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Six candidates battle for Maidstone Central seat on Kent County Council left vacant following death of Dan Daley

Six candidates will be contesting a by-election for a new Kent County Councillor.

​The vacancy has arisen following the death of former Maidstone mayor and council leader, Cllr Dan Daley, who had represented Maidstone Central on Kent County Council (KCC).

Cllr Dan Daley: He died in March
Cllr Dan Daley: He died in March

The division takes in the borough council wards of Allington, Bridge, Fant, Heath and High Street.

Cllr Daley, from Allington, had held the seat for the Liberal Democrats for 22 years since 2001 until his passing in March.

The Conservatives, Lib Dems, Labour, Green, Reform UK and one independent will all be standing in the election which will be held on Thursday, July 6, with voting between 7am and 10pm.

The deadline for nominations has now passed. Once again voters will need to take photo ID with them to the polling station.

Among the candidates are Stanley Forecast (Con) and Stuart Jeffery (Green), who are both already Maidstone borough councillors.

All the other four candidates have also stood for election before – unsuccessfully.

Remember to take a photo ID to the polling station
Remember to take a photo ID to the polling station

Chris Passmore is the Lib Dem hopeful.

He said: “I had the pleasure of working closely with Dan Daley over a number of years when he explained to me the importance of understanding and responding to the needs of residents.

“It is my firm intention to carry Dan’s approach forward, if I should be successful.

“I’m deeply concerned about the failure of our services in Maidstone to keep up with the ever-increasing pace of house-building and I will do all that I can to ensure that our services are enhanced rather than reduced as we have seen with the possible closure of the Tovil Tip, and the removal of the park-and-ride and other bus services.”

Lib Dem candidate Chris Passmore
Lib Dem candidate Chris Passmore

Mr Passmore has taken an active role in the Village Green application for Bunyards Farm at Allington, which is currently being reviewed by KCC, and if successful would result in preserving 15 hectares of land as a green space for residents to enjoy.

Mr Passmore, a retired naval officer, is a member of Barming Parish Council and runs his own management consultancy business.

The KCC Maidstone Central Division is a two-member ward with the other existing councillor being Conservative Cllr Tom Cannon, who was elected in 2021.

Hoping to join him is Conservative Staney Forecast. Mr Forecast is only 22 and has just left university where he was doing a degree in International Business.

He said: “Having been raised in Maidstone central – at St George’s Square in Fant and at Bentlif Close in Bridge – and having been educated at Maplesden Noakes in the division and my first employment being at The Broadway, aged 17, I owe everything to this area.”

Conservative candidate Stanley Forecast
Conservative candidate Stanley Forecast

“It has been an honour being the Allington Ward borough councillor, but too often the issues raised with me by residents fall under the responsibility of KCC.

“I am ready to keep tax low, save our roads, and deliver for the area that has done so much for me.”

Green candidate Stuart Jeffery said: “I am delighted to have been chosen to contest this seat.

“I have worked tirelessly across Maidstone campaigning for everything from 20mph residential streets, to saving our much needed farm and woodland, to preventing air and water pollution and to ensuring people still have bus services.

“Maidstone is my home and my passion. I have made a massive impact on Maidstone Borough Council and I can do the same on KCC.”

“I want a joined up transport strategy for Maidstone, safer roads and more buses, real action to tackle pollution and emissions, and proper support for those in need.”

Green candidate Cllr Stuart Jeffery
Green candidate Cllr Stuart Jeffery

He added: “I can win this seat. The way people vote is changing. The county division covers the wards where the Greens have huge support including Bridge ward where I was elected last year to Maidstone Borough Council.

“If I win the county seat, I will continue on MBC and be able to push for more joined up thinking between the two councils.”

David Collier is the Labour candidate. He said: “I live in Clifford Way within the division. I moved to Maidstone in 2017 and have a background in civil engineering and infrastructure and it is this expertise I hope to bring to KCC if elected.”

Mr Collier, 29, has some political experience – he was twice elected to the UK Youth Parliament, though in his bid to stand for High Street ward in the borough elections in May, he came second to the Lib Dems.

He said: “I know the area and I know the concerns of the residents.”

David Collier, the Labour candidate
David Collier, the Labour candidate

“I would hope to addres the problem at the Barker Road/Broadway junction, and at all the other junctions where KCC is currently failing.

“KCC has a poor record on infrastructure provision, be it roads, schools or doctors surgeries and I feel I have a lot to offer to ensure that in future infrastructure comes first.”

Graham Jarvis is standing for the Reform UK party. He said: “In November 2022, Kent Online reported that KCC was near to bankruptcy. The cause of this is simply mismanagement by the Conservative administration – not helped by Westminster’s Draconian policies of the last four years.

“Together they have led to profitable businesses closing; increasing NHS waiting lists; and overall financial and economic decline.

“Maidstone’s residents have also been squeezed with the economic downturn, inflation, rising energy costs, and higher taxes – including Council Tax.”

Graham Jarvis of Reform UK)
Graham Jarvis of Reform UK)

“Maidstone deserves better.

“Residents deserve council tax cuts, better employment opportunities, easier access to schools and GPs, as well as better infrastructure – including a relief road to reduce congestion, no potholes, and the maintenance of a seven-day a week recycling centre at Tovil.

“As a resident of Maidstone Central, in High Street ward, I’d also like to see more done to make the most of our natural resources – such as the Medway riverside, and Mote Park.

“The town has much to offer, but it will require reform of public finances.

“Reform UK is also about making sure Maidstone Central’s children have more access to school places, and are able to access GPs whenever they are needed. It’s time for change.

“That’s why I am standing – to give an opportunity for positive change and development, rather than same old stagnated political party choices.”

Yolande Kenward, Ind
Yolande Kenward, Ind

There is also an Independent candidate, Yolande Kenward. Ms Kenward did not submit any details to Kent Online.

But speaking previously following her bid to become Maidstone and the Weald's MP, she said: "I was a life-long Tory until 2001, when my eyes were really opened for the first time about what they were really doing.

"I wept for humanity, and now I wouldn't touch any of the main parties."

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