Election coverage: the battle being played out in Worcester City Council's Nunnery ward (From Worcester News)
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Election coverage: the battle being played out in Worcester City Council's Nunnery ward
ON Thursday, May 22, voters head to the polls to deliver their verdict on Worcester City Council. Here, our ward-by-ward coverage continues with a look at Nunnery.
IF Labour wants to stay in control of Worcester City Council it will need to retain Nunnery - and past experience suggests the party is the clear favourite.
The last time this seat was contested in 2012, Labour polled more than 1,000 votes, nearly double the Conservatives' tally as runners-up.
Expectations are high that Labour will be winners once more, especially as the seat is being defended by the Mayor of Worcester, Councillor Pat Agar.
With a year's worth of major publicity, networking and relationship-building behind them, no sitting mayor has ever been defeated at the ballot box once their term in office nears the handover.
Nevertheless, the only serious challengers in Nunnery for the last few years have been the Conservatives - and support for David Cameron's party not too long ago has been such that in many other wards, it would have been enough to win.
In 2010 the Tories polled 1,394 votes, only to fall in 673 in 2011 and then 554 two years ago, as voters steadily railed against the Coalition Government.
With the economy now picking up the Tories will be hoping its support does likewise, and this year their candidate is Alan Feeney, a mace-bearer who ironically officiates for the mayor at some public events and gets involved in other functions in a similar civic capacity.
The BNP is also standing a candidate in the ward in Carl Mason, the main organiser of the party's Worcester branch.
The Green Party is also hoping to make progress here, and has put forward candidate Barbara Mitra, an activist who has stood several times in the past and will aim to draw on her experience.
Anything other than a Labour victory would be a shock in Nunnery, but the Tories will be looking at the votes very carefully here as a significant rise will give it real hope for next year's general election.
A major issue in Nunnery has been parking problems caused by not enough parking spaces at County Hall, the Spetchley HQ of Worcestershire County Council.
The ward also takes in part of Newtown Road, where supermarket giant Lidl was criticised last year for the amount of litter being dropped in the surroundings by people leaving the store.
Given the amount of cars which drive though it to reach the city centre, congestion has always been a real problem, something which regularly crops up with councillors.
WHAT THE CANDIDATES HAVE TO SAY
PAT AGAR (LAB)
Residents in Nunnery ward have faced many challenges in recent years: the squeeze on living standards, the introduction of the Bedroom Tax and cuts to services hit hard.
The Tory county council plan to withdraw funding to sheltered accommodation warden services will have a big impact at Chelmsford Court and Lincoln Green.
Speaking with many residents there, it is clear that being able to live in your own home, with Warden support, is quite literally a lifeline for so many.
Cuts to bus services have also affected residents, causing real problems for those working shifts, wanting to get to GP appointments or do the shopping. Without buses, many are left isolated, so I was pleased to get a temporary reprieve for the Sunday Tolladine service.
I continue to campaign for new play facilities and a football pitch in Ronkswood, and hope to be re-elected to see this and other projects through.
ALAN FEENEY (CON)
I arrived in Worcester eight years ago and immediately immersed myself in this great city.
Originally from Scotland, I now live with my wife just off Tolladine Road.
I sit on a number of local committees and am a keen fundraiser for local and national charities through my private events company.
I have come to local politics to try and bring a fresh approach, common sense and to do what I have always loved; helping people.
It is my intention to fill the huge void left by Mike Layland’s retirement.
Labour, Lib Dem and Green took control of the city council without asking the people.
Labour have raised council tax by the highest amount possible without asking the people.
Labour are killing the city centre by raising parking charges. This costs people their jobs.
I will make sure that Nunnery gets the representation it deserves.
CARL MASON (BNP)
I'm standing for the BNP in Nunnery 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.
BARBARA MITRA (GREEN)
I have lived in Worcester for nearly 16 years and work as a senior lecturer at the University of Worcester. I am married with two children. I believe in a caring, inclusive and democratic society that allows everyone to do valuable work, follow their interests, interact with their community and enjoy the nature around us.
Our democracy should be participatory and empowering, allowing people to take an active and informed part in the decision-making processes.
Local communities should hold power by keeping the planning powers and using our money on projects that benefit local communities the most.
Major decisions, such as new residential development, transport, education and economic developments should be made for the benefit of the community.
I believe we need more consistently high-quality councillors who will give people more say.
If elected, I will do all I can to be a voice for local people and local issues.
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