Two independents aim to make their mark on Harpenden

Anne James (left) and Pip Martyn

Anne James (left) and Pip Martyn - Credit: Archant

For the first time in many years, the Conservative ranks on Harpenden town council have been breached by two independent candidates.

Pip Martyn and Anne James won two of the four seats on Harpenden East ward, resulting in former Town Mayor Rosemary Farmer losing her seat.

Self-employed gardener Pip and long-time Harpenden resident Anne now take their seats alongside the 14 Conservative councillors elected last week.

Pip explained that she and fellow Independent Paul Howe first stood for election on the district council last year with their main focus on openness, transparency and localism in local government.

They unsuccessfully stood again for the district council this year - but with Anne, she struck a chord with Harpenden voters and is now a town councillor.

Pip said: “I’m delighted that so many Harpenden residents have demonstrated their appreciation for the values that we set out during our campaign.”

During the pre-election period, the four Independents in total who were standing highlighted local issues such as their wish to retain allotments and protect them for future generations, the need for a local Neighbourhood Plan, parking in Harpenden, the schools’ issue and the requirement for sustainable development.

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They aimed to engage with the community and were pleasantly surprised to find that the feedback they received was that residents had looked at their message.

Pip admits that she and Anne were surprised to be elected in General Election year when people usually vote across the board as they had at parliamentary level. She commented: “It tends to be that voters stick to their party but obviously we were absolutely delighted.”

On the town council they hope to encourage consultation and work more with the community, particularly tapping into the skill of Harpenden’s “highly-educated population”.