The councillors selected to represent Richmondshire at North Yorkshire County Council have set out some of their priorities for the next four years.
Managing the growth of Catterick Garrison and fighting for the future of the A&E at Darlington Memorial Hospital are among the targets for the winning candidates at last week’s election.
Carl Les, who until the election was the leader of the county council, said it was an endorsement of the fact that the county of North Yorkshire had been well served by a council that has been Conservative-led for almost a quarter of a century that 55 out of 72 members were Tory.
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He added: “In the Catterick area we need to manage well the growth of the garrison area as it could become the third largest community in North Yorkshire by 2030, with all the benefits that brings, but also the challenges.”
Richmondshire district Conservative councillor Karin Sedgwick won in the Middle Dales in a seat formerly held by Roger Harrison-Topham.
She said: “I was very pleased at the support that I have received – reflected in the voting.
“I will do my best to act on behalf of everyone in my constituency, in all aspects pertaining to the County Council, helping to make our community a good place to live in.”
John Blackie pointed to the high turnout in the Upper Dales seat which he won again, beating Richmondshire District Council leader Yvonne Peacock into second.
He said: “The unique aspect of the election for the county councillor for the Upper Dales was the turnout, which at 53 per cent was by far the highest turnout across the county.
“The average turnout in the 72 elections for county councillors was 35 per cent, so the turnout was very nearly 20 per cent higher.
“The Upper Dales is England’s largest County Council ward, at 325-square miles, and features sparsely populated communities set amidst deeply rural, remote upland territory.
“Even with its 16 polling stations, this remoteness still leaves many voters on Thursday facing a 10-mile journey each way to cast their vote.”
Cllr Blackie said he was looking forward to four more years of hard work for the Upper Dales.
He said his most urgent priorities were retaining the 24/7 consultant led A&E, and maternity and children’s services at the Darlington Memorial Hospital, fighting to keep open all the seven local primary schools, and arresting the exodus of young families from the Dales by the provision of more affordable housing to rent in its scattered communities.
Independent councillor Helen Grant, who won in Central Richmondshire, said she was delighted to be relected to a seat she had been told was targeted by the Conservatives.
Asked about what she hoped to achieve locally, Cllr Grant said: “I, along with everyone else, am looking forward to seeing an end to the Hildyard Row works.
“I am looking forward to the opening of the desperately needed extra classrooms and a new school in the garrison area, also the provision of a new NHS/MOD facility which is vital for everyone – I will be closely observing waiting times at our surgeries in the meantime.
“The perennial pot hole problem and lights not working will never be solved but I will be encouraging proactive attention by members of the public in reporting them and challenging poor responses.
“I hope that members of the public will engage fully with consultations, have their say and understand that their opinions can make a difference. I look forward to the challenges ahead.”
Cllr Blackie, Cllr Grant and Cllr Parsons, who won again in Richmond, will join with four or five other independents councillors as the North Yorkshire Independents, which will be the second largest group at North Yorkshire County Council, and as in the last council, will be the official opposition to the Conservative administration.
They have re-elected Cllr Blackie to be their leader.
The Labour Party said it had stood a candidate in everyone one of the thirteen County Divisions across the Richmond (Yorks) Constituency for the first time in its history.
The party said that despite one of the most difficult electoral situations facing the party in a number of years, it saw an increase in its vote share in each of the six divisions within Richmondshire District Council’s jurisdiction.
Owain Gardner, Labour candidate for Middle Dales and Dan Perry’s agent for the General Election, said “We faced an electoral landscape of some considerable difficulty, yet thanks to contesting each of the six seats in Richmondshire our teams delivered an increase in the share of our vote.
“Every candidate worked hard, listening to local people; never taking a single vote for granted. I believe this is a solid base from which to build into the General Election.
“It is now the time, more than ever, to say no to Tory complacency and Lib Dem intransigence. Your vote does matter, voting Labour will gain you an MP who listens.”
Here are the Richmondshire results in full:
Angie Dale – Independent – 280
Dave Dalton – Green Party – 85
Carl Les – Conservative – 1187
Gill Page – Labour – 110
Jane Parlour – Liberal Democrat – 176
Ian Davidson – Labour – 134
Lawrence Grose – Conservative – 573
Rupert Hildyard – Green – 59
Dave Robertson – UKIP – 112
Martin Smith – Independent – 92
Benedicte Windle – Liberal Democrat – 38
Owain Gardner – Labour Party – 212
Lisle Ryder – Green Party – 147
Karin Sedgwick – Conservative – 1590
Philip Wicks – Liberal Democrat – 225
Ann Brewer – Labour Party – 180
Louise Dickens – Conservative – 604
Anna Jackson – Green Party – 130
Philip Knowles – Liberal Democrat -185
Stuart Parsons – Independent – 1250
Andrew Atkins – Liberal Democrat – 254
Leslie Rowe – Green Party – 208
Ken Smith – Labour Party – 188
Angus Thompson – Conservative – 1629
John Blackie – Independent – 1540
Robbie Kelly – Green – 129
Yvonne Peacock – Conservative – 740
Brian Pocknee – Labour Party – 99