THE sudden death of Conservative councillor Bill Bennett in July sparked a by-election for his Heworth Without ward seat.

In the intervening months, a list of five candidates has been announced with five parties represented - Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and the British National Party.

The Conservatives took the seat from the Liberal Democrats in a two-way marginal in the May elections.

Labour currently has 18 seats on City of York Council - one fewer than the Lib Dems.

The Conservatives are in third place with seven, while the Greens have two.

If Labour were to win in Heworth Without, that would put them on a level footing with the Lib Dems.

The Press has followed the issues surrounding the by-election - most recently last week when Adam Sinclair, the Tory candidate, called for a live debate on the issues facing the city.

He said that when the by-election takes place on Thursday, voters in the ward should have a chance to hear candidates' views at a hustings.

Here we have given each of the candidates a chance to have their say...

Nigel Ayre: Liberal Democrat candidate

"I have lived locally for 30 years, attending Hempland School, and live in Galtres Road with my wife, Jen, making me the only candidate living in the ward.

"Residents tell me they want a visible police presence. While Heworth Without is a great place to live we still need protection from anti-social behaviour.

"Speeding traffic is a concern; having campaigned for flashing speed warnings I have asked for regular enforcement.

"Heworth Without has a large elderly population so healthcare is a concern. I have petitioned against NHS cuts and rationing of operations caused by the government.

"Flooding has recently been a major concern which I know from personal experience. Results of my recent ward survey have been passed on to Yorkshire Water and the council.

"Locally, the concrete roads are showing their age. I have responded to residents' concerns about potholes, and will fight for replacement of these road surfaces."

Charles Everett: Green Party candidate

"A Green councillor for this ward would vigorously encourage more recycling but with common sense too.

"Encouraging more recycling is always high on the Green Party agenda. This is very topical for Heworth Without.

"Clearly, the council needs to strongly encourage those who don't recycle enough of their bin waste.

"It seems very counterproductive for the refuse collectors, on finding an open bin, to deliberately leave one bag.

"The energy used, should that customer then drive to take this bag to a tip, trashes the whole purpose of lowering our carbon footprint.

"In the absence of further information, the Heworth Without residents would be better served if council chiefs instructed operatives to be a little more flexible.

"I have experienced having refuse collectors refuse to come 10ft down my drive to collect and empty a green bin but come 3ft to empty it once I had moved it 7ft forward."

Margaret Wells: Labour candidate

"Concerns of the residents of Heworth Without are being neglected; local meetings involve neighbouring villages and it's a battle to get local issues raised.

"It's vital that adequate support is available to the elderly in Heworth Without. Technological advances can help people maintain independence in their own homes, but it is vital that decisions on services involve people themselves. One of the hardest things people face is isolation and loneliness; that's something we will help with.

"Residents are concerned about cuts in local services. They want to see more police on the streets. There are problems with the state of roads and waste bins, but the Lib Dems want to blame everyone else. But they have been the ruling group for four years, and should be fixing problems. Labour is really committed to addressing these issues.

"The people of Heworth Without, and York as a whole, would be a lot better off without Stephen Galloway increasing council tax to pay for more Lib Dem waste."

Adam Sinclair: Conservative candidate

ADAM Sinclair said he believed the crtical issues were:

  • The character and presentation of Heworth Without
  • Working with community olice to stamp out any sign of crime or antisocial behaviour
  • Road, pavement, traffic calming and bus requirements (including for Bramley Garth)
  • Supporting the influence of the Church, faith, family, and traditional British values
  • The quality and safety of open spaces, notably The Stray
  • Ensuring Heworth Without does not get pushed around
  • Electing a councillor who is capable of engaging effectively with the utilities, public bodies, large developers and the city council when the need arises
  • A councillor with policies and fresh ideas
  • Addressing the costs of running the council and local taxes
  • The distinction and economy of the city
  • Care, respect and support for the older generation, the disabled and those in day-to-day care, for example at Yearsley Bridge.

Michaela Knight: BNP candidate

"I was born and bred in York. I work full-time in the corporate sector and I am a mother of two young children.

"It is a privilege to both represent the British National Party, and to stand as a candidate in Heworth Without.

"If elected, there are many problems that I would work to solve.

"I want to see a crackdown on local feral youths who make decent peoples' lives a misery.

"I will fight the proposed Derwenthorpe development tooth and nail. This development will concrete over our green space and will only end up making traffic congestion worse and put more strain on local services.

"The only reason we need so many more houses is because of uncontrolled immigration.

"I want to also see a return to weekly rubbish collections. Why should council tax go up as services go down?

"Additionally, parents should be able to view the Sex Offenders' Register."