Election coverage: we take a look at Worcester City Council's Warndon Parish South ward

Elections are looming on Thursday

Elections are looming on Thursday

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

On Thursday the voters head to the polls to deliver their verdict on Worcester City Council. Tom Edwards' ward-by-ward coverage continues with a look at Warndon Parish South.

IF the Conservatives are to regain control of Worcester City Council it will need to win here - and the omens are good.

Warndon Parish South is a formidable Tory stronghold that it has defended comfortably regardless of which party forms the Government of the day.

It will expect to do so again this year, especially as one of the Conservatives' best-known councillors is looking for a third term in office.

Cllr Andy Roberts was first elected to the ward eight years ago and is best known for his spell as the cabinet member for finance at the Guildhall.

He lost that role almost exactly one year ago when the Labour party teamed up with the Lib Dems and Greens to form a shock coup, booting the Tories out of power.

During Cllr Roberts' time in the job he was largely responsible for freezing council tax, a popular move among the wider public at a time when the economy was struggling.

When he last fought the seat in 2010 he polled a whopping 1,687 votes, with Labour finishing second with 821 on an excellent 70 per cent turnout.

In common with everywhere else in Worcester, when it was last contested in 2011 turnout fell, with just 39 per cent casting their vote, but it didn't stop the Tories winning again, with Cllr Lucy Hodgson holding the seat.

Now Labour controls the city council it will be hoping to do better here, with activist Barbara Dunn the candidate.

It will be fascinating to see how UKIP do - it has not stood here before and is putting forward a big-hitter, Worcester branch spokesman Steve Davis.

The Green Party, which between 2010 and 2011 doubled its support to 348 votes, is also contesting it.

Given the past history in this ward, Labour might be satisfied with a second-placed finish but a much greater share of the vote.

But UKIP could yet throw a spanner in the works.

* 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 Thursday.

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

WHAT THE CANDIDATES HAVE TO SAY

STEVE DAVIS (UKIP)

I am from Worcester and have lived in Warndon Villages for many years, so I know the city and area well.

UKIP understands that Immigration is a local issue, causing strain on services and infrastructure and leading to urban sprawl.

I want to see housing development in line with local needs and wishes. Money should be spent on services, not wasted on local government executive perks and wages.

UKIP wants affordable bus services and free and plentiful town centre parking, and clean and well-maintained roads and public spaces.

BARBARA DUNN (LAB)

I came to Worcester in 1997 to become head at a Worcester Primary School. I managed the school for six years, seeing through significant change and improvement before moving on to work as an education consultant and for the University of Worcester as a supervisory tutor.

I have two grown up children.

Now retired from full time work in education, I spend much of my time making music.

I play flute and recorder, specialising in Early Music and playing for historical dance groups.

Having worked all my life with children and young people, I realise how important it is to be ambitious for them and do all we can to give them the confidence and skills they need to do well in life.

That is why I back the Labour city council’s schemes to support young people into work and to attract good employers and decent jobs to the city.

ANITA PEPLOW (GREEN)

I was born in Worcester and have lived in the city all of my life.

Worcester has changed immensely over recent years, becoming a much more vibrant city.

There is a lot more to enjoy, such as a thriving live music scene and improvements for cyclists, but there are, alas, still many concerns over road traffic, pollution from road vehicles and congestion.

The sheer volume and speed of traffic is one of my major concerns and I support the initiatives to introduce 20 mph speed limits in residential streets and extend residents only parking schemes where requested.

Cycling and walking to work instead of using cars for short distances needs to be encouraged more and made safer by traffic calming.

Local elections are important, politics affects people’s lives daily and as a Green Party candidate, I will listen to people's concerns and act upon them where possible.

ANDY ROBERTS (CON)

During my eight years as your local councillor I’ve been involved in our community and held several important posts, not least the city cabinet member for value for money.

Unfortunately, last year, despite the Conservatives being the largest group, Labour and Liberal Democrat joined to take control of the council and reversed policies I’d championed.

Car park charges increased, council tax (which was pinned during my period) went up and landmark projects (like the new swimming pool) were downgraded.

Money was also diverted away from Warndon Villages, even though we pay a high proportion of council tax and have residents who need particular help.

I’m pleased to serve on the board of trustees of both St Richard’s Hospice and Worcester Volunteer Centre.

I’m also committed to being the Special Educational Needs governor at Lyppard Primary and I’m the Chairman of Worcester Leg Club – which aims to minimise the loneliness of people with mobility problems.

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