Familiar faces missing in elections for St Albans district council wards

Nominations have now closed for the district council elections

Nominations have now closed for the district council elections - Credit: Archant

Several well-known faces will be missing when one third of St Albans district council goes up for re-election next month.

Saying goodbye to the council are former town Mayor and Tory district councillor for Harpenden West Mike Weaver, newly-Independent councillor for Harpenden North Julie Bell and Lib Dem councillor Fred Wartenberg, who has represented Verulam ward since 2008.

Among those fighting to retain their seats are Lib Dem group leader, Chris White, in Clarence ward - who is also standing for the job of police commissioner - Labour stalwart Cllr Mal Pakenham in Batchwood, and long-standing Independent councillor for Redbourn, Cllr Tony Swendell.

The council’s only Green Party member, Cllr Simon Grover, is hoping to keep his seat in St Peter’s ward which has traditionally swung between parties.

Cllr Bell, who opted in December to leave the Conservative group on the council to become an Independent over procedural matters, said this week that she had been a councillor for eight years and felt it was time for ‘someone else to have a go’, particularly as she was still working full time.

She said that when she became an independent she had been taken off a lot of the committees on which she had previously served as a Tory.

But despite that she had enjoyed being an Independent and not subject to the party whip although there had been times, she commented, when she felt like ‘a spare person at a dinner party’.

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All three main parties are contesting every seat except Redbourn where the Lib Dems have not put forward a candidate. UKIP and the Green Party are also fielding candidates in most wards.

As well as Cllr Swendell in Redbourn, two other Independents are bidding to join the district council - Harpenden town councillor Anne James in Harpenden East and John Hansen in Harpenden North.

The current constitution of the council is Conservative, 30, Lib Dem, 16, Labour, eight, Green, one, and Independent, three. Eighty nine candidates are standing in total.

In addition there is a by-election for a vacancy on Harpenden town council’s East ward where former town Mayor, Rosemary Farmer, will be bidding to regain a seat.