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Elections: Who runs Potters Bar - you decide
With just weeks to go before voters rush to the polls to decide who will take the helm at Hertsmere Borough Council, the Times Series catches up with the main parties to find out what they plan to bring to Potters Bar.
Unlike the nearby London boroughs, which elect their whole council in one election every four years, Hertsmere works differently.
Elections are held annually, when a third of councillors are elected for a four year term. However, every four years, Hertfordshire County Council holds its own elections.
But a Tory-led proposal could change all that next year, as a motion to create a system where councillors are voted every four years is due to be heard by Hertfordshire County Council in June.
The authority is currently made up solely of Conservatives and Labour councillors, with no Liberal Democrat, Green or UK Independence Party representatives holding any seats.
Comprising of Borehamwood, Bushey, Potters Bar and Shenley, 35 seats belong to the Tories, with Labour holding just four seats.
In all three Potters Bar wards – Oakmere, Furzefield and Parkfield - the nine councillors form part of the Conservative party.
However, the Labour group have no chance of leading the council this year even if they were to win the majority vote because theoretically, this would still leave them with 16 seats.
With 39 seats up for grabs on the council, the leading party would need to win a majority of 20 seats to take power.
Conservative leader Morris Bright told the Times Series the party would continue to build in a way that "benefits" the area – including new homes, retail blocks, schools and health facilities.
He said: "If you look at the independent surveys in recent years, 90 per cent of people are happy in the area and Hertsmere was named as the happiest place to live in Hertfordshire.
"People trust this authority with the conservatives. The reality of it is we won’t make promises we can’t keep, and we don’t raise promises unnecessarily. We ask residents what they want, and listen."
In the last five years, the Tories – along with the county and town councils – have frozen council tax to make a collective saving of £300 a year per household.
"We won’t cut services, we’ll continue to improve them," he added.
Labour leader Ann Harrison raised concerns about the lack of affordable housing in the borough, and fears it will force local people out of Hertsmere.
She said: "We understand that’s a government policy – but at least give the residents something. Only a third of houses being built will be affordable."
Other issues the Labour group have pledged to improve include filling the borough’s pothole-ridden streets.
The opportunity of providing candidates to enable voters to exercise their democratic prerogative of choice remains a core objective of UKIP in all elections now and in the future.
UKIP is contesting 12 seats, with former Labour councillor Frank Ward now leader of Hertsmere branch of the party.
He said: "We have a wide range of candidates for the local elections with experience of living within the community of Hertsmere.
"We listen patiently to complaints from members of the public about the serial failure of both Conservative and Labour elected councillors to place their needs and interests before the policies of their respective parties.
"Unlike the other three main parties which are jaded and arrogant in taking the public for granted, UKIP as a new party with new ideas and new hope for the future will place the needs of the people before party political interests."
A Hertsmere Liberal Democrat representative was unavailable at the time of going to press.
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