Thursday, 27 August 2015

By-election Preview: 27 August 2015

Just one by-election on 27th August 2015:

Barnsley metropolitan borough council
Caused by the death of Labour councillor Dave Sim at the age of 64, following a fall at his home.  Sim had been involved with the local Labour party for many years but had only served on Barnsley council for a year, first being elected in 2014.

The Dearne North ward of Barnsley has a slightly misleading name, in that it is actually some way to the east of the River Dearne itself: instead, the name is a throwback to the old Dearne Urban District, abolished in 1974, of which this is the northern half.  The ward is based on the large village of Thurnscoe, around eight miles east of Barnsley off the main road to Doncaster, and also includes part of Goldthorpe to the south.  These are unambiguously pit villages, and pit villages of quite recent vintage: Hickleton Colliery (the main pit for Thurnscoe) closed in 1986, Goldthorpe Colliery in 1994.  Hickleton Colliery's spoil heap has now been landscaped and turned into a public park (Phoenix Park), and the site of the colliery has now been redeveloped into social housing.  The colliery closures created a seriously despressed local economy, and one of the works undertaken to try and improve the area was the opening of Thurnscoe's railway station in 1988, with hourly trains south to Rotherham and Sheffield and north to Wakefield and Leeds.

The former Dearne Thurnscoe ward, which covered most of this area until 2004, was a Labour monolith, but a change in the parties contesting the area has led to an erosion in the Labour vote.  However, this shouldn't be overstated as the only seriously close result was in 2004, when the Labour slate beat a single Lib Dem candidate 49-39.  Second place in the ward was taken over by the BNP in 2007 and 2008, by the Barnsley Independent Group (once the main opposition on Barnsley council) from 2010 to 2012, and by UKIP since 2014.  In May's ordinary election Labour beat UKIP here 66-27.

Defending for Labour is Annette Gollick, who is the only candidate to give an address within the ward.  UKIP's candidate is Jim Johnson, who fought his home North East ward (based on Grimethorpe) in May's elections.  Also standing are Lee Ogden for the Conservatives, Yorkshire First's Tony Devoy and Karen Fletcher of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.

Parliamentary constituency: Wentworth and Dearne
ONS Travel to Work Area: Barnsley
Postcode district: S63

May 2015 result Lab 2668 UKIP 1112 C 284
May 2014 result Lab 1179 UKIP 752 C 103
May 2012 result Lab 1314 Barnsley Ind Gp 501 C 87
May 2011 result Lab 1665 Barnsley Ind Gp 501 BNP 246
May 2010 result Lab 2278 Barnsley Ind Gp 647 BNP 595 C 348
May 2008 result Lab 853 BNP 392 Barnsley Ind Gp 375 LD 316 C 186
May 2007 result Lab 1013 BNP 466 LD 464 C 116 Barnsley Ind Gp 102
May 2006 result Lab 1011 LD 453 Barnsley Ind Gp 234 C 129
June 2004 result Lab 1319/1302/1271 LD 1065 C 322

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