

I’m the Cabinet Member on Leeds City Council for Children’s Social Care and Health Partnerships, having previously led Adult Social Care. This involves being a champion for some of the most vulnerable people in Leeds. My role includes being the lead for looked after children and care leavers, Children’s Centres and Children’s Social Care.

I’m particularly interested in mental health and worked in mental health services for 25 years, including 15 years as the Chief Executive of Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service.

I love cats and dogs and am often found running in the Abbey grounds with my neighbours’ dog, Dookie.

My pledges are to continue to:

  • support individuals, children and families in need of housing or rehousing and campaign for a better deal for renters,
  • work with colleagues and local residents in tackling the Climate Emergency, including campaigning for better public transport,
  • develop our green spaces including better playground and play facilities at Kirkstall Abbey and on Queenswood Fields,
  • work with colleagues and local communities in tackling graffiti, fly tipping and dog fouling,
  • run regular surgeries and attend meetings of Kirkstall residents’ groups, so I can accurately represent your views.

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