It is the last night before the Amber Valley Borough Council elections, with leafleters out in force and candidates patrolling the region brandishing their party’s rosette.
Control of the authority currently rests in the balance of 23 seats to the Conservatives and 22 to Labour, with no other political representation, making this year’s voting of significant interest.
One seat could change the face – or the colour – of the borough council, with Belper emerging as one of the key battlegrounds with tight seats right across the region.
With the Tories and Labour dominating Amber Valley politics, the Liberal Democrats and Green Party, one independent – Steven White in Belper South – and a member of the National Front – Timothy Knowles in Langley Mill & Aldercar – are looking to expand the authority’s political make-up.
But what are each of the political parties pledging?
- More free car parking to help boost town centres
- Increase number of shared ownership and affordable homes
- Start feasibility study into drawing more hotel companies to build in Amber Valley to boost visitor economy
- Improvements for A610 corridor Ripley, Codnor – Woodlinkin
- Invest £290,000 for replacement Belper River Gardens tearooms
- New sports pavilion at Greenwich Park, Ripley
- New bowls clubhouse, Heanor
- Two new multi-use games areas at Lockton Avenue, Heanor and Charles Hill Playing Fields, Loscoe and replace the paddling pool in Heanor Memorial Park with a splash pad
- Work with the police to tackle anti-social behaviour.
- Oppose development in the “precious” green belt and give priority to brownfield sites
- Reinstate wider CCTV coverage and work with the police to reduce crime
- Re-introduce a dedicated dog warden scheme
- Reinstate the ‘Councillor Community Fund’ to enable community groups to access funding
- Refurbish the town centres to clear weeds and repair paving
- Increase the openness of the council and keep residents better informed
- Unlock brownfield sites (including the long overdue Belper East Mill) for development with “appropriate” housing
- Oppose cuts in community services whilst fighting for more community hospitals and education centres
- Improve leisure facilities for all residents
- Provide greater support for heritage sites, increase the range of activities and facilities for younger people
- Improve cycle tracks throughout the area
- Will be an independent voice on the council – not following strict national party lines
- Will work hard for the electorate, all year round.
- Campaign on the issues the electorate have told them are important to them
By Eddie Bisknell, Local Democracy Reporter