Tories challenge county seats - published 15 April
TORY heavyweights from Hyndburn Council's ruling Cabinet will battle to win seats at the county council elections.
The borough's six seats are all currently held by Labour - which has held the Tories at bay for 12 years - and with both parties confident of success the elections on 5 May promise to be hard-fought.
Councillor Michael Welsh, Tory group leader at Lancashire County Council, said: "We should take Rishton, Great Harwood, Oswaldtwistle and Accrington South and we have a serious chance in Accrington North. We have a good team of candidates who are very good at mobilising their own support and can give voters the reasons why there needs to be change."
But Councillor Hazel Harding, leader of the Labour-controlled county council, said: "I think our chances are very good. We were regarded as an excellent council by the Audit Commission, we have consistently delivered small increases in council tax."
Church ward councillor Jean Battle, leader of the Labour opposition in Hyndburn, will face planning boss Tory councillor Janet Storey for the Accrington North seat.
She echoed County Councillor Harding's comments, saying: "I can't remember the last time there was a Conservative county councillor. It was probably Peter Britcliffe in Oswaldtwistle, but years back.
"We have improved nearly all the schools in the area by extending, rebuilding or modernising them. Education has always been a priority for us along with other front-line services."
The rest of the nominations include: Council leader Peter Britcliffe standing in Oswaldtwistle against Liberal Democrat Clive Fisher and Labour county councillor Dorothy Westell.
Labour's Wendy Dwyer defending her Accrington South seat from young Tory councillor Paul Barton, 34.
County Councillor Doreen Pollitt defending Accrington West from Tory Cabinet member Siddique Mohammed Kazi.
Last year's Mayor of Hyndburn Councillor Win Frankland, Conservative, contests the Great Harwood seat with Liberal Democrat George Slynn - who recently defected from the Labour Party - and Labour's Susan Shorrock, who was reduced to tears when she lost her Netherton ward seat in last year's Hyndburn Council elections.
The Rishton and Clayton-le-Moors seat is contested between the Mayor, Councillor Miles Parkinson, for Labour, Tory councillor Ann Scaife, Cabinet member for environment and cleansing, and Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Bill Greene, 58.
The elections are on the same day as the General Election.