THE three parties competing for positions on Kendal Town Council have made appeals for support.
The public will head to the polls on May 5 to vote for candidates from the Liberal Democrats, The Green Party and Labour.
The council currently comprises 25 Lib Dem councillors and three Greens.
Fell ward candidate Giles Archibald was keen to emphasise the Lib Dems’ environmental credentials, saying his party would bring the recommendations made by the town’s citizens’ jury to fruition and would ‘establish the potential for Kendal to generate our own renewable energy’.
“We are working on a Dark Skies project to reduce light pollution and aid biodiversity, and we’re also working to introduce 20mph zones, where appropriate, to reduce emissions, improve air quality and make our town safer,” he said.
He referred to the funding of tree planting at Fletcher Park and ‘being the first town council in the country to set up and help fund a citizens’ jury on climate change’ as among the previous successes of his party.
The Green Party was also keen to emphasise its role in bringing about the citizens’ jury.
Strickland ward candidate Laura Miller said Green councillor Chris Rowley had ‘brought forward several vital initiatives including the citizens’ jury’ and that the jury would not have happened ‘had he not been there to challenge and evolve the long-established council’.
Ms Miller said the Liberal Democrats’ hold on the town council was ‘simply not good for democracy and not good for Kendal’.
“Councils need to have decision-making scrutinised – with one-party dominance, this just doesn’t happen,” she said.
“A Green in the room changes the entire conversation in the council chamber – to one about a positive vision of Kendal’s bright future.”
Fell ward and Labour candidate Virginia Branney advised people against ‘tactically’ voting for parties besides her own.
“There are no Conservative Party candidates standing in the Kendal Town Council elections, so there is simply no danger of ‘letting in a Tory’ if you vote Labour,” she said.
“Our doorstep conversations with residents are showing that, after years of Liberal Democrat domination, there is increasing openness to having fresh voices on the council from Labour and The Green Party.”
Ms Branney said there was ‘growing support’ for the view that a mixed-party council was needed ‘to make progress on tackling big issues such as the shortage of affordable housing, climate change and improving traffic management in Kendal’.