Election coverage: we take a look at Worcester City Council's Rainbow Hill ward

The Guildhall, home of Worcester City Council

The Guildhall, home of Worcester City Council

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

ON Thursday, May 22, voters head to the polls to deliver their verdict on Worcester City Council. Our ward-by-ward coverage continues with a look at Rainbow Hill.

WORCESTER'S Rainbow Hill ward is regarded as safe Labour territory - with a strong track record for the party.

It has a history of returning Labour councillors to the Guildhall, and expectations are high that it will do the same this month - especially with a high-profile candidate defending it.

Councillor Paul Denham is one of the city council's most experienced politicians, and currently chairs the licensing committee, one of the most crucial roles up for grabs each year.

The committee finally agreed to bring in a cap for taxi driver numbers back in February after years of gripes from the public over spiralling numbers of cabbies.

Cllr Denham is also in line to become the new Mayor of Worcester providing he retains Rainbow Hill, making the potential reward for re-election all the more sweeter.

Last year he was elected to Worcestershire County Council for the first time, winning Rainbow Hill, which gives him an added advantage for the district poll.

In 2010 he got 1,126 votes, compared with 686 from the second-placed Conservative challenger Kate Dixon, who now works for Worcester MP Robin Walker in his office.

The electoral turnout will be very interesting in Rainbow Hill this year as it took a huge tumble in 2012, the last time it was contested.

In 2010 it hit 56 per cent, a very high figure, but fell to just 22 per cent two years ago, with around 1,200 fewer people taking part.

Cllr Denham can expect a tough challenge this year with five other candidates up against him including the Tories, UKIP and BNP, as well as left-wing party Trades Unionists and Socialists Against the Cuts.

What makes the contest all the more intriguing is that David Barlow, a name familiar to anyone who followed Worcester politics in the 80s and 90s, is standing for the Greens.

Mr Barlow was a councillor from 1985 to 2004 and even the leader at one point, but for the Labour Party.

He quit the party in 2011 after 30 years of membership to join the Greens, citing their "progressive" policies.

His presence on the ballot sheet means the contest could come down to how much support he is able to attract from older voters who remember his name.

If UKIP pick up votes that could also have an impact.

* Your Worcester News has set up a section on our website which features all the candidates' profiles - we will also be using it to provide a LIVE results service on May 22.

Visit worcesternews.co.uk/news/election2014/results/

DAVID BARLOW (GREEN)

I have been associated with Worcester for much of my life, having attended school in the city and now living near the city centre for the past 33 years.

I am now retired but was employed in senior marketing management of national brands, both within the UK and abroad.

I subsequently taught economics and business studies in local colleges. I was a member of Worcester City Council from 1985-2004, where, in addition to being leader, I chaired several committees.

I also served as a county councillor (Hereford & Worcestershire) from 1993 to 1997.

In addition, I chaired South Worcestershire PCT throughout the whole of its 5-year existence.

Having terminated my membership of the Labour Party, I joined the Greens in 2013 because I believe the party offers exactly the kind of credible, progressive policies I have always supported and from which the Labour Party has drifted away.

DAVID CARNEY (UKIP)

I have lived in the Merrimans Hill area for some three years now and live with my partner and two children. I have been a full time dad for the past four years and studied accountancy at a local college.

I intend to set up my own bookkeeping and accountancy business.

I want to represent the local residents in issues that affect them. The future of Perdiswell, over-subscribed taxi ranks, town centre parking, to name but a few, all affect residents. I want to be that candidate that breathes new life in to the Council and gives the people a voice for change. Vote for UKIP to make a difference.

PAUL DENHAM (LAB)

It is an honour to be elected to serve residents as their local councillor, and I have done my best to represent Rainbow Hill ward at the city council for 14 years.

People who have asked me for help with Bedroom Tax, parking, potholes, housing and lots of other concerns know that I always work hard to sort things out.

For the 13 years, Rainbow Hill ward was left behind by the Tory city and county councils, but we now have a Labour council that is making a difference.

Your Labour city council invests in affordable housing and supports schemes to reduce youth unemployment and give young people the skills and qualifications needed to get a decent job.

Supporting shops and businesses is the best way to make sure jobs are available, and I am proud to be part of a Labour council that is doing that.

ALAN DRAPER (BNP)

I'm standing for the BNP in Rainbow Hill 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.

LORRAINE EDMONDSON (CON)

I believe that being a councillor offers the opportunity to make a difference to the local community, by helping to shape, direct and monitor the services which affect local people’s lives.

If elected I will work hard on behalf of the residents of Rainbow Hill; I will endeavour to look after their interests at all times.

ANDREW MORGAN (TUSAC)

I am a former public sector care worker and have lived in Worcester for over two years.

I am standing for election as part of TUSC because I'm sick of people losing their much needed services and struggling to get by in insecure jobs.

We live in a wealthy country where the rich are getting richer all the time. To them money really is no object.

Those services that aren't being completely removed are being privatised so that New Labour and the Torys' mates can profit by attacking the the already modest pay and conditions of people who work tirelessly to provide them.

UKIP are just another bankers' party who want to carve up public services and attack employment rights.

The main parties have helped them by blaming immigration.

This red herring helps them avoid facing the reality that they are ALL responsible for causing the biggest global financial crisis since the 1930s.

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