The chairman of Menston Community Association has announced he will stand as an independent candidate for the Wharfedale ward in this year’s Bradford Council elections.

Dr Stephen Ellams told a community forum meeting in the village last week he was intending to stand in the election on May 22.

Dr Ellams is currently teaching at the University of Leeds having retired as examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh and from the NHS as a Specialist Oral Surgeon.

He has been involved in local issues for many years, particularly the issue of planning in and around Wharfedale, and is keen to make sure the potential merging of Burley-in-Wharfedale and Menston must be resisted.

Dr Ellams is a founder member of the Wharfedale and Airedale Reviews Developments Group (WARD) and as special projects manager was responsible for commissioning a major report on the A65 Trunk Road.

He fronted the Village Green Application against the current Derry Hill planning application in 2012.

Most recently he presented a petition at Bradford Council Chambers and gave a speech on the loss of Green Belt.

He is currently pursuing an investigation with his local MP Philip Davies by the Local Government Ombudsman on the handling of the current planning applications in Menston.

Dr Ellams was elected chairman of Menston Community Association in October last year and stood in the 1997 General Election for the Shipley Constituency under Sir James Goldsmith’s Referendum Party.

He said: “I have now lived in Menston at four different addresses for nearly 30 years and see myself retiring finally in the Wharfe Valley.

“However, before that time I would very much like to represent the communities of Menston and Burley-in- Wharfedale as an Independent local councillor and hopefully rebalance local politics.”

Ilkley ward councillor councillor Anne Hawkesworth, who became independent last year, welcomed Dr Ellams’ decision.

She said: “I know from my own experience that the only way our local communities can defend themselves from the predations of developers exploiting the shamefully lax attitude of the Conservative and Labour governments to planning matters is to return strong local Independent councillors to stand up for them.

“Councillors subject to the party whip simply cannot do this.”