THE CONSERVATIVES will be fully expecting to comfortably keep hold of the county council’s Warndon Parish seat which has been in the hands of Tory cabinet member Andy Roberts since 2009.

Andy Roberts has picked up some significant victories in recent elections to Worcestershire County Council, winning by almost 1,000 votes in front of Labour’s Paul Mountain in 2017 and fighting off a UKIP surge in 2013 to bag a 322 vote majority.

The city councillor and former mayor has been cabinet member for children and families since 2017 and has overseen the move of children’s services to Worcestershire Children First brought on by an inadequate Ofsted rating.

The service was given a higher ‘requires improvement’ rating in 2019.

Anything other than a Tory ‘hold’ would certainly be a big surprise, particularly as the two city council seats here, always a good indicator of where residents are at with their voting intentions, have long been solidly Conservative.

Labour have usually finished second in county council contests but one result in 2019 is certainly worth nothing where Tory cabinet member Lucy Hodgson was pushed very closely by Green candidate Andrew Cross in the city council’s Warndon Parish South ward with the Conservative managing to just hold onto her city council seat by a mere 34 votes.

It’s a five-way battle in Warndon Parish with activist and campaigner Emily Bond standing for the Green Party.

Labour’s David Taylor is also standing with John Rudge standing for the Liberal Democrats and Darren Rushby representing the Social Democratic Party.

There is a big community feel here, with the area one of only two in Worcester to have its own parish council.

Emily Bond (Green)

“I am 36 years old and originally from Sutton Coldfield. I have lived in Worcester for six years. I have a spinal disability and work part time for the Co-op as a member pioneer liaising with local charitable causes who receive funding. I have recently completed a degree in Environmental Science, and am taking a break before beginning a masters in Environmental Management. I am an associate member of the Institution of Environmental Sciences.

“I have campaigned my whole life for the environment, equality, diversity and social justice, and believe that these are some of the most pressing issues we need to address in Worcestershire and nationwide. My priorities are protecting green space, reducing car use, increasing public transportation and active travel, affordable housing and public services.”

Andy Roberts (Conservative)

“I aim to serve our community while maintaining Conservative values. I am a governor at Lyppard Primary School and St. Richard’s Hospice. I see no point in personal attacks. I’m an environmentalist but I realise developments are needed but it must not threaten our green spaces. I opposed the plan for housing on the old golf course but I called for a new high school. I do not agree with my opponent’s case for decriminalising the sale of cocaine neither do I support illegal demonstrations. I believe attitudes should be shaped by sound arguments, not violence. Co-operation is the best way forward in tackling boy racers, crime and motorbikes on paths.This is the logic behind my Smartwater project, consultation on litter, and the active road safety measures for Plantation Drive and Newtown Road.”

John Rudge (Liberal Democrat)

“John has lived and worked in Worcester since 1996 teaching in a secondary school, a pupil referral unit and a sixth form college. John lives in Warndon Villages. John believes that local politics should be run by local people who care for their environment and the well-being of all residents in the community. John’s special interest is in education and making sure that all students have the best opportunities to explore and realise their potential and said it would be an honour to be given the chance to ensure that local people’s needs are heard, understood and responded to

“His priorities are to ensure that green spaces are protected and managed, make sure that people’s needs come before party politics and to encourage people to understand how green issues can be responded to at a local level.”

Darren Rushby (Social Democrat)

“I have lived in Warndon Villages since 2018. I served in the Royal Navy from 1997 to 2003. Currently I have my own business in logistics, and I am also setting up another business in October.

“I turned to the SDP after being let down by the current “duopoly” and the SDP policies show that there is a better way. As we come out of the pandemic the challenges we face needs a solid plan to get the economy back to growth and deal with the huge financial cost.

“Warndon is a lovely area of Worcester we need to ensure that it retains professionally managed open spaces, homes and at the same time encourage business to come to the area bringing jobs and opportunities for the local community. The SDP is a growing party and open to new ideas and members to help us grow to be the alternative.”

David Taylor (Labour)

“My reason for accepting the nomination in the coming council elections for Labour is that I feel having a Labour Party representative for Warndon Parishes would give people a genuine and viable alternative to the self-serving norms that seem to be permeating politics at the moment.

“I am 60 years old with two grown up sons and I work for Royal Mail. Having retired as a reservist in the RAF after serving for over a decade, including a tour of duty in Afghanistan, I can now devote myself to trying to improve the society in which we live.

Fairness, opportunity and an improved environment belong to us all and not just a small elite.

“I know this will be a difficult struggle, but it is one which I am prepared to accept, and it is for these reasons that I am appealing for your votes on May 6.”