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Election coverage: Worcester City Council's Warndon ward
ON Thursday, May 22 the voters head to the polls to deliver their verdict on Worcester City Council. Our ward-by-ward coverage continues with a look at Warndon.
AN INTERESTING tale is being played out in Warndon - with two former Labour councillors going head-to-head in a popularity contest.
There are two city councillors serving Warndon, and between 2004 and 2008 one of those was former Labour stalwart Pam Clayton.
After stepping down six years ago, she dumped her Labour membership and joined the Conservatives, citing her unhappiness over the use of all-women shortlists to select parliamentary candidates.
Now she's trying to get her old place back, but this time around she's standing for the Tories.
Her main rival is existing Warndon Labour Councillor Jo Hodges, a city magistrate who used to be her party colleague in the ward.
The contest would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, but now they are standing on different beliefs and alternative political faiths while knocking the same doors looking for votes.
Cllr Hodges has a majority of 572, one of the highest in the city, reflecting Warndon's position as a strong Labour seat.
But the contest has an altogether different backdrop this year - not least because of Mrs Clayton's presence on the ballot sheet.
UKIP has put possibly its strongest Worcester candidate up here, organiser James Goad who does a lot of work behind the scenes in recruiting members and organising the city branch.
People in Warndon also have candidates from the Green Party and BNP, making it a five-strong race.
In reality, anything other than a Labour hold would be a surprise, but with a former Warndon councillor up for the Conservatives and UKIP looking to do well, it's far from certain.
But what will give Labour hope is the 2012 result, when Councillor Alan Amos got 717 votes compared to the Conservatives' 151, the biggest majority in the entire city.
That was from just 960 votes in total, making it a sensational outcome for the party.
* Your Worcester News has set up a section on its website which features all the candidates profiles.
We will also be using it to provide a LIVE results service on May 22.
WHAT THE CANDIDATES HAVE TO SAY
STEPHEN BROHAN (GREEN)
I have lived in Worcester for over 20 years.
I am a strong believer that fairness, and the rights of the low paid and vulnerable, should be at the heart of our local agenda in Worcester; we need to turn away from cutting services and outsourcing, support the living wage and address ourselves to providing affordable public services.
Key to the life of the city is affordable public transport, which also has the potential to reduce the impact of Worcestershire on the environment, the damage to the often worn-out roads of Worcester and help the city’s finances by letting us travel further for less.
At home I am a keen beekeeper and an enthusiast for small-scale, sustainable agriculture, which has the added advantage of making healthier, cheaper food available to more families, allowing them to stretch their incomes further in these times of economic hardship induced by policies of the mainstream parties.
PAM CLAYTON (CON)
I am a retired assistant headteacher, having worked in Worcester schools for 40 years.
In retirement I have enjoyed being Warndon's city councillor, a parish councillor, school governor, a mentor of young people, chairman of Warndon community centre, chairman of Worcester crime prevention panel, member of a police consultative committee, trustee of a domestic violence unit, founder member and trustee of Worcester community trust, chairman of east Worcester's child and family forum.
If elected, I will be a very hands on councillor - my answer phone is always turned on.
I really care about effective education, good housing, a peaceful and safe environment, and road safety (thank you councillor Alan Amos for the wonderful pedestrian crossing).
I want better facilities for residents of all ages and a better all-round deal for Warndon.
JAMES GOAD (UKIP)
I’ve lived in Worcester for 13 years. I’ve worked for both the public and private sectors during my career. I currently work as a heritage professional in a civil engineering firm.
I hope to represent the people of Warndon in the Guildhall.
Having UKIP councillors will change the balance of power in local politics, working to the benefit of local taxpayers.
As councillor for Warndon, I’d fight to keep living costs down by voting against tax increases and trying to eliminate council waste. UKIP councillors don’t have to toe the party line, and can vote freely in favour of their constituents.
It’s time for fresh faces in the Guildhall - vote UKIP on 22nd May.
JO HODGES (LAB)
I have been city councillor for Warndon for a number of years, and cannot remember a time when things were so tough for local residents.
The past four years have seen a squeeze on living standards for many in Warndon: the cost of living crisis and the Bedroom Tax are problems for a significant number of residents. Tory cuts have taken their toll.
As Chair of the Warndon & Gorse Hill Forum, I am helping bring together a range of agencies and initiatives to improve job prospects for local people and tackle issues of local concern, especially around anti-social behaviour.
A former teacher, I am committed to making sure that our children and young people get the support they need to gain the skills and qualifications to get a decent job.
I am pleased that the Labour city council is supporting schemes to help young people into work.
JULIE WHITWAM (BNP)
I'm standing for the BNP in Warndon because of the other parties backgrounds.
Labour are infested with war mongerers, and we believe the Tories lied about our EU referendum.
The Lib Dems are pro EU, contrary to the British people's views.
UKIP are not what they seem.
Green Party policies will put up your taxes.
It only leaves the BNP to stand up for local people.
Vote for the other parties and you will get cheated by them.
Only the BNP will put British people first for jobs, housing and healthcare opportunities
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