THE borough’s newest political contenders have their first chance to make an impact at the ballot box next week.

Farnworth and Kearsley First will field Paul Sanders as a candidate in the Farnworth by-election on March 8.

But he will face strong competition for the council seat from Labour, which traditionally controls the ward.

And the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, UKIP and The Green Party are also all hopeful of causing an electoral upset.

Mr Sanders says he offers a genuine alternative to the town’s voters.

He said: “I want to ensure that Farnworth receives a fair share of Bolton Council’s spending, this has not been the case for many years. The people of Farnworth and Kearsley are fed up and if anything is going to change, it’s not going to change the same way we have always done.”

Looking to keep hold the seat for Labour is Rebecca Minors, whose partner, the late Hulton ward councillor Darren Whitehead, tragically died last November.

Ms Minors said: “I have got deep-rooted connections with Farnworth. My parents, grandparents and great-grandparents are all Farnworth born and bred.

“I have lots of happy memories of the town but sadly it’s no longer the vibrant hub it, because of a lack of investment and austerity cuts.

“I would like to be the person to speak up for Farnworth wherever and whenever it’s needed and would do my utmost to put Farnworth and its residents first.”

UKIP, which ran Labour closest in 2016, are represented by Dave Harvey. The former soldier says Labour councillors have become complacent.

He said: “We need fresh blood, so the good people of Farnworth can have a proper voice in the council chamber with someone prepared to stand up for them and represent their interests. Residents want to know where the £325,000 paid by Tesco for improvements to Farnworth town centre has gone. They are also concerned that nearly £2m is being spent on three new shelters at the bus station.”

The Conservatives will be giving youth a chance in the shape of 18-year-old Matthew Littler.

He says Farnworth has been ‘neglected for years’ under Labour.

He said: “This is all about saying to the people of ‘we can get you a better deal,’ and as a councillor, that’s absolutely what I would be fighting for. Farnworth residents are paying more and more and getting less and less services for fixing roads and pavements, which in many areas are a shocking disgrace.”

The Green Party’s David Figgins believes he can bring a new approach to the role of councillor.

He said: “I think fresh ideas are needed to shake things up a little bit.

He added that his priority would be to listen to the people of Farnworth and said: “A lot of people are getting worked up about the bins situation. As a Green Party member I love the idea of recycling , especially for food, but we have got to be pragmatic.”

And Liberal Democrat David Walsh believes residents feel the borough has been left behind as investment has been ploughed into central Bolton.

He said: “It needs serious investment, obviously you can see the up coming investment into Bolton but not in Farnworth and they need a voice to put that across.” He added that his priority would be to increase transparency behind decision making and consultation with the residents.