AS VOTERS in Hulton ward prepare to go to the polls on Thursday in a by-election triggered by the death of Cllr Darren Whitehead, The Bolton News local government reporter Daniel Holland meets the five candidates...

Toby Hewitt, Conservative

A road network manager who lives in Tyldesley, Mr Hewitt is chairman of the Bolton West Conservative Party.

The 35-year-old said: “Fly-tipping and the state of our roads are two of the main issues that people are raising with me.

“The council has large cash reserves and it needs to be investing some of that money to improve our infrastructure.

“We also need to be doing more to protect our green belt. Building big new housing estates, like the one Peel wants at Hulton Park, only adds to the infrastructure problem.

“The Conservatives can offer real change for Bolton and in Hulton. Labour has had a good crack of the whip here and if people want change, then they need to choose the Conservatives.”

Beverley Fletcher, UKIP

She is a legal secretary, aged 36, who lives in Hulton ward.

The mother-of-two said: “We are blighted with criminal activity at the moment. I think our ward gets targeted a lot because we are near the motorway.

“Fly-tipping and waste has become a big problem and I would fight for the council to change its restrictions on the items that can and can’t be collected.

“The changes I want to see in this ward and for my family, too. I am not a career politician, I have decided to stand to make my ward a better place instead of having it ignored by the council and Labour.”

Rabiya Jiva, Labour

She has worked for Lancashire Constabulary since 2003 and is part of the Parent Teacher Association at Heathfield Primary School, where her daughters go to school.

Mrs Jiva said: “My background with the police force provides me with wealth of experience to better serve the public of Hulton. I truly believe in and wish to promote the Labour Party values of equality, social justice and opportunity for all across our ward.

“With my links with the Police Force, I will be developing an effective anti-crime plan whereby the residents of Hulton can be confident that they and their properties will remain safe at all times. In addition to working to drive down crime in Hulton, I will work for investment for better transport links, improved public services and even more employment opportunities.”

Derek Gradwell, Lib Dems

A solicitor who was previously a councillor for the old Hulton Park ward.

The 46-year-old said: “I know the issues here and have previously represented a large part of the ward.

“The thing that worries me most is that we could lose a big part of our green belt. The government is pushing to build more houses and they seem to want to do it without building any infrastructure. If Peel’s development on Hulton Park went ahead, I don’t know how we would deal with it all.”

James Tomkinson, Green

The 36-year-old has stood as a Green candidate in Hulton on a number of occasions.

He said: “Bolton Council needs to provide better services to help prevent fly-tipping, as well as punishing offenders.

“It could collect electrical items, as Blackburn does, and we also need more recycling points around the borough.

“We also need a proper local plan for housing, because without one we are left vulnerable to big developments.

“I hope that we have been able to reach out to a lot of different people and influence their thoughts on the issues the Green Party is raising.”

n Polls close at 10pm on Thursday. See that night for coverage of the count at Bolton Town Hall.