AFTER the launch of its website, OpenHexham has revealed details of the nine candidates it’s fielding for election to Hexham Town Council.

Representing a broad cross-section of the community, the group ranges in age from 26 to 68 and includes teachers, a stay-at-home mum, a labourer and a retired person. But all are bound by their passion for the town and a hope to bring about real, sustained change to the way local politics is done.

OpenHexham has adopted the principles of ‘flatpack democracy’, which has seen similar groups take independent control of town councils through a group of residents unbound by party political dogma.

For the Leazes ward, Ariane Baty and Fay Hartland intend to stand, while Mike Domingue, Charlie Giaretta, Chip Ponsford and Lee Williscroft-Ferris will throw their hat in for Priestpopple ward. Carolin Blaske, Wendy Breach and Tom Sage are the prospective candidates for the Gilesgate ward.

All nine independents have committed to the group’s ‘Ways of Working’ and the core principles of independence, integrity, positivity, creativity and respect, and over the next four weeks, will be talking to members of the community to discern their priorities as the country emerges from Covid-19 restrictions.

Speaking as the nine candidates were announced, Lee Williscroft-Ferris said: “These are exciting times for Hexham.

“For too long, Hexham has been seen as a one-party fiefdom and this has stifled the kind of progress befitting a town of Hexham’s standing in this day and age.

“My experience as a candidate in the General Election in 2015 taught me that the people of Hexham want real change; they want politics to be done with them rather than to them.

“This is their opportunity to elect a group of people driven purely by their commitment to Hexham rather than partisan politicking.”

Local elections are due to take place on May 6 for county council and town council seats. The police and crime commissioner elections and the Hexham planning referendum will go ahead on the same day.