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A call to vote! Make your mind up time on your next South West Holderness Ward Councillor

A call to vote! Make your mind up time on your next South West Holderness Ward Councillor. Candidates answer some questions from residents.

BY-ELECTION DAY LOOMS. Tomorrow (Thursday, 6 May 2021) your votes will decide who the next councillor is to represent you and the South West Holderness Ward on the East Riding of Yorkshire Council. Polling stations will be open from 7am – 10pm.

** Polling Stations will be safe places to vote! Remember to take your face mask and your own pen/pencil! Follow the guidance posted in the station and via polling station staff. **

Polling Stations:

  • Hedon Methodist Church, Church Lane Hedon
  • Hedon Kingstown Hotel Mobile unit
  • Paull Village Hall,
  • Thorngumbald Village Hall
  • Preston Community Hall
Graphic of the four candidates.

Do use your vote. The councillor elected will be your representative for at least the next two years!

Many people have already voted in the by-election by post and so have already made their minds up. But for those that haven’t then this just might convince you to vote for or against a particular candidate.

We asked residents to submit questions to the candidates. We present those questions here and the responses from each candidate. Many, many thanks to each of the candidates for taking the time out from their busy campaign schedules to answer these specific questions from residents and an additional one from the Editor of HU12 Online. Click the candidate’s name to see the answer.

Note: One candidate did contact me regarding the content required. I did reply that short and concise was probably best. – Ray Duffill, Editor.

Question 1: Is it important for a candidate to live in the ward they want to represent? – Ray from Hedon.

James Baron – Independent

Hi Ray, in my opinion if you do not live in the area you represent then you cannot truly serve the electorate. How can somebody that does not live in the ward area understand the issues facing local people. I know many people in this ward from Preston down into Thorngumbald. I have met thousands of people through my volunteering and coaching at Hedon Rangers, I have lived and been schooled in Paull and Hedon. I went to South Holderness School in my teens. I use the pubs and I use the shops. I run a successful online forum that highlights local issues. How can anybody from outside this area suggest they can offer better representation? They cannot, and its vital that somebody who lives in this area is elected.

Steve Gallant – Labour Party

Resident Councillors – I do think it is important that Ward Councillors should live in the community they seek to represent. Not only should they live here, they should be actively involved and available. I am not only a Town
Councillor, but also the Chair of Governors at Holderness Academy. I’ve been involved in all the HedFests and chaired the Armistice Centenary for Hedon.
I don’t see how the 2 candidates who don’t live here can truly represent local people’s views to East Riding.

Matthew Grove – Liberal Democrats

What is important is that the ward is represented by a capable and committed person who is part of the community. Many people who rely upon the services and facilities of the Ward and are very much part of the community, live outside of the boundary. I have a proven track record of standing up for residents at local, regional and National level. In the past I met with the then Minister of the Environment, Hilliary Ben M.P. in Hedon town hall, securing significant funding for flood prevention works in our area. I am recognised by people as they have seen me on Look North or heard me on radio Humberside fighting for residents interests.

David Winter – Conservative

Not important. It is the quality of the candidate and the ability of the representative to sort issues out for the area of South West Holderness as soon as possible.


Question 2: As a Conservative voter, I would like to seek advice regarding the volume of traffic on Middle Lane, Preston. This lane is an access only, however, this doesn’t deter traffic cutting through to miss the lights. I’ve been in contact with Preston traffic watch but, they are only interested in traffic going through the village. I live on Middle Lane and the volume of traffic has escalated since I moved here 4 years ago. I have been in contact with East Riding council who have informed me they’re unable to assist. Police have also monitored the lane. My concern is that with the crematorium build, this is going to heighten this situation further. – Mel from Preston.

James Baron – Independent

Hi Mel, this “rat run” has always been a concern and it is not only the crematorium that will increase the pressure, the new housing development on Sproatley road will also increase traffic in your vicinity. The police can only do so much. East Riding council MUST assess this issue and the issue Preston has with traffic urgently. They have promised a review. I am not sure it will happen. The current ward councillors have not made any progress on this issue for as long as I can remember. A By-pass is badly needed for Preston and I pledge to put real pressure on the conservatives at County Hall on this subject. I will start a Ward action group to look at the issue of roads. The wider area will see many changes in the next 5 years especially with the growth of industry. It is my opinion that taxes originating from these industries and being paid to the East Riding should be used in THIS area! I will campaign for real infrastructure spending.

Steve Gallant – Labour Party

Traffic In Preston – East Riding have given the go ahead to the Crematorium without any firm promise to address the bottleneck in Preston. This, along with the other projects they have passed is going to exacerbate the problem in Preston and Hedon.
The only solution to the Preston bottleneck and rat run on Middle Lane is a bypass. It would need funding from the Govt, but they currently have over £20bn earmarked for road improvements, so East Riding and Highways need to make a case for a little of that money to come to Holderness.
I got Hedon and local parish Councils to endorse my proposal for a relief road from Thorn Road up to Lelley Road, which make even more sense with the location of the Crematorium.
There are bypasses for Coniston, Long Riston, Leven, Brandesburton and south of Hedon. So why can’t the narrow medieval streets of Hedon and Preston have a relief road?

Matthew Grove – Liberal Democrats

The traffic congestion in Preston is a disgrace and has been for many years. I am outraged that not only has nothing been done to tackle this growing problem, but now the East Riding are adding to it with their development of the crematorium. If elected, Preston’s traffic problem will be a priority for me. With respect to middle lane, this lane is regularly used as a rat run illegally, whistle all appreciate that the police have other priorities to attend to, it would be very easy to use cameras to enforce the access only restriction. This has recently been championed by my Liberal Democrat colleagues in Hessle with a similar problem who installed cameras.

David Winter – Conservative

Until a bypass is built and the necessary road improvements are made these types of issues will keeping arising. I have a great deal of sympathy for Mel from Preston. I will do everything in my power to get the necessary road improvements that are urgently required.


Question 3: I, like many others in the area, was horrified to hear of Ofsted’s ‘inadequate’ finding in respect of ERYC’s children’s services/child protection; worryingly this implies some of the most vulnerable children and families living in our area are receiving the support they need too late or not at all. What experience do candidates have of a) leading culture change in organisations and/or b) scrutinising the performance of public services? Experience/ability in those areas at member level will be key to turning that Ofsted rating around. – Ben from Hedon.

James Baron – Independent

Hi Ben, I too share your disbelief and anger at the Ofsted report. Recent reports suggest the area is making progress and that the correct support is now being allocated through the EhASH system, more of the time. There is a drive to increase the uptake in the relevant qualifications for this role and that is also encouraging. On the flip there is an increase in referrals in many other aspects that fall under the children’s services umbrella. Referrals for mental health and eating disorders are an example. Now is the time for all elected representatives to pull together and properly scrutinise, support and campaign to ensure these tentative steps forward in the process are maintained. As a further education professional, I have led teams through significant changes within its own specialism. I have experienced the process of Ofsted, not just in the field of education but in all other associated aspects of educating our young people. From increasing inclusion and working with multi agencies to ensuring every aspect of the safeguarding process is followed. I have since moved back into working fully in the Construction industry and I continue to build on that success of implementing positive change within my current management role.

Steve Gallant – Labour Party

Children’s Services rated Inadequate – It is shameful that East Riding is failing those children most in need of support. And it is a growing problem. 1 in 4 Children in ER live in poverty, and that has shot up over the last year.
I have had extensive experience of leading culture changes in my business career, and more recently improving Holderness Academy (which was rated inadequate a few years ago). The school has been transformed in the 4 years since I took the Chair and under the new Headteacher. As Chair, scrutinising all the school’s policies especially in regard to safeguarding and the use of pupil premium to help the disadvantaged students is absolutely key to the role.
East Ridings failings mean the schools, and sadly the Police, are often having to provide the safety net for students. So I’m determined to see East Riding overhaul its current performance for children.

Matthew Grove – Liberal Democrats

There can be few things more important than the care and support of our most vulnerable. I and my Liberal Democrat colleagues share your horror and have challenged this unacceptable failure. The fact that the Conservative Councillor responsible retained her role, after OFSTED said she failed to “understand her role”,  says all you need to know about the ruling Conservative Group’s priorities.
As the first elected Police and Crime Commissioner for Humberside, I was faced with a failing critical Public Service. I identified the issues and challenged the Chief Constable to bring about the long overdue changes. It is the politician’s role to challenge, identify failings, prioritise and resource, which will then bring about the necessary cultural change.

David Winter – Conservative

This is a concern to us all and not acceptable. I have 25 years of experience in public service and I very much hope this will benefit and help alleviate the problems in this area.


Question 4: Having lived in this peaceful well-kept village for almost 33 years it’s very disappointing to see it decline. Dog poo everywhere including the CHILDRENS playing field. Litter covers the village. Children’s play areas are not maintained. Reported fault equipment takes weeks to be looked at. Often removed rather than repaired. Theft & violence on the increase. Grass verges and football pitches never are cut until either we report them or they are very overgrown. Reports to parish council; East Riding and the Police are ignored or acted on too late. What will our councillors do to bring our village back to the safe well-kept village it once was? Council tax keeps rising including parish tax BUT we see very little for our money in EAST riding. Is it all being spent in the West? – Lynn from Thorngumbald.

James Baron – Independent

Hi Lynn. The question you ask is one which effects every part of this Ward. I am a firm believer in working hard with other stakeholders (such as the police and councils) to address this issue quickly. My approach is simple. The council (both ER and Parish) need to create a space which is inviting and well maintained. Grass should be cut at regular intervals and to a shorter length. Bins and signs need to be positioned and Health and safety visits completed. The ASB issues should be addressed using CCTV (fitted for a fixed time) and regular visits at known times of incidents by the police. Anybody committing littering, Damage or ASB should be dealt with correctly and simply not asked to disperse. I have started and continue to spread the word of Hedon Litter pickers. I have groups interested in starting up in Thorngumbald and Paull. Creating that safe environment will, in turn, help to reduce acts of vandalism and ASB. Young children will take ownership of those areas and the people causing the problems will move on. By doing this, those young children who have a well-maintained public space will look after it in years to come and be less likely to cause problems in the future. If you hit the issue hard, using the council, the police force, and local groups you will see long term benefits. If I get elected real pressure will be put on all stakeholders to ensure this happens.

Steve Gallant – Labour Party

Thorngumbald issues – I would take up the grass cutting and maintainence issues with the parish council. It’s one of the Parish’s prime responsibilities to keep green and play areas pristine. Hedon TC does a great job, so Thorn need to step up!
Sadly, the last year has seen the problems of littering and dog poo increase in all parts of the ward, not just Thorngumbald. Indeed, its not just here, its all over the country as people have had to be outdoors.
I don’t think East Riding provide enough staff to deal with litter, dog fouling (or traffic wardens for parking offences). If you don’t provide the staff, you can’t enforce the law and provide a deterrent to this anti-social behaviour.
There is also a community angle to this. The Hedon Litter Picker volunteers have got materials from East Riding to help tackle the problem and keep the town tidy. They’ve done a great job. I’d be happy to help set up a group for Thorngumbald.
East Riding under resource this over the whole county, but in terms of investment in our roads, flood prevention and high streets Holderness has not had a good deal from Beverley.

Matthew Grove – Liberal Democrats

This is a big question. The vey fact that you see and care about these issues is the first step to improving our environment. You will not be alone and in fact you are part of the silent majority, who care and are responsible. Some of the issues need raising with the Parish Council or other agencies, which, if elected, I would be happy to assist with. With regard to dog fouling, as a dog owner myself it is utterly unacceptable not to clean up after our pets. It requires both enforcement and education which is why it was disappointing that the ERYC Conservatives voted down a proposal by my Liberal Democrat collegues to increase spending by 50k on enforcement which would have increased fines. They also blocked an increase in education and public awareness of 20%. I have in the past spoken about this issue on Radio Humberside where I urged people to report offenders and if possible and safe, take photographs to be used as evidence in prosecutions.

David Winter – Conservative

I have a lot of sympathy for your question.
Regarding dog foul and litter, my advice is to report the guilty parties to ERYC. Thorngumbald has an excellent Parish Council and I am sure if they are approached on these issues you have mentioned action will be taken. Theft and violence are not acceptable. My advice is to talk to the Police and the Parish Council. A meeting with them both may be the way forward.


Question 5: To those who live in the area, it is clear that Hedon is a town that is nowhere near achieving its potential and lacks some sense of identity. Steeped in history, home to affluent residents and very close to Hull it appears that, with the right direction and the right elected representatives, it could be a thriving hub with a mix of local residents and those from nearby towns and city making use of a greater range of things to do here. What is your vision for the area and are there any particular projects or areas of improvement you would champion if elected? How would you like to see Hedon evolve and achieve its potential under your leadership? – Ben from Hedon.

James Baron – Independent

Hi Ben. Hedon needs to evolve rapidly, and I recognise that. Before Christmas I sent out a drawing of Hedon centre showing what it could look like with a piazza type centre. Due to the pandemic, changes in shopping habits are happening quicker than expected. The model Hedon currently has is out of date and needs addressing before we lose many of the shops and traders for good. Firstly, an attractive centre area is needed to encourage footfall. Our fantastic pubs and restaurants could serve people in the Piazza centre. I am sure other traders would move into this area. My vision for Hedon is for a multi-use centre with eating and drinking at its core. A centre used for business meetings and working lunches. A place where a trip to the salon is followed by eating out with friends. The traditional market can be used alongside this idea. Footfall to the shops will increase with this innovative idea. Hedon will become busier for longer during the day and night. Hedon will increase its returning visitor numbers. Now it is stagnated at best. We need fresh ideas to move forward, and I have shown that I can provide them.

Steve Gallant – Labour Party

Hedon’s future – Many small towns have been struggling as people choose to shop online, and banks and pubs close. Hedon has some challenges, but the high street is actually quite vibrant with many new businesses and still serves as the hub for this whole area. There is a balance to achieve between preserving its historic identity and continuing to develop for the residents.
East Riding’s Planning Committee giving the go ahead to two huge industrial developments on the edge of the town provide both opportunities and threats to deal with.
If we can secure the bypass, that will enable the character of the town centre to be more user friendly to shoppers, for entertainment and even attract tourism. With some investment, Hedon could have the same vibe as a “smaller Beverley or Market Weighton”.

Matthew Grove – Liberal Democrats

FIrstly I believe Hedon and the surrounding villages are fantastic places to live and work. Our first priority must be to protect what we already have.The greatest threats to the area come from the expansion of the adjacent industrial and urban areas of hull causing the distinct character and identity of our area being lost forever. To combat this we must insist on significant landscaping works to shield our communities. Just as important is the growing traffic problem that will be worsened by further developments. The voice of the area must be heard and improvements to our road network delivered, especially in Preston.

David Winter – Conservative

Hedon is a lovely place to live. Careful decisions on house building and future industrial developments need careful monitoring to allow Hedon to move forward in a way the residents would appreciate and benefit from.


Question 6: So far, I’ve only had election flyers through my letterbox for Steve Gallant and Matthew Grove (note submitted April 19 – Editor). In both, they state their local credentials – living here, working here, holding responsibilities here. Mr Gallant’s leaflets were printed in Northumberland and Mr Groves in Manchester. Hardly local. While I appreciate that it’s a small matter, could they have not further endorsed their support for the area by choosing a more local service provider? Every little bit counts. – Steven from Camerton.

James Baron – Independent

Hi Steven. As the only independent candidate I have had to fund and distribute my election material myself. I have relied on my social media network to increase my visibility. I supported Green Print in Hedon before my campaign began and have used them for my election leaflet printing. Not only does this support a local business but it reduces the impact a campaign can have on the environment through over bearing postal campaigns and letter drops.

Steve Gallant – Labour Party

Local support – I’m glad Steven from Camerton has had my Address. (My family lived in Camerton for many years). I do use and support local businesses, spending many thousands each year locally. But we do have strict limits on election spending and using the one in Northumberland was very cost effective.

Matthew Grove

Fair comment. The vast majority of my literature delivered has been printed by local volunteers in this area. With a couple of leaflets which we wished to use colour, we relied upon our national party’s arrangements to get best value, which with our modest funds provided by small local donations is essential. Our party does not enjoy the limitless funds available to some parties from big business or the Trades Unions. We are funded by local residents for local residents.

David Winter – Conservative

As the Conservative candidate my literature was produced locally at Tickton.


Question 7: The recently approved ABP development between Hedon and Paull promises to offer a lot of new jobs for the area and a boost to the local economy. However, a lot of the buildings don’t have occupiers yet, there are no guarantees of jobs going to locals and the public consultation has been extremely limited at best. What are your thoughts on the development and strengths/weaknesses of ERYC’s current planning approval process? – David from Thorngumbald.

James Baron – Independent

Hi David, I personally do not believe in the Conservative local plan system. It is devised over a lengthy period and does not allow for subsequent changes to the economy or trends in development. It allows very little development outside of that plan however good that development plan is. The planning committee at the council is lacking any real construction or development experience. I have often watched meetings amazed at the lack of knowledge shown on many of the subjects discussed.

The area has a very real chance to be a world leader in renewable energy. I believe the LEP has the chance to drive this area forward and hope the great work carried out by Lord Haskins is continued. The Freeport could be a real game changer for investment in this area. A multitude of reasons are driving this growth post pandemic and I want to help drive this area forward with the wider Humber area. Developments are now going to happen, but correct and thorough processes must be followed. Just because I believe in a project does not mean I will not fully scrutinise the subsequent planning applications to ensure all concerns from residents and businesses are taken into consideration. This will be a hard task as the ABP development has travelled through local government and through the desks of our ward members unchallenged since 2012. This area needs somebody who will challenge the planning process at every step to ensure the best outcome for everybody. That person is me and I look forward to the challenge of ensuring every concern is heard and every planning decision is adhered to as the developments progress through there subsequent stages.

Steve Gallant – Labour Party

ABP Development – East Ridings Planning Committee is a complete disgrace. They have passed two huge estates of warehousing in this Ward. The YEP one was in breach of the Local Plan and against officials advice, on land designated Not for Development due to the high risk of flooding. Local opinion was also strongly against it but all that was ignored. It’s a shame one candidate was actually in favour of this! Now they have passed the ABP plan too – which has been in the pipeline for years. The consultation was a farce – a couple of one hour zoom meetings!
But the battle over these is not over. Each building will need planning permission and there will be opportunities to scale back the developments. Indeed I hope the rapid switch to renewable energy may yet make the YEP development uneconomic to go ahead! I am the only candidate who has a record of fighting these two huge industrial developments.
East Riding Councillors ignored all planning considerations for the promise of jobs. But warehouse jobs are part-time zero hour contracts that do not provide the careers we would really want for our youngsters. If elected I will continue to oppose the YEP development and the scale of the ABP plans which threaten to ruin the character of this Ward.

Matthew Grove – Liberal Democrats

There are significant potential benefits from the huge developments underway or about to start. We must seize all possible opportunities to secure as many of the jobs and contracts as possible for our residents, and businesses. We have a particular opportunity for our young people to access good quality apprenticeships and training, leading to well paid careers. 
I am not impressed with the performance of the East Riding planning function. I do not believe they have addressed significant areas of concern to properly protect residents from the clear and obvious negative impacts. Traffic management has not been adequately addressed,  visual impact and loss of our separation from Hull could be much better. I hope that with further detailed applications, lessons have been learned and the planning process can better protect at the same time as securing direct benefits for our community, such as agreements to provide apprenticeships, ring fenced for the young people of the HU12 area.

David Winter – Conservative

My views on this are mixed.The road improvements in the area need putting in place. This should have been done before any planning decision granted or even discussed. Traffic issues are only going to get worse. On the ERYC planning process the 12 committee members are guided by the Case Officer far too much and at times are not strong enough with applications. The ABP site is on allocated land and stopping it would be difficult. Personally the application should have been postponed until the Covid 19 pandemic was sorted. Not enough consultation has been allowed. Only the outline permission is granted. Hopefully when it comes to the reserved matters strict conditions are imposed.


 Question 8 (from HU12 Online): Complaints about dog fouling are one of the most common received from local residents. A recent Freedom of Information request to ERYC revealed the following:

The number of fixed penalty notices issued by the council for dog fouling in each of the years 2015-2020.

  • 2015 – 11
  • 2016 – 28
  • 2017 – 30
  • 2018 – 2
  • 2019 – 3
  • 2020 – 1

The number of complaints about dog fouling made to ERYC by telephone, email or online reporting.

  • 2015 – 609
  • 2016 – 482
  • 2017 – 436
  • 2018 – 571
  • 2020 – 384

With enforcement levels so low but complaints still considered high, how do you think ERYC should tackle the issue of dog fouling?

James Baron – Independent

Hi Ray, in addressing this issue it will take hard work from local councillors and ward members. Trials have taken place where action groups have patrolled areas where the problem is significant. I believe this should happen in our area. Alongside this idea, sufficient bins and an increase in social responsibility is needed. If you have a grass field or country path which is well maintained and well used by the public, you are less likely that to find people misusing that area. That includes dog owners. It takes a collective push in the right direction and that must come from people like myself if I am given the responsibility of being a representative of this area. It is not good enough to just trot out the “party line” on the subject which is what happens now.

Steve Gallant – Labour Party

Dog Fouling – We have already touched on this. The problem seems to have got worse over the last year, with more people getting dogs during lockdowns. In Hedon, the Town Council is working with the local schools to raise awareness of the health implications.
Clearly East Riding do not have enough officers on the ground dealing with this. The number of penalties issued is pathetic. So there is no real deterrent until this is addressed. There is an issue of catching people “in the act” as it were. So residents have role here as well to keep reporting it. Personally I think naming and shaming could really help reduce the problem.

Matthew Grove – Liberal Democrats

As a dog owner myself it is utterly unacceptable not to clean up after our pets. It requires both enforcement and education which is why it was disappointing that the ERYC Conservatives voted down a proposal by my Liberal Democrat colleges to increase spending by 50k on enforcement which would have increased fines. They also blocked an increase in education and public awareness of 20 %. I have in the past spoken about this issue on Radio Humberside where I urged people to report offenders and if possible and safe, take photographs to be used as evidence in prosecutions.

David Winter – Conservative

Encourage people to write in and have the courage of their convictions to press for prosecutions. Bins, posters and signs don’t stop dog fouling – a substantial fine may.

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