Voters in Stevenage's Bedwell ward will go to the polls on Thursday, January 19 to pick their new councillor - and we've spoken to each of the candidates.

The by-election was called after Matt Creasey, the Labour councillor, stepped down from the role at the start of December.

We asked the three candidates why you should vote for them in the by-election, and here's what they said.

The Comet: Chris Berry is the candidate for the Liberal DemocratsChris Berry is the candidate for the Liberal Democrats (Image: Chris Berry)

Chris Berry - Liberal Democrats

"I moved into Stevenage town centre from London three years ago and have family in Letchworth. 

"I was a Chief Planning Officer for many years and now work part-time for CPRE Hertfordshire – the countryside charity.

"Being a townie, I am passionate about protecting the Hertfordshire countryside, and equally enthusiastic about regenerating town centres like Stevenage which need investment and activity to make them vibrant and attractive places to live in and visit.

"I’m trustee of a community arts venue and love live music and theatre, and deeply concerned about how local government has been starved of the resources it needs to tackle deprivation and provide vital public services.

"Increasing numbers of local people are in real need and have difficulty in seeing a way forward. I have been a borough councillor in the past and know how important it is for local councillors to keep council services responsive and efficient in these difficult times."

The Comet: Conor McGrath is the candidate for LabourConor McGrath is the candidate for Labour (Image: Conor McGrath)

Conor McGrath - Labour

"Stevenage is in my DNA. I have lived in Bedwell all my life and am proud to run The Poacher pub, a community-based business that has been in my family for thirty years.

"This has given me a unique insight into the concerns and ambitions of Bedwell’s residents. I am also a governor of Bedwell Primary school as well as a volunteer for our community centre and local food banks.

"If privileged enough to be elected I pledge to support residents through the cost of living crisis.

"I will work hard to tackle crime, particularly the prevalence of drug issues and anti-social behaviour, by joining up local police with neighbourhood groups and support our Labour council’s investment in larger community teams and local facilities for young people.

"I will also deliver a cleaner, greener Bedwell by championing local action teams to reduce fly-tipping in litter hotspots.

"Bedwell is a fantastic area with so much talent and opportunity. My aim is to make sure that our people achieve their aspirations."

The Comet: Matthew Wyatt is the candidate for the ConservativesMatthew Wyatt is the candidate for the Conservatives (Image: Matthew Wyatt)

Matthew Wyatt - Conservatives

"I have lived in Stevenage all of my adult life and work at home for a Bristol-based firm of Chartered Accountants.

"The reason I am standing as a candidate is that I believe in value for money. For a start, this election is going to cost approximately £10,000, whereas if it had been run in May, concurrently with the regular council elections, the cost would be negligible.

"Walking around the streets I am concerned about their condition, too many need a good tidy up and are crowded with parked cars, often those of shoppers, not necessarily residents.

"A bad situation will be made worse by the redevelopment of garages in Dunn Close for more flats. This will lead to less parking and more cars requiring spaces.

"If elected, I will not oppose the recruitment of an additional 184 police officers for our streets, but Labour did.

"I will condemn the protesters who are disrupting major British roads, Labour did not. I condemn the recent rail strikes, does Labour?"

Those in Bedwell voting in person can attend their polling station between 7am and 10pm on Thursday, January 19. Applications for postal votes have now closed, while the deadline to apply for a proxy vote is Wednesday, January 11.

In last year's local elections, Cllr Nazmin Chowdhury was elected for the Labour party in Bedwell. The vote tallies were as follows:

  • Chris Berry, Liberal Democrats - 191
  • Catherine Bibby, Conservatives - 452
  • Nazmin Chowdhury, Labour - 941
  • Steve Glennon, Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts - 73