A town divided: New councillors outline plans for the future as Worksop goes half blue
Freshly-elected councillors who will be looking after Worksop for the next few years at Nottinghamshire County Council have outlined their plans for the town’s future.
The town now stands divided after going ‘half blue’ when two of Worksop’s four Labour stronghold seats were seized by the Conservatives during last week’s election.
The most shocking result saw former Nottinghamshire Labour group leader and Bassetlaw District councillor Alan Rhodes lose Worksop North to Tory newcomer Callum Bailey.
Worksop South also slipped from the grasp of Bassetlaw District councillor Kevin Greaves after former North Notts Arena boss Nigel Turner won the vote.
In a stonking day for the Conservatives, the party also seized control of Nottinghamshire County Council which was previously being run as a coalition between the Tories and Independents, with Mansfield MP Ben Bradley being appointed as leader.
The party then went on to win all three seats available in the Bassetlaw District Council by-election, gaining seats in Sutton and Ranskill and holding the Tuxford seat.
Labour's presence in the district has been weakened considerably as it loses half of its Worksop heartland, with re-elected Harworth and Blyth councillor Sheila Place lamenting: “We could soon become the minority party, which a few years ago would be unheard of.”
Councillor Sybil Fielding retained her Worksop West seat which she has held since 2017 after serving as councillor for Worksop North from 2005 to 2017.
She said: “I very much would like to thank residents for their continued support in re-electing me as their county councillor.
"My thoughts at this time are with Alan Rhodes and Kevin Geaves, who were not re-elected. I thank them for their friendship, hard work and commitment to their community.
“As a community councillor I remain committed to working closely with residents on issues that impact on daily lives.
"One of the major issues I highlighted in recent weeks was the future of Bassetlaw District Hospital.
"I remain concerned and will be monitoring this closely, prepared to hold the MP and the county council to account should services be impacted by the boundary changes and start to shift to the south of the county.
"Worksop West is a diverse community and includes Rhodesia, Shireoaks, Gateford, Balmoral, Keswick and Kendal areas.
"Other key issues include, tackling ongoing problems of potholes, speeding traffic and libraries.
"I will as always be listening to local people and will battle for investment and resources we need.”
Coun Fielding added that flooding and school placements are also serious issues that she would continue to tackle while working with voluntary organisations and as a member of the Fire Authority.
As the former North Notts Arena boss who had just taken retirement, Coun Turner said some may say he’s ‘leapt out of the frying pan into the fire’, but that's not the attitude he holds.
He said: “I am really pleased and privileged that the community of Worksop South have put their trust in me to represent them as their Conservative county councillor.
"It was a long and hard fought campaign, however, the 348 miles I covered by foot, from early January through to election day, delivering over 20,000 letters, newsletters, election addresses and pledges proved worthwhile, it also shows hard work does pay off.
"People have asked me why I chose to stand, it's simple answer, I am passionately committed to working for my community, and I firmly believe I will make a positive difference to local politics.
"I am a pro-active person, I have a record of getting things done, I'm also very approachable and I will make sure my community can access me via email, telephone or parish council surgeries.”
Coun Turner’s priorities will be regenerating the town centre, resolving flood issues, supporting small businesses and improving safety in Worksop – working together with MP Brendan Clarke-Smith and Caroline Henry, the new Police and Crime Commissioner.
Glynn Gilfoyle was the first councillor to be elected across the county on Friday, retaining his Worksop East seat which he has held since 1997.
He said: “I am so proud to represent Worksop East and would like to thank everyone for their continued support.
"I will continue working as I do for the electorate.”
Coun Gilfoyle says his priorities will be tackling concerns surrounding road repairs, crime in the area particularly drug use, and escalating costs that threaten quality social and child care for residents.
Callum Bailey proved the dark horse of the election, snatching Worksop North from the former Labour group leader.
He said: "It is a huge honour to have been entrusted by the people of Worksop North to be their county councillor for the next four years.
“I would like to thank residents for placing their faith in me, and they can be assured that I am ready to work with the community, officers and other elected representatives including Caroline Henry, our new Police and Crime Commissioner, to address the issues that face our town.
“During the election, I pledged to be a tireless voice for the community at County Hall but also the community.
"I will be fighting for the issues that people made clear to me they wanted sorting on the doorstep.
"It includes ensuring that we get value for money by having potholes filled and street lights fixed, working with Bassetlaw District Council to put together a strong regeneration plan for the Worksop Town Centre so we can build back better and level up, and finally fighting to make sure Worksop get our fair share of extra police officers on our streets to keep us safer.”