Battle lines set as election candidates begin canvassing

ELECTION battles are set to take place in all three of the Midhurst and Petworth area’s West Sussex County Council divisions, with a total of 14 candidates in the ring.

The biggest fight looks set to be staged in Midhurst which consists of ten parishes, where there are no less than six candidates.

Tory John Cherry, already a Chichester district councillor representing Stedham, took over the Midhurst division from Nola Hendon who left the country last year. But in seeking election he faces opposition from five candidates.

They include independent Gordon McAra, the Midhurst town councillor who took Tory Nick Thomas’s seat at the last Chichester District Council election, who has thrown his hat in the ring.

Also standing as an independent, is fellow town councillor Margaret Guest, chairman of the Don’t Cut Us Out campaign which was formed to fight county council cuts to elderly and vulnerable people in the area.

She is also a leading figure in the ‘Big Society’ Rother Valley Together group which set up day care facilities in Midhurst.

Bob Green, from Nyewood, is standing under the Liberal Democrat banner, Pamela Hayton is the candidate for UKIP and Frances Turner is seeking election as the Labour candidate.

Conservative Chris Duncton, who has served as Petworth’s county councillor since 2007, has decided not to seek re-election. His wife, Janet, is standing in his place under the Tory banner and faces opposition from three other candidates for the seat, which takes in 11 parishes from Fittleworth to Plaistow.

They are Julian Batchelor of Petworth, standing for UKIP, Karen Read, from Tillington, standing for the Liberal Democrats and Philip Robinson, of Midhurst, standing as the Labour candidate.

Tory Michael Brown is defending his Conservative seat in the Fernhurst division, covering 14 parishes.

Standing against him are David Martin-Jenkins, from Lurgashall, for the Liberal Democrats, Andrew Moncreiff, from Fernhurs,t for UKIP and John Smith, also from Fernhurst, for Labour.