CANDIDATES hoping to get elected to Worcestershire County Council's Rainbow Hill division took part in a lively hustings debate at a Worcester pub.

The evening saw Worcestershire County Council's leader Cllr Simon Geraghty turn up to defend his track record - with Labour politicians criticising him over service cuts.

The hustings, which took place at Worcester's Cap 'n' Gown pub, also saw Lib Dem Ken Carpenter insist his party is "on the up".

Cllr Geraghty said: "We are supporting the local economy to grow and all the evidence shows this county is performing exceptionally well.

"We've also invested heavily in the city centre, that's really important in making it an attractive place where people want to be, and spend time in.

He told the pub he wanted Worcestershire's roads and pavements to be "in the top 25 per cent" in the country and pointed to the extra investment into key services like social care.

But Labour Councillor Lynn Denham, a city councillor trying to defeat him in Rainbow Hill, said: "I have a track record as a city councillor since 2012, I'm been a caring councillor and I'm a champion of environmental issues.

"I think the cuts have gone too far, cuts to the budget for services that people need.

"More cuts are continuing down the line, and the levels of it are not acceptable."

She said the council's Conservative leadership was choosing "the wrong priorities" with its funding.

Mr Carpenter, who used to be a city councillor, said: "It's a good time to be a Liberal Democrat.

"Membership is soaring, even more so since the General Election was called.

"Why do I want to stand in Riverside? I'm the obvious person to finger when the party needs a candidate."

He said he knew the area suffers "serious parking problems", calling it a common theme across the city.

Also standing in Rainbow Hill is Green Hannah Cooper and UKIP's Hazel Finch, but neither of them attended the hustings.


DURING Wednesday's hustings event the candidates also got into a debate about the Croft Road crossing.

As the Worcester News revealed on Monday, Cllr Geraghty says he wants to remove the hated zebra crossing and replace it with a button-controlled pelican one.

In the pub, Cllr Lynn Denham asked him why he had not done it "yeas ago", saying people have long disliked the current one.

She also claimed he was only raising it now due to the elections, and said she had posted out 500 surveys of her own to householders in Riverside asking for their views on the crossing.

Clr Geraghty responded by saying he was asking people for their opinions all year around, and said he'd already done his own survey of resident earlier this year.

"I sent a survey to every house in the Riverside division and had over 500 responses back, the top issue was congestion," he said.


The hustings events will carry on at Worcester's Cap 'n' Gown pub next week, with three different debates lines up.

On Tuesday evening, from 8pm candidates standing in St Peter's are being invited to go along and put their case forward.

Then the following day, on Wednesday, hopefuls in the county council division of Bedwardine will get the chance to have their say.

The final hustings takes place on Thursday, April 27, when the division of Claines is up for debate.

The latter two events also start from 8pm at the pub, which is based in Upper Tything.

Pub landlord Ted Marshall said: "These events are democracy in action, it's a chance for people to question the candidates."