Wakefield local elections 2021: Hemsworth independent candidate Jim Kenyon claims he will give town 'more clout' in securing investment
An independent candidate standing in Hemsworth has claimed he will give the town "more clout" if he's elected in next month's local polls.
Jim Kenyon, who is currently the chairman of Hemsworth Town Council, is now vying to represent the area on Wakefield Council.
He faces competition from Reform UK, Labour, the Green Party and the Conservatives.
In a pitch to voters, Mr Kenyon claimed Labour, who hold two of Hemsworth's three seats on Wakefield Council, had left a legacy of "negligence" in the town, following decades in charge.
Trading on his record since 2019, he said that under his chairmanship the town council has frozen the local precept for taxpayers and delivered more than 10,000 dinners to vulnerable people since the start of the Covid pandemic.
Mr Kenyon said: "If elected to the district council, I think I’ve proved I've made a change in the two years I’ve been chairman of the town council, despite the pandemic.
"By being elected I think I’ll have a bit more clout to try and get funding for this area.
"As well as Kinsley and Fitzwilliam, I’ll try to get funding for South Hiendley too, because South Hiendley’s been neglected.
"Over the last 12 months I've actually been dealing with quite a lot of district matters, like complaints from WDH (Wakefield District Housing) tenants. People have put their faith in me and they know I'll get things done."
Mr Kenyon has been a prominent figure in Hemsworth politics for several years and has frequently clashed with local Labour representatives.
Wakefield Council's Labour leader, Denise Jeffery, has promised more funding for Hemsworth and and has recently spoken about boosting parts of the district perceived to have been left behind the likes of Wakefield and Castleford in terms of investment.
The local authority also recently announced plans to set up a new youth hub in Hemsworth.
But Mr Kenyon claimed the town has historically seen little of the cash it's been due from Section 106 payments, which are paid by developers to communities when large-scale housebuilding takes place.
He said: "Denise Jeffery has promised us the earth, but I've not seen anything in writing yet.
"She assures us the money’s there but I’ll believe it when I see it. I hope she’s true to her word because all the areas round here need rejuvenating. It’s been neglected. For eight years we didn't get any funding.
"All the complaints (put to Wakefield Council) about litter and a lack of gritting round here are down to a legacy Labour has left. It's down to their negligence.
"What do people want? More of the same and more complaints next year, or do they want a fresh face and some new blood?"
Mr Kenyon also defended the town council's decision to spend money on bringing the Vengaboys to Hemsworth Water Park at a time when public finances are tight.
The gig will take place as part of the Hemsworth Summer Festival at the town's Water Park in June 2022, after it was postponed last year.
He said: "We got a fantastic deal for 12,000 euros. If we sell 2,500 tickets at £15 for kids and £30 for adults it's all paid for.
"It's cheap when you think about the fact it’s the Vengaboys, they've had (two UK) number ones and the festival will have entertainment all day."
This article is part of a series of profile pieces about the political parties and independent candidates standing in the local elections in Wakefield. Each profile will be published on our websites in turn in the run-up to polling day.
Wakefield Council election candidates standing in Hemsworth
Waj Ali - Reform UK
Jim Kenyon - Independent
Pauline Kitching - Labour
Lyn Morton - Green Party
David Pointon - Conservative
Local Democracy Reporting Service