Derbyshire County Council elections: Matlock division candidates on why they deserve your vote
Derbyshire residents face a crunch decision next month with all 64 seats on the county council up for grabs, so we asked the candidates for Matlock why they deserve your vote.
The Conservative Party has been in control of the authority since 2017, holding a majority with 36 seats. Labour is currently the main opposition party with 24 seats, while the Liberal Democrats hold three.
Authorities have been encouraging people to register for a postal vote, but plans are in place to ensure polling stations can operate as usual with additional Covid safety measures.
The county is divided into 61 divisions, and the division covering Matlock, Tansley and immediately surrounding villages has one seat.
Last time out it was won by Liberal Democrat candidate Sue Burfoot with a 42.3 per cent share of the 4,470 votes counted. Labour, which had previously held the seat, was beaten into third place by the Conservatives as the party lost control of County Hall.
While representatives are elected to help oversee or shape county level responsibilities such as social care, education, transport, libraries, trading standards and public health, the elections are always closely scrutinised for messages about the national direction of the major parties.
For all of them, it will be the first electoral test since the 2019 General Election – dominated by Brexit, featured different leaders and, of course, before the pandemic upended normal life.
Also happening on May are elections for the Derbyshire police and crime commissioner, and the Wirksworth and Masson wards of Derbyshire Dales District Council.
Sue Burfoot – Liberal Democrats
I have lived in Matlock for over 40 years, worked at Highfields School for 25, served as a town and district councillor for more than 17 and county councillor for Matlock and Tansley since 2017.
It is a privilege to represent local residents. I care deeply about our community and am acutely aware of the problems we face. If re-elected, I will continue to take up issues of concern, represent public views, and speak out for what is important.
I hope residents find me approachable, hard-working, and responsive, whether on minor issues or the huge challenges facing Matlock.
In so many ways, we have been let down by Conservative administrations at county level: the choice of a Traveller site above Tansley, planning issues, flooding and lack of infrastructure, road safety problems, and the threat to close care homes. New housing developments on our remaining green fields are increasing pressure on NHS and GP services.
The council cabinet system excludes cooperation between parties but as part of the local Liberal Democrat team, I have a proven track record of action.
My aim is for a fairer, greener and more caring Derbyshire. I will press to transform work practices in response to climate change and biodiversity loss; to make schools, social care and mental health a priority; for more investment in rural bus services; and to involve young people in decision-making, given economic uncertainty, inequality, debt and an affordable housing crisis.
Christabel Holland – Green Party
I was born in Chesterfield hospital and raised in Birchover where I have lived nearly all my life. Over those 23 years I have grown to care passionately about our local area and a sustainable and eco-friendly future.
When elected, I would seek to address the climate emergency we now face. No matter where you live in the world, we can see real changes in our climate and we need urgent action.
I have signed the Derbyshire Climate Coalition’s pledge to implement a Climate Action Plan to cut carbon emissions drastically by 2030 and to make the climate a central consideration in the council’s actions.
On top of this, I will represent the voices of Matlock in planning and development, advocating for sustainable future housing with a positive environmental impact, not a detrimental one.
Furthermore, I will promote the 20's Plenty campaign to addresses the issues of speeding in our area, particularly around schools, parks and heavily pedestrianised areas, so people feel safe and secure when walking.
Education is a golden opportunity for young people, and I will work to ensure that the future of education in Matlock is protected by addressing the current academisation proposals of Highfields and listening to all stakeholders.
I believe in accountability and transparency, so I will always be on hand, open and honest about my views. If you want a young and energetic environmentalist on your county council, please consider voting for me.
Trevor Page – Labour & Co-operative Party
I live in Starkholmes with my family and, in my free time I love to walk our dog, Frankie, all across Derbyshire.
I work at a university students’ union, helping the students get the great educational experience that they deserve.
I believe that this is a fantastic county and should be one of the best places in the UK to live for everyone.
I am standing for election to the council to make sure that this is the case.
Derbyshire needs a dramatic change of direction with a Labour-led council committed to genuine and deliverable environmental sustainability, as well as better and safer roads.
A Labour council would also mean a county that is more attractive to business, bringing great jobs for local people.
In Matlock we need to concentrate on investing in our young people and it is shameful that a local school like Highfields is considering joining a Nottingham-based academy trust because the Conservative-led county council does not give them the support they want and need.
Another important priority for me will be to create safer and cleaner roads by introducing 20 mile per hour speed limit zones.
This will make roads more user-friendly and reduce pollution.
To achieve all these things, Derbyshire needs a Labour county council, and Matlock needs a Labour councillor.
Valerie Taylor – Conservative Party
Having lived and worked in Derbyshire my whole life, I count my blessings every day that we live here. It is a fantastic place to live, but that does not mean it cannot be better.
I am passionate about making sure that everything is done to make Matlock the best it can be. All candidates stand because they want to see their area improve, but the Conservatives have a fully-costed, common sense action plan to deliver on our promises.
I want businesses to thrive as we move out of lockdown. Conservatives will encourage entrepreneur with £10m start-up support, give £200,000 more to help small businesses recover, and continue working towards full broadband coverage.
I am a wife, mother, and grandmother and climate change is one of the most important issues to me. Conservatives are determined to be net zero as an authority by 2032 and work on flood alleviation schemes. We are investing £100m into a green infrastructure fund, allocating £10m to support businesses and communities become greener, helping to plant 1m more trees, and installing 1,000 electric vehicle charge points.
I know that traffic and speeding are a concern for residents. By investing £120m to improve our roads over the next three years, implementing free companion bus passes for disabled pass holders, and introducing speed reduction and clean air schemes where there is local support, Conservatives are tackling this issue.
I am a hard worker and will give my all to the people of Matlock.
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