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Election coverage: Time to look at the 'Village in the City' of St John's
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 St John's.
THIS is one of the city's most exciting wards - with the village in the city constantly making headlines.
With a shopping area looking to get new life injected into it, a thriving student population and all the excitement that brings, plus a large elderly population to boot, St John's is a busy place which keeps councillors busy.
This is a ward where Labour has tended to do well, and it will be looking to draw upon past good showings in the ward by retaining it.
This year it's the turn of Councillor Matthew Lamb to defend it for Labour, who is part of the city council's political leadership as cabinet member for cleaner and greener.
First elected in 2010, he has enjoyed a career surge over the last year and is Labour's Wyre Forest parliamentary candidate for the general election.
Four years age he got 1,697 votes, beating the Conservative Party which finished second on 1,197 in second place, an outcome he would do well to better.
The Conservative Party is traditionally the main challenger here, and will expect to far improve on its showing in 2012, the last time St John's was contested, when it got just 433 votes.
Turnout in 2012 was just 27 per cent compared to 63 per cent when Cllr Lamb first won his seat, a staggering decline which all parties will hope to help turn around.
Voters in St John's have lots of choice this year, with UKIP, the BNP and left-wing party Trades Unionists and Socialists Against the Cuts all standing.
Interesting names on the ballot sheet include Peter Nielsen, a former Labour city councillor in 1980-81 who is standing for the Greens.
Mr Nielsen was a county councillor for Labour from 1977-82, a former party chairman and even became a parliamentary candidate three times, with his last attempt back in 1987.
Richard Delingpole, who is standing for UKIP, made unwanted headlines last year after posting a doctored image of himself on Twitter standing next to Adolf Hitler.
He did it to mock the Tories, who were trawling social media sites to try and dig up any ungratifying details of UKIP candidates.
Mr Delingpole, who insisted he meant it as a joke to poke fun at the Conservatives, was standing for the 2013 county council elections at the time.
* 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.
WHAT THE CANDIDATES HAVE TO SAY
LINDA BELL (BNP)
I'm standing for the BNP in St John's 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
MARK DAVIES (TUSAC)
All the establishment parties support the same policies of cuts and privatisation; the closing down or selling off of public services which many rely on. Policies such as the Bedroom Tax, Welfare Reform and demeaning work capability tests are having tragic consequences.
Even the Church has raised their concern over the shocking rise in the use of food banks.
UKIP are making themselves out to be an alternative to Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, but if you look past their anti-EU stance, it is more cuts, cuts to public services and tax cuts for the rich, and more privatisation.
The Trade Union and Socialist Coalition has opposed and will oppose all these plans and your Worcester TUSC candidates will work with the rail, NHS and council trade unions to fight job losses, service cuts, lower pay and worse conditions and pensions
RICHARD DELINGPOLE (UKIP)
I was born in Worcester, I work in Worcester and live in St. John's.
I am standing for UKIP because I believe in small government.
I believe that our laws should come from Britain, not Brussels, and that a modern nation trades with the world, not just Europe.
UKIP Councillors are answerable to local people, not to any party.
CAJETAN IWUNZE (CON)
I am a qualified teacher and I work as a part-time lecturer at Wolverhampton College. I also work to promote international human rights.
I am originally from Nigeria; having studied political economy in London and Warwick, I recently gained a post-graduate Certificate in Education from Worcester University.
I have been involved in politics for the last ten years; I have two published books covering economic and educational issues in Africa.
If elected I will work hard on behalf of the residents of St John's.
I will endeavour to look after their interests and promote the unique identity of St John as the ‘Village within the City’.
MATTHEW LAMB (LAB)
Matt Lamb is 43, a resident of St John’s and has worked and lived in Worcester for more than 17 years.
As Labour councillor for St John’s since 2010 and through his previous work as a lecturer at Worcester College of Technology, Matt knows many residents as constituents, colleagues, parents and students.
Matt has worked hard in St John’s to tackle anti-social behaviour, balancing the interests of long-term residents and students, and resolving issues with speeding traffic and parking.
He has also campaigned tirelessly to improve play and recreation areas in St John’s, and is pleased to see improvements at Cripplegate Park and new play areas planned for Dines Green.
Matt is proud to be part of a Labour city council that is tackling youth unemployment, building more affordable homes and introducing tighter controls over private landlords – all key issues for residents in St John’s.
PETER NIELSEN (GREEN)
I am a retired project manager and lecturer with a past career in engineering and IT.
I have a BA (Hons) degree in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford, and I am a qualified Further and Adult Education teacher.
I have served the community on councils and school governing bodies in Worcestershire. I currently serve on the Patient Participation Group of my local GP practice, and I am a member of Worcester Civic Society, the UNITE union, the Electoral Reform Society and other bodies.
I believe Worcester would benefit greatly from increased Green Party representation on the city council.
New Green policies would transform the city and make it a cleaner and more enjoyable place to live.
The Bull Ring in St John's, for example, should be completely redesigned with a 20mph speed limit and greater safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Please be bold by voting Green for a new future for life.
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