Twelve serving Herefordshire councillors have confirmed they will try to hold onto their seats in May’s local elections.

In response to a survey of all 53 sitting county councillors, those who confirmed their intention to stand are:

  • Coun Sebastian Bowen (Bircher ward, True Independents). As chairperson of the council, Coun Bowen chairs full meetings of councillors, of which there are 10 a year. He is a former Royal Marine, teacher and actor.
  • Coun Clare Davies (Bromyard West, True Independents) The most recently elected current councillor, former Bromyard mayor Coun Davies won a ward by-election last spring following the resignation of Independents for Herefordshire councillor Alan Seldon.
  • Coun Barry Durkin (Old Gore, Conservatives) Coun Durkin has represented Old Gore, which includes Much Marcle and Upton Bishop, since 2008, and chairs the county’s armed forces covenant partnership.
  • Coun Carole Gandy (Mortimer, Conservatives) A former NHS worker, Coun Gandy sits on the council’s health, care and wellbeing scrutiny committee. The large Mortimer ward lies in the north-west of the county.
  • Coun Phillip Howells (Ledbury West, Liberal Democrats). As well as chairing the council’s children and young people scrutiny committee, Coun Howells is currently mayor of Ledbury, where he has been a town councillor for many years, a role for which he is also seeking re-election.
  • Coun Mike Jones (Weobley, True Independents). With 44 per cent of the vote, Coun Jones had one of the closer victories at the last council elections in 2019, when Weobley ward proved a three-way Independent-Conservative-Labour split.
  • Coun Jim Kenyon (Tupsley, ungrouped) The council’s only non-aligned councillor, Coun Kenyon is a former serviceman who runs a pub and brewery in the city, and is also a city councillor.
  • Coun Jonathan Lester (Three Crosses, Conservatives). Coun Lester is group leader of Herefordshire’s 14 Conservative councillors and also chairs the connected communities scrutiny committee. Three Crosses ward extends from Stoke Lacy to Little Marcle.
  • Coun Jeremy Milln (Hereford Central, Green Party) A conservation archaeologist and expert in cultural heritage, Coun Milln also represents central Hereford on the city council.
  • Coun Roger Phillips (Arrow, Conservatives) Coun Phillips also sits on several other bodies including the Hereford & Worcester Fire Authority. Arrow ward includes Shobdon, Pembridge and Lyonshall.
  • Coun Louis Stark (Ross-on-Wye West, Liberal Democrats) Coun Stark chairs the county’s environment and sustainability scrutiny committee, and also sits on Ross town council.
  • Coun Elissa Swinglehurst (Llangarron , Conservatives) Coun Swinglehurst chairs the council’s health, care and wellbeing scrutiny committee and also the Wye catchment nutrient management board.

The Greens and Liberal Democrats have said they are not yet ready disclose their full candidate lists for the elections.

And some declared candidacies are still subject to parties’ formal selection procedures, ahead of the deadline for nominations on April 4, a month ahead of election day.


No member of the council’s current seven-strong cabinet of department heads has yet stated whether or not they will stand again.

Coun Graham Jones, the True Independents member for Castle, told Almeley parish council earlier this month that he would not be re-standing for the ward.

According to one councillor: “Many current elected members aren’t standing again, for lots of reasons, but that does also give hope that the new faces will see challenges with fresh ideas and a sense of can-do.”

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Herefordshire Labour, currently without representation on the council, says it will have "numerous candidates" standing across Herefordshire in May.

These include its likely parliamentary candidate for Hereford and South Herefordshire Joseph Emmett, as well as Will Hopkins and Neil Barrington, though the party is yet to announce where they will stand.

Meanwhile, Herefordshire Council has confirmed that voters will now need to show photographic ID in order to vote on May 4, in line with new government policy. This can be a passport, photographic driving licence, disabled Blue Badge, or other official photo-bearing ID.

According to a recent survey by the Constitution Society, 40 out of 70 English local authorities who responded said they were “very or extremely worried” about enforcing the photo ID requirement, while none said they were “not at all worried”.

This article was updated at 15:00 on January 26 to include the information on Coun Graham Jones.

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