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Town Council candidates form an alliance

Top: Kath Steward and Tom Beesley Bottom: Ian Smith and Damian Kearns

Four independent candidates standing for election to Ilkley Town Council in May have formed The Ilkley Community Alliance (ICA).

A spokesperson said: "Our mission is to create a more collaborative, transparent, and responsive local government, free from the constraints of party politics. We believe that by focusing on the unique needs and priorities of our community, we can work together to build a better future for everyone who calls Ilkley home. "At the heart of ICA is our shared vision of a vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable Ilkley. We recognise the importance of preserving our town's rich heritage and natural beauty while promoting responsible development and supporting local businesses. Our goal is to create a strong, resilient community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive, and where the council's decisions reflect the genuine needs and aspirations of its residents.

"We are dedicated to putting the needs of the Ilkley community first, ensuring that every decision made by the council benefits the people who live and work in our town. As a group of independent candidates, we are free from the influence of party politics, allowing us to concentrate on local issues and make decisions that are in the best interests of Ilkley and its residents." The candidates are: Tom Beesley I believe independent candidates have a unique perspective to offer local politics - free from the obligations and restrictions of party membership. I would welcome the opportunity to contribute to the decision making process regarding the future of the town and I am standing in Ilkley West. My particular interests are environmental, cultural and entrepreneurial. I ran my own business for twenty five years before returning to education as a mature student. I have lived in Ilkley for over twenty years and my three children all attended I.G.S. I am a keen hill Walker and ever optimistic allotment holder. I would like to see a change of emphasis on car use in the town with greater priority given to pedestrian spaces. I am particularly keen to see an increase in the provisions for cycling and e-bikes through the town centre. I believe in the process of devolving more power and responsibility to the local and regional level, activating greater involvement from local businesses and residents. I am a strong supporter of the need for coordinated policies across a range of issues to help reach net zero by 2050. I also see the challenges ahead as an opportunity to improve the quality of life for Ilkley residents.

Damian Kearns I am standing as an independent candidate for Ben Rhydding, with three colleagues under the Ilkley Community Alliance banner. I don’t feel that party politics is particularly relevant at this level, doing the right thing for our town is what matters. I am a Chartered Surveyor and have lived in Ben Rhydding for 25 years, my three children were educated locally. My business was established in Ilkley twenty years ago and remains in the Town Centre. I have been active in the community coaching youth football, volunteering for Ilkley Food Bank and acting as a trustee for Keighley Creative, a community arts charity. I am a member of Climate Action Ilkley and was part of the team that acquired premises for The Thingery, our new library of things. I am privileged to live in this lovely town and will work to keep Ilkley beautiful and welcoming. We need to make Ilkley pedestrian friendly and prioritize people over cars. We must campaign to improve public transport and offer better facilities for cyclists to reduce trafc in the town. I will seek to improve local democracy by encouraging greater participation by our residents in the work of the Town Council. We must campaign together to protect our river and keep our streets clean. Ian Smith I'm standing as part of the Ilkley Community Alliance, group of independent candidates, for Ilkley West, in the Ilkley Town Council election on May 4th 2023. I am standing as an independent because I feel that local politics should be about our community’s needs, and that national party agendas are unhelpful at this level of local government. I have lived in Ilkley with my family for over 17 years, and my wife and I have brought up our two sons here. As a resident of Ilkley South and a small business owner working out of my office in Ilkley West, I've been fortunate enough to get to know our town and its people quite well. I have contributed my time to a number of local events and initiatives such as Climate Action Ilkley’s annual Car Free Festival, and the Ilkley Live Garden Music Festival for which I built the website. I’m also part of the team that is currently working to open Ilkley’s new Library of Things - Ilkley Thingery. Ilkley has a well deserved reputation as a wonderful place to live, and I am grateful every day for my good fortune in making my home here. I love and want the best for the town. We must work together to keep Ilkley as the outstanding place it is today. We must fnd ways to manage downwards the levels of trafc and reduce the dominance of cars, especially at the pinch points on The Grove and Springs Lane. We must put in place ways to increase the engagement between the town council and the town’s residents and businesses, so that decision making becomes more truly democratic We must improve sustainability and reduce our carbon footprint, both as part of the broader efforts to combat climate change, but also to reduce waste and bring down our energy bills.

Kath Steward I am standing as an independent candidate for Ilkley West, part of the Ilkley Community Alliance, in the Ilkley Town Council elections, along with 3 other colleagues, also standing as independents. We believe that party politics gets in the way of doing the right thing for Ilkley.

By acting independently we can make the right decisions rather than toe a party line.

I have lived in Ilkley for 24 years, bringing up my family of 4 children, who all attended local Ilkley schools. In 2015 I retired from my career as a full-time GP.

I am one of the founding members of Climate Action Ilkley and started the Community Orchards in Ilkley and the Ilkley Cargo Bike Scheme. More recently I have been the lead trustee, getting funding for, and setting up Ilkley Thingery, a Library of Things, where people can borrow tools and equpiment at a reasonable price rather than having to buy Things. I am also a keen allotment holder.

Ilkey is a beautiful place to live with a strong sense of community. I want Ilkley to continue to thrive for the current residents and for future generations.

I would work to fnd ways of improving public transport within the town, to reduce car use, pollution and carbon emissions. I also know that many of you want safer cycling routes through and within Ilkley and I would work to support this.

I want to reach out to everyone in Ilkley and hear what you want for your town, together we can fnd solutions to the issues that confront us.

We need to create a just transition to a sustainable, climate resilient town which reduces its carbon footprint by 50% in the next 7 years and to zero by 2050. I want to work with everyone in Ilkley so that together we can meet this challenge.

The ICA website is

Further information about the local elections in May is available on the Bradford Council website:


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