Calderdale political parties set to lose vital experience as members step down

Calderdale councillors said goodbye to some cross-party experience with some long serving colleagues including three former civic heads stepping down at the May 6 elections.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 11:10 am
Updated Thursday, 29th April 2021, 11:12 am

Before April’s full council meeting their group leaders paid tribute to their service and said that while the parties may differ on how to go aboout it, councillors wanted the best for the people living in their wards and the borough as a whole.

Labour group leader Coun Tim Swift (Lab, Town) paid tribute to three of his party’s councillors who were retiring, including Coun Anne Collins, stepping down in Ovdenden, highlighting work she had done to support the council’s children and young people’s services, including chairing the fostering panel.

He praised Coun Lisa Lambert’s ongoing dedication to her north Halifax community in Mixenden and Illingworth and the experience in youth and community work Coun Steve Sweeney, who is stepping down in Todmorden, brought to the council, serving in Cabinet for a spell and chairing the Planning Committee.

Halifax town hall
Halifax town hall

Coun Lambert’s Mayoral year, when she was the borough’s leading citizen in 2015-16 had been a particularly lively and enjoyable one for everyone, said Coun Swift.

Conservative group leader Coun Steven Leigh, and senior Conservative Coun Stephen Baines, paid tribute to Coun John Hardy, standing down in Skircoat ward, and Coun Geraldine Carter, retiring in Ryburn.

Coun Hardy was Mayor of Calderdale in 2012-13, and had served first Warley and then Skircoat from the 1980s and held many positions within the council.

Coun Leigh said Coun Carter had served her ward for 23 years and her community in many roles which included representing the borough on orgainsations ranging from the Rochdale Canal Trust to the Community Foundation for Calderdale.

In politics her roles included work on Ripponden Parish Council and standing as a Parliamentary candidate in Bradford South, and for the role of West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

Whether at very local level, such as serving as a Governor at Ripponden Primary School, or boosting Calderdale as a member of the Yorkshire Tourism Committee, it had been a remarkable career in public service, with Coun Carter serving as Mayor of Calderdale in 2003-04.