Newly elected Jim relishing town hall role

Blackpool's newest councillor says tackling fly tipping will be among his priorities as he prepares to take up his new town hall role.

Saturday, 5th March 2016, 9:00 am
Jim Hobson, front, celebrating with Labour colleagues including Gordon Marsden MP, following his victory at the Bloomfield by-election

Labour’s Jim Hobson secured 450 votes, which was 57 per cent of the total, as he retained the Bloomfield ward seat for his party.

The Conservatives polled the second most votes with 150 for their candidate Tony Jones.

Turnout saw 782 people casting a vote, which represented 18.7 per cent of the electorate.

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Labour's Jim Hobson

The by-election was called after John Jones resigned from Blackpool Council in January.

Following his victory Mr Hobson, 46, who works at the Land Registry in Warton, said: “I was absolutely delighted to win, especially by such a large margin.

“But we have worked very hard over the last four-and-a-half weeks.

“I really wanted to represent Bloomfield because I was brought up in Bootle on a very rough council estate, far worse than anything in Blackpool, so I understand the problems people face when they are living in difficult circumstances.

Labour's Jim Hobson

“From talking to people, among the main issues many are worried about is the environment.

“I didn’t realise just how bad the fly tipping is in the ward.

“The council does a good job in clearing it up, but there are couches and settees being dumped.

“It is a major problem and upsets a lot of residents. I have been looking at tackling it in terms of enforcement, and prevention for example with the use of alley gates.”

Mr Hobson, who lives with his partner Lisette and has a 17-year-old son, added; “I have met a lot of people in the run-up to the by-election and I am now looking forward to representing them on the council.”

Five candidates contested the seat.

UKIP’s Spencer Shackleton received 118 votes, followed by Phill Armstrong for the Green Party with 32 votes, and Neil Close for the Liberal Democrats with 31 votes.

The by-election was sparked when John Jones, who was also a member of the council’s ruling cabinet, stood down for ‘personal and family reasons’.

He also secured the seat in a by-election in 2012 following the death of former councillor Mary Smith.

Parts of Bloomfield ward are among the most deprived in the country.

Three pockets of poverty are among the top 10 least well off parts of the country, according to government figures which were released last October.