Who will you be voting for on Thursday?
Residents across the Melton borough will be casting their votes on Thursday to decide which four councillors will represent the district on Leicestershire County Council for the next four years.
Eighteen candidates are standing this time, including four for both the Conservatives and Labour, three representatives for Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, a trio of Independents and one for Reform UK.
Those who are elected to County Hall will get a say on important issues affecting road developments and safety, public health, education, waste and recycling.
Of the four current members in this area, only Pam Posnett (Melton East) and Joe Orson (Melton Wolds) are standing again.
Byron Rhodes (Belvoir) is retiring after a long career in local government while Alan Pearson (Melton West) has decided not put himself up again due to health issues.
Polling stations will be open from 7am until 10pm, with votes being counted from 11.30am the following day.
We contacted the local political party groups to get an insight into some of the policies and issues the candidates are campaigning on.
Here is a rundown of what they said (in alphabetical order):
Pam Posnett, who is standing for re-election in Melton East, is a retired nurse who has represented Melton for the past 12 years, and says she has been working hard on behalf of local residents to make their voices heard.
If elected, she pledges to focus on protecting the environment, prioritising highways maintenance, the delivery of the MMDR distributor road and investing in cycleways plus improving broadband internet.
Mark Frisby, who is contesting Melton West, has lived in Melton all his life and is active in supporting the local community through charities, community and education projects.
He is passionate about working with young people and nurturing talent. Mark wants to increase education opportunities, protect the most vulnerable and bring investment into the town.
Joe Orson, who is standing again in Melton Wolds, was born and bred locally.
He has served the area for over 15 years and is passionate about the rural way of life.
His focus would be on enforcing the 7.5-tonne weight limit on country lanes, improving opportunities for younger people and supporting older residents to improve their quality of life.
Bryan Lovegrove, a candidate for Belvoir division, is a Long Clawson local. He is proud to have led a successful parent lobby group which challenged the county council about the structure of higher education across the area.
He pledges to reduce speeding through villages, improve connectivity for all residents and businesses and reduce the risk of flooding.
The Greens have three candidates this time out – Colette Stein (Belvoir), Martyn Gower (Melton East) and Alastair McQuillan (Melton West).
After an incredibly tough year for us all, this is an opportunity for the people of Melton to show that they don’t want things to just go back to how they were pre-pandemic.
While the other parties still fail to grasp the need for real change, the Green Party has a practical common-sense plan to ensure a Green recovery for all.
We aren’t writing fairytales.
We are building plans for environmental, economic and social justice that work for people and the planet.
The Government is categorically failing to invest sufficiently in the ‘Green sector’, so councils must have climate in mind as we build the economy back after covid.
Voting Green means a stronger commitment in our council chamber to the climate action that we all know is urgently needed – and to the good, Green jobs that this will create.
It is encouraging that the council has declared a climate emergency, by electing Green councillors you can hold them to account.
We will make sure plans are translated into effective long-term action.
We will work with everyone in Leicestershire to make our futures sustainable and fairer for all.
Real Green policies need real Green politicians with a clear vision – not just warm words and window-dressing.
Three people standing for election with no affiliation to political parties.
Simon Lumley, a candidate in Melton East, has been a Melton borough councillor for almost 10 years and hopes to take up a seat at County Hall too.
He says: “Many of you will know I always work very hard to get things done, sorting out many personal and town area matters.
“I am always on to it! I am easily contactable, I always get back to you and I get things done.
“But I need to become a Leicestershire County Councillor so I can play a key and influential role for a crucial and wider long term strategy for Melton Mowbray.”
His key election pledges are: Covid-19 recovery and support; Melton Mowbray bypass (MMDR); Melton Mowbray town area facelift; campaigning for free speech.
Marilyn Gordon is another Independent and she is standing in the Melton West division.
She was Mayor of Melton for the year 2013-2014 and is a former Melton borough councillor.
Marilyn stood for election to become Rutland and Melton MP at the Parliamentary polls in 2015.
We were unable to make contact with Marilyn to learn more about her policies.
Steven Carter, the other Independent candidate, is contesting the Melton Wolds division.
He lives in Asfordby and currently represents the Asfordby Ward on Melton Borough Council.
We were unable to make contact with Steven to find out more about his policies.
There are four Labour candidates up for election to County Hall - Helen Cliff (Belvoir), Tim Litt (Melton East), Pip Allnatt (Melton West) and Carol Hopkinson (Melton Wolds).
It’s time for change! Even before covid, Melton town centre was in decline.
We need to re-imagine, re-purpose and re-generate our town.
We need to fill empty shops and buildings with alternative services and businesses.
Voluntary groups and churches are having to fill the gaps in services – councillors need to catch up.
The Conservative plan for a one-way traffic ‘race-track’ in Melton will only create more traffic chaos and increase pollution.
A Greener, safer town needs a complete bypass, including across the south, and a high-quality road and cycle network.
Councillors need to be more ambitious – ensuring Melton has zero carbon, affordable homes with renewable energy.
Planting 700,000 saplings across Leicestershire is just not enough.
In all the years Conservatives have controlled the county council, they failed to rebuild the local economy; failed to tackle traffic chaos; failed to build a bypass; failed to provide zero carbon affordable homes; failed to provide decent Green bus services; failed to deliver superfast broadband; and failed to save St Mary’s Birthing Centre.
Meanwhile their Government has failed to provide fair funding for Leicestershire, leaving a lethal cocktail of service cuts and a Tory hike in Council Tax.
We can do better.
Liberal Democrats want to see a fairer, Greener, more caring society.
The party has three candidates standing next week - Sue Taylor (Belvoir), Carol Weaver (Melton East) and Hamish McAuley (Melton Wolds).
We believe in listening carefully and responding thoughtfully to the concerns of voters, locally and nationally.
The party is, of course, the main opposition on Leicestershire County Council, but over the last year the covid pandemic has made it difficult for us to get out and about to hear directly on doorsteps about the local issues that matter most to voters.
In the immediate future, our priority is to build a strong recovery from the pandemic, including helping the High Street and small businesses.
A fairer Melton means doing more for the less fortunate and especially children and young people who have missed out on so much over the last year, and on whom all our futures depend.
A Greener Melton means prioritising carbon footprints, sustainability and environmental impact when making development decisions, and ensuring improved public transport and cycling routes have priority alongside discussion about road-building.
A more caring Melton means strongly supporting our schools and community organisations, and working to ensure that health and social care services are properly integrated and locally available, and that workers in these vitally important sectors are rewarded generously.
The solitary Reform UK candidate is Marcus Wilson, who is standing in the Melton East division.
We were unable to make contact with Marcus to find out more about the policies he will be pursuing if he is elected.
But the party’s official website states its aims are to reform the way the nation is run and managed.
It supports low taxation to increase wages and promote high growth, particularly in business.
The party wants to see more efficiently-run public services and a greater investment in public health.
It wants shorter hospital waiting lists and a focus on law and order which helps police solve more crime.
It campaigns against so-called ‘woke values’ and wants to see greater free speech.
The party is also committed to policies which give greater control over the UK’s borders.
This is the full list of candidates standing in each Leicestershire County Council divisional ward in the Melton district:
Helen Cliff (Labour);
Bryan Lovegrove (Conservative);
Colette Stein (Green Party);
Sue Taylor (Liberal Democrats).
MELTON EAST DIVISION
Martyn Gower (Green Party);
Simon Lumley (Independent);
Pam Posnett (Conservative);
Tim Litt (Labour);
Carol Weaver (Liberal Democrat);
Marcus Wilson (Reform UK).
MELTON WEST DIVISION
Pip Allnatt (Labour);
Mark Frisby (Conservative);
Marilyn Gordon (Independent);
Alastair McQuillan (Green Party).
MELTON WOLDS DIVISION
Steven Carter (Independent);
Carol Hopkinson (Labour);
Hamish McAuley (Liberal Democrat);
Joe Orson (Conservative).