THE election battleground is officially up and running - with Worcestershire County Council releasing its list of candidates for May's crunch contest.

A record 274 hopefuls will contest 57 seats at County Hall on Thursday, May 4 with every corner of Worcestershire up for grabs.

It also emerged today how 12 current serving councillors are departing next month, while four are switching to contest new seats and Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion is quitting in Bewdley.

The Conservative leadership is defending an overall majority of seven seats in the long-awaited poll, the first set of all-out elections at County Hall since 2013.

Conservative Councillor Simon Geraghty, the leader, said today: "We've got a clear plan for Worcestershire and that's what we are seeking a mandate on.

"It includes having some of the best roads and pavements in the country, protection of the most vulnerable and keeping council tax in the 'lower quartile' among all county councils.

"We are determined to deliver, not only on improving services but on growing Worcestershire's economy."

Worcester News:

But opposition Labour group leader Councillor Peter McDonald said: "Not one service in Worcester hasn't suffered cutbacks - our aim is to show people that there is an alternative.

"Our aim is to take control of this council so we can start turning things around and stop wasting money."

The Tories will contest every seat and Labour all but four, but the candidates list reveals a significant hike in the number of hopefuls from smaller parties.

The Liberal Democrats have recruited an army of activists in its biggest showing for a generation, contesting seven of Worcester's 10 seats and 52 of the 57 in total across Worcestershire.

Councillor Liz Tucker, Lib Dem group leader, said: "We've got nearly a full slate - that gives you a message of where we're at.

Worcester News:

"We're all really excited, we don't know what's going to happen but all the parties are batting for it and we'll see what comes out the other end."

Elsewhere the Green Party will contest all but two seats across Worcestershire, with only Hallow and Powick the areas without a hopeful. 

Green Councillor Matt Jenkins said: "The West Midlands is a real up and coming area for us. We're looking to increase on what we have."

UKIP has found candidates for every seat in Worcester, Malvern and the Wyre Forest and more around other parts of the county, standing with a record tally of 41 hopefuls.

Activist Owen Cleary, from UKIP's Worcester branch, said: "The expectation from other parties may have been that we wouldn't be able to field so many candidates, but we've got a full field in Worcester, Redditch, West Worcestershire.

"It's tantamount to the support we've got among our membership."

The Women's Equality Party is putting up a candidate in Worcester's Rainbow Hill ward, with campaigner Leisa Taylor standing, while elsewhere the right-ring 'British Resistance' is contesting Gorse Hill and Nunnery.

Of the 57 council seats 32 are currently Conservative, 11 Labour, four Lib Dem, two Green and two UKIP, with six independents.


TWO former Tory cabinet members dumped from office in 2013 are trying to get re-elected, it has emerged.

Conservative Jane Potter, a former education chief who was sensationally ousted by UKIP by just 58 votes, and David Thain, the ex-cabinet member for transformation, are both contesting seats in Redditch.

Elsewhere the former leader of Wychavon District Council Paul Middlebrough, who quit in 2015 after eight years in charge, is contesting the division of Croome.

Worcester News:

UKIP has also wheeled out some big names, with former Worcester general election candidate James Goad standing in Alvechurch and its deputy national treasurer Peter Jewell, an ally of Nigel Farage, contesting Bowbrook.

Elsewhere Councillor Sue Askin, a veteran Lib Dem and one of the party's longest-serving figures in Worcestershire, is stepping down in Claines, with activist Mel Allcott fighting the seat.

She is one of 12 current county councillors departing alongside deputy leader Anthony Blagg, cabinet members Sheila Blagg and Marc Bayliss, UKIP's Stuart Cross and Tory backbenchers Clive Holt, Pam Davey, Lynn Duffy, current Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion, Stephen Clee and Derek Prodger, as well as independent Rachel Jenkins.

Current Tory Councillor Ian Hopwood, who was de-selected, is standing as an independent in Malvern Langland, as is ex-Conservative Gordon Yarrington in St Barnabas, who fell out with his old party last year.

Councillor Marcus Hart is switching wards and contesting Cllr Clee's seat of Chaddesley while Tracey Onslow, the current £40,000-a-year deputy police and crime commissioner, is standing in the Wyre Forest seat of St John.

  • Want to know who is standing in YOUR area? Find the PDFs listing all the county council candidates  HERE