Wednesday 17 July 2024
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Tree felling campaigners to stand in council elections next year

A new independent group borne out of a campaign to stop Newark and Sherwood District Council from felling trees will put forward candidates in next year’s local elections.

Independents for Newark (IfN) will contest seats at Newark and Sherwood District Council and Newark Town Council at the May 2023 local elections – after saying it was “united by the successful Stop the Chop campaign”.

The group will focus on the environment, as well as caring for the vulnerable and enhancing the district’s offering for sports, mental health and cultural activities.

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There are 39 councillors currently elected at the authority including 29 Conservatives, seven Labour, two Liberal Democrats and one Independent.

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The IfN says it will confirm the number of candidates it intends to put forward in January 2023.

It states on Its website: “There’s been growing dissatisfaction with our current councillors who hold power in both the town council and Newark and Sherwood District Council. Repeatedly, decisions have been made which are out of touch and do not reflect the needs and wishes of local people. We know this needs to change.”

The IfN was founded after Newark and Sherwood District Council planned to remove four trees from the town to make way for a car park extension.

A high-profile environmental campaign followed and the council eventually reversed the decision to cut down the trees in November 2021.

The authority later received an independent report which criticised the council and said the environmental impact of the plans was not properly considered.

The report concluded the chain of events, including the decision to reverse the plans, cost the taxpayer £500,000.

David Lloyd, the Conservative leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said he was  “genuinely sorry” for the saga.

Graham Keal, of Balderton – a former Newark Town Council Labour councillor who is supporting the IfN group – said if elected, the councillors would “follow their consciousness and do what is best for the community”.

He added: “The group has grown out of the Stop the Chop campaign with the council reversing an entrenched position to chop down trees to build a car park.

“The protest against that succeeded and it motivated people to feel they could do a better job than our existing councillors.

“There’s been another green movement here since then with the Balderton lake plans for kayaking.

“We’re not talking about taking over the council but we’re talking about an independent green voice that makes councillors stop and think before making disadvantageous decisions.

“We are very eager to hear from anyone who wants to join and potentially stand.”

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