Burnley and Padiham prepare to go to the polls

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VOTERS across Burnley and Padiham will head to polling stations for the local elections and the referendum on changes to the national voting system next week.

On Thursday, polling stations across the borough will be open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. to allow residents to cast their votes for a councillor for their ward.

There are 67,051 people in the town who are eligible to vote and there are 15 seats up for grabs – one in each of the borough’s wards. The current make-up of the council is: Lib-Dems 23, Labour 14, Conservatives 5, British National Party 2 and Independent 1,

But the council’s only independent councillor, John Jones, has decided not to seek re-election and there are no independent candidates standing. Also, Labour’s Imtiaz Hussain was disqualified from the council for non-attendence and the BNP’s Len Starr and Lib-Dems’ Maureen McCaffrey have decided to stand down. The Lib-Dems have also lost long-serving councillor Frank Ashworth, who died in February.

There is speculation that the vote could leave Burnley with a hung council, which means that no one party has overall control. This has happened previously and has led to defections and cross-party coalitions to enable control of the council to be taken.

Of the 48 candidates, the largest numbers are being fielded by the current ruling Lib-Dems and the Labour Party, with 15 each. The Conservatives have 10 nominees, the BNP has seven and the UK Independence Party has put forward one.

The candidates are (* denotes sitting councillor) : Bank Hall – John Fifield (Lab); Gordon Lishman (Lib-Dem). Briercliffe – Brian Cooper (Lab), Anne Kelly* (Lib-Dem), Susan Nutter (Con). Brunshaw – Alex Harrison (Con), Kathryn Haworth (Lib-Dem), Mark Townsend (Lab). Cliviger with Worsthorne – Tony Martin (Lab), Paula Riley (Lib-Dem), Cosima Towneley* (Con). Coal Clough with Deerplay – Margaret Brindle (Lib-Dem), Anthony Jackson (Con), Alex McLachlan (Lab), Angela Denise Vanns (BNP). Daneshouse with Stoneyholme – Wajid Khan* (Lab), Abdul Rokib (Lib-Dem). Gannow – Charlie Briggs* (Lib-Dem), Stephen Large (Lab), Barry Robinson (Con), David Shapcott (BNP). Gawthorpe – David Carter (Lib-Dem), John Harbour* (Lab), Paul Robinson (BNP). Hapton with Park – Derek Dawson (BNP), Joanne Greenwood (Lab), Claire McCann (Lib-Dem), Victoria Taylor (Con). Lanehead – Paul Coates (Con), Michael McHugh (UKIP), Ann Royle (Lab), Martin Smith* (Lib-Dem). Queensgate – Janet Brown (Lib-Dem), Mohammed Arif Khan* (Lab). Rosegrove with Lowerhouse – Mathew Isherwood (Con), Paul McDevitt (BNP), Kate Mottershead (Lib-Dem), Paul Reynolds* (Lab). Rosehill with Burnley Wood – Paul Campbell (Lab), Tracy Kennedy (Lib-Dem), Christopher William Vanns (BNP). Trinity – Martyn Hurt (Lib-Dem), Liz Monk* (Lab), Jack Picton (Con), Chris Vanns (BNP). Whittlefield with Ightenhill – Ida Carmichael* (Con), Nicholas Madden (Lab), Debbie Porter (Lib-Dem).

Voters are also being asked to vote for or against the introduction of the Alternative Vote system. This seeks to replace the “first past the post system” currently used in General Elections to AV which entails ranking candidates in order of preference so that second or third choices can be taken into consideration to enable one candidate to gain at least 50% of the votes.

Votes will be counted the following morning with results expected to be announced early afternoon on Friday. The AV vote count will begin at 4 p.m. with results available on Friday evening.

n For full coverage of the elections and the results of the AV vote, log on to www.burnleyexpress.net next Friday,