Kettering's Green Party history-making councillors ready to start work

The councillors were all elected to represent Kettering wards

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 7:00 am

Last week saw Kettering's Green Party sweep up in the All Saints and Brambleside wards, winning all five seats on offer having campaigned to save Weekley Hall Wood.

Their success came after they made history by taking all three seats in the North Northamptonshire Council election for Clover Hill, becoming the county's first elected Green councillors in style.

Dez Dell and Keiron Farrow were elected to the Kettering town council for Brambleside, Emily Fedorowycz, Sarah Tubbs and James Towns were elected to All Saints.

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Kettering Green Party councillors l-r l-r James Towns, Sarah Tubbs, Dez Dell, Emily Fedorwycz, Keiron Farrow

Green Party member Adrian Watts was also elected to Burton Latimer Town Council.

Professional musician Keiron Farrow, 44, only joined the Green Party this year.

Moving from Northampton August 2019 he has been elected to Kettering Town Council to represent Brambleside ward.

He said: "I joined the Green Party because I'm really passionate about their politics.

.l-r Sarah Tubbs, James Towns, Dez Dell, Keiron Farrow, Emily Fedorwycz

"I heard they were looking for candidates so I thought there was a chance I could win.

"Whichever way it goes it's a win win. We need to keep the momentum going that has already started.

"There was a low turnout - 70 per cent of people for some reason are not turning out. They feel that they are not informed. We need to work out how to re-engage people.

"I'm a massive believer in the politics of belonging and we should build from where we are. I am a complete novice but I am looking forward to it."

Cllr Dez Dell interviewed by BBC Look East's Stuart Ratcliffe

Not attending the election count, the first Kettering marine biologist Sarah Tubbs knew that she had been elected as NNC councillor for Clover Hill was when her mum texted her.

The 26-year-old was working remotely and started getting hundreds of notifications on her phone.

She said: "My mum was the first one to text me. I was hoping we would get in.

"We have been doing so much work. The people of Kettering have seen everything we have been doing.

l-r Keiron Farrow, Emily Fedorwycz, Dez Dell, James Towns,

"They know we care. If they are struggling with something we are always at the end of the phone. Now we are the official opposition we can look forward."

Newly elected in All Saints ward, James Towns, 54,is an engineer in the construction industry.

The father-of-two was spurred on to join the Green Party by the climate crisis, concerned for the future of the planet.

He said: "I joined the Green Party back in 2020 just as the pandemic began. I had a crisis of conscience. It was time to do something. I want a healthy world for my children.

"As the campaign went on I got some good feedback.

"We have a climate crisis. Houses need more energy efficient boilers. They are still being built with gas boilers but they will be need to low-energy with zero emissions. I still see houses being built with gas boilers.

"We need facilities for electric cars, electric charging points, cycle lanes to link up the towns, the condition of the roads, with pot holes in the gutters, needs sorting."

SEO executive Emily Fedorowycz, 26, a former Bishop Stopford School student, had been watching the count and the pile of votes with three crosses for the Green candidates pile up.

She said: "They brought out an extra box, the ballot papers wouldn't fit into the box. I was getting a good feeling about Dez getting in."

Over the past year, the Kettering Green Party had run surveys in the town to ask residents about their concerns and the results were the perennial problems of crime, litter and dog poo.

Cllr Fedorowycz said: "We were told litter, crime and dog poo, and we have acted on it.

"Being visible litter picking people have got to know us. We're really interested and keen to problem solve.

"A lot of the planning permissions are going through without any scrutiny and enough communication. With cycling they have the plans but are very slow in implementing them.

"We also need to find out why there was such a low turnout. Why don't people want to vote, have they given up or just don't know there's elections? It's so sad that people have given up.

"We were engaging with people and keeping them informed."

Cllr Fedorowycz wants to concentrate on sustainable active travel, with people being encouraged to walk or cycle more easily, food waste recycling and to boost the town centre.

"One thing we need is the resurfacing of the roads and they have said there's no funds for this but they seem to find money for other things.

"I would like to have a sustainability sub group, something so we can tackle different topics.

"If we create a project in the town centre that businesses can get behind - for people to walk and cycle and make to most of the town centre- there is no reason why we couldn't be like Cambridge.

"I'm really happy we are hearing some younger voices. It's good to have new blood and younger people. I would like to hold a Kettering food festival - a cultural day celebrating the diverse communities.

"I want to be relentless and hold the council to account. I want to work with all the parties - we really need to support what each party is already doing."

Telecoms engineer Dez Dell has been working for two years to be in a position where he could be elected.

The 42-year-old said: "It has been a lot of hard work and I have got a lot of people to thank. Now the first thing is to get the council to act on the Climate Action Plan following the Climate Emergency declaration in 2019.

"There's lots of good stuff in there like more active travel. We want to cut down on rat runs and allow children to play in the streets.

"We've already got the e-bikes and e-scooters and we need to be decarbonising everything.

"In Northamptonshire, from 2009 to 2019 we increased our journeys from 5 to 6 billion miles - in ten years an extra one billion miles.

"We don't want to take away cars, we want active travel. In four years I want there to be better air quality - to cut down on the traffic outside schools, there will be the town centre plans for Meadow Road and I want to save Weekley Hall Wood - there can be change."

There are now 14 Green Party councillors at parish, town and unitary level in North Northamptonshire.