The Northern Echo asked people in Darlington their thoughts on the Mayoral and Crime and Commissioner election.

Gemma Charlton said: “Well I think the only we can make any difference to our community is if we vote because you can’t moan about it if you don’t decide to make a say.

“Each candidate has different viewpoints and you’ve got to look at what’s more important to you and I just think it’s important to vote.

“I want to see safer streets, I’ve got a teenage son and he’s going through some stuff and he doesn’t want to go out in town because of other people, so I want to have safer streets and I want our elderly to feel safe to go out.

“We’ve been in a pandemic where people have been stuck in their houses, they want to feel safe to go out and be in the community.”

“I want to see our economy grow; I want to see our kids have jobs so they’re not hanging around on the streets, so it comes hand in hand really. Those issues are important to me and, obviously, education. “Covid has had an impact on everything but my views haven’t changed because of it, I suppose the isolation and getting people out of the house, I think that has impacted things, but it hasn’t changed my voting.

“I think the treasury is really good and I can see there are things in place that are starting to bring things to the area, work into the area, and I think that is so, so important and I think the treasury has had an impact on how I voted.

“I’m voting for the party, it’s hard because you want to have it hand in hand but when it comes to overall choice it would be the party."

Alan Burgess, 77, said: “I think this guy needs to continue with his plans to rejuvenate and expand the airport, I can never ever understand how Newcastle airport expanded the way it is in this location when Teesside Airport has just gone down, down, down. The access is there, everything, road rail, everything.

“I think that’s a big issue, I think we should connect and keep the connections. Going back many years people got lots and lots of holiday destinations and they lasted for one season, gone. They seem to be really concentrating on selling the airport rather than building on it.

“So I’m glad that this Ben Houchen took it over into the control of everyone, he is developing it, he’s also developing the rest of the Tees valley, so let’s put him back in and give him a chance.

“in terms of the Police and Crime Commissioner, do we ever really know these people? Do we know what they do? I don’t think so and I honestly don’t know why they are there, but the Tees valley side of things, that’s important and I think Ben Houchen has got to be given another term and see that he continues on the work that he’s already started.

“Covid hasn’t affected how I’ll vote, like everyone I’ve stuck to the rules, it’s been boring and terrible, I feel very, very sorry for people who have been affected, but it hasn’t affected how I vote because I think we’ve got to thing beyond Covid.

“We’ve got to get on top of things, there’s an awful lot of people still don’t get it and I think these people that are pushing, pushing, pushing, I think they are going to cause a problem.

“I think the treasury is good if it means real jobs up here, but what I don’t want is people coming from the south thinking they can buy a whole estate for what a flat costs down there, that’s what I don’t want.

“If they’re moving up here, I want them to employ qualified people from up here.

“I think I’m voting for the candidate rather than the party because I am happy to go along with the things he has said.”

Michael, 70, said: “I came out to vote for Ben Houchen because I support what he’s done for Tees Valley and if I didn’t come out and vote he might not get in so I wanted to support that. “he’s done a lot for the airport and regeneration of the Tees Valley.

“Covid hasn’t changed anything for me because I’m not that shallow.

“I don’t believe the treasury will move up here, I think they just say they will and the wont, they tried it at Leeds with the NHS but it didn’t really work very well. “It’d be good for the area if they do come here that’s for sure.

“In the case of the mayor I am voting for the candidate, but for the Police and Crime Commissioner I am voting for the party because Durham is just a hot bed of crime.

The Northern Echo:

Issy Crocker, 69, said: “I came out to vote today because I have the right to and I think it’s a terrible shame if people don’t honour their right to vote, and so even though I don’t know why I’m voting or who I am voting for I feel I have a duty vote and therefore I have a duty to find out who I am voting for and why I might vote.

“Green issues matter to me, it matters to me that we take climate change seriously that we stop putting it off into 2020, 2030, 2050, because everyone is passing it onto the next government because our governmental system is in short blocks, nobody has a long term view.

“So actually what is wrong with our whole system is that nobody will take accountability for the 10 years or 20 years into the future and we need that, whether I have the opportunity to state that with a small cross I don’t think I do, but that’s why I’m here.

“Covid hasn’t made a difference for me, I think it’s been really difficult for anybody but I do think the government made a complete hash up of it.

“My biggest concern is how they now get out of it in a way that is honouring of climate issues. “If you take Covid, everyone was suddenly saying ‘oh I’m going to die, let’s seriously sort this out, let’s spend all the money now to fix it.’”

“But actually, we’ve been saying this for 30 to 40 years about climate change because they can’t see people dying here on our doorstep and yet they are dying. “We’ve lost wildlife, we’ve lost trees, just the whole ecosystem is in total chaos and that needed to be addressed then but because this was so dramatic because it might have been on my doorstep, or it might have been my grandmother who got it, suddenly things are done about it.

“If the treasury comes up here, brings jobs then I’m excited, if it means it’s a justification for executive housing, I’m furious because they’re planning to take down Skerning Woods in order to make a golf course, in order to put more housing on the golf course we’ve got it’s outrageous.

“If this is the justification then I’m not happy at all but if we can recognise that there are brownfield sites in Darlington and we can use those for what is needed which is first-tier housing for the people who realise that they don’t actually need a four-bedroomed house for just one person it would be good to have that up here.

“I like the devolution of power and to have the treasury in the North of England it might bring some reality home to the fact that we are a whole England and the North of England has it’s place.

The Northern Echo:

Jeff Bond, 60, said: “I’ve come to vote for one thing really and that’s to vote for Ben Houchen, I think he’s brilliant because he’s done everything he said he was going to do and so you’ve got to vote for those people really.

“Covid hasn’t affected who I’ll be voting for because we’ve done the right things.

“The treasury has affected how I’ll vote, that’s down to Ben Houchen again, because of him we’re getting things here.

“When Tony Blair the labour lad was in, we got all sorts thrown here and the same is happening because of Ben so I hope he stays there.

“I think I’m definitely voting for the candidate and what he’s done, if he hadn’t have done anything then I wouldn’t have voted for him but I am because I think he’s doing the right things.

The Northern Echo:

Ronald Carlton, 61, said: “I’ve come out to vote because I’ve lived in this town for most of my life apart from when I lived in London briefly and I tend to find we’re getting better, the North-East is getting better.

“I just want to keep good old Ben Houchen in power as the mayor because I just don’t want to go back to a corrupt labour council in this town anymore.

“I am definitely voting for both the candidate and the party, I’ve been conservative all my life, I was in the young conservatives when I was young you see and it’s been a family thing because a few of my family are from down the south and a few came up north.

“We’ve all been conservative supporters, it’s weird because you get all the labour supporters around you and you get indoctrinated and deluded by their parents about what’s going on and they don’t have their own minds to think.

“I believe in everybody has a chance to try and make something with their life and if you’re getting held back by people saying well you have to do that and you have to do this they’re never going to get on, let’s hope we start looking onwards and upwards.

“we’ll just have to see how many deluded labour voters come out today.”