Pledge to improve area

Shaun Hodson (Hemsworth)
Shaun Hodson (Hemsworth)

THE FOUR newly elected councillors for the Express area have pledged to make a difference for its residents.

Shaun Hodson took the Hemsworth ward replacing Ian Womersley, who resigned earlier this year.

Coun Hodson took 57.5 per cent of the vote, ahead of Independent Jim Kenyon and Conservative Philip Davies. He said he will make job opportunities a priority.

Coun Hodson said: “Education is the key to the success of our community and as well as jobs, I will focus on how we can work together to ensure that all sections of the community, young and old, have access to education in the form of training or high quality school education.”

Labour’s Faith Heptinstall took the Crofton, Ryhill and Walton ward, replacing Conservative councillor Susan Lodge, who did not stand.

Coun Heptinstall gained 67.3 per cent of the vote ahead of Conservative candidate, Allan Couch.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been elected to represent the people in Ward 5. I meet people every day who have been badly affected by the coalition government and would like to see improvements to the quality of lives of the most vulnerable.”

In Ackworth, North Elmsall and Upton, Martyn Ward won for Labour - replacing Conservative Richard Molloy, who did not seek re-election.

He gained 62.4 per cent of the votes ahead of Conservative candidate, Don Marshall.

Coun Ward said: “I feel privileged, proud and extremely pleased to have been elected.

“I will work hard to ensure that their trust is rewarded and that people’s views are represented wherever possible. I will be a strong voice for the local community”

And in South Elmsall and South Kirkby, Michelle Collins also won for Labour - replacing Independent Wilf Benson.

She took 56.1 per cent of the votes, while Coun Benson gained 38.6 per cent, and Conservative candidate Christian I’Anson received 5.3 per cent.

Coun Collins said: “I am delighted that the people I grew up with and the communities I grew up in have elected me to represent them.

“I asked them to put their trust in me to do a good job and I won’t let them down. It really is a rejection of what the Tories are doing nationally and shows that people here know that Labour is the only party who can stand up for them in tough times.”

Coun Benson, who stood on the council for four years, said: “I am very disappointed not to be re-elected but it was a Labour landslide and I was caught in the crossfire. I would like to thank everyone who supported and stood by me.”

The Conservative conceded nine seats to Labour, and the independents councillors also suffered, losing three seats to Labour.

The Conservative party held onto just one seat and saw their leader Coun Mark Crowther lose his Pontefract South seat to Labour councillor Celia Loughran.

Labour leader Coun Peter Box held on to his seat in the Whitwood and Altofts Ward.

Coun Box said: “I am very pleased with the gains Labour has made. It is firstly down to our investment in the district but there are also serious national issues at play.”

Labour now holds a majority of 41 seats on the council.