ST JOHN’S has been a huge stronghold for Labour on Worcester City Council for some time now with the three-member ward represented by councillors from the party for years.

Victories in the ward for Labour candidates have come frequently and by majorities of at least 500 in the last few elections with councillors elected with more than half the vote.

However there will be a new face joining Labour city councillors Richard Udall and Matt Lamb in the ward with Chris Cawthorne deciding not to stand for re-election having represented the ward since 2012.

This means Labour has now put its faith in Warndon parish councillor Robyn Norfolk to contest the ward hoping for a similar victory.

St John’s has remained firmly loyal to Labour for years and despite the Conservatives remaining the closest challenger to Labour and performing well in surrounding wards – particularly Bedwardine in both city and council elections as well as St Clement and the county council’s Riverside division - anything over than another victory for Labour would come as a big surprise.

It’s a five-way battle in St John’s for a place on Worcester City Council with Joe Amos standing for the Conservative alongside Steve Mather, who has previously stood in Warndon Parish South, for the Liberal Democrats and Alaric Stephen, who has previously stood in St Peter’s and Cathedral ward, for the Green Party.

Mark Davies is also standing in St John’s in both city and council elections, for the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, having stood at the last two elections.

Empty shops and the redevelopment of the High Street, green spaces and public transport, congestion in and out of the city, the lack of a completed ring road and with the ‘village in the city’ being right on the door step of the ever-expanding University of Worcester, the rise in student accommodation and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) all remain major issues.

Joe Amos (Conservative)

“Joe has lived in St. John’s all his life having been born here, and went to Pitmaston Primary School and Christopher Whitehead. He was in the army for six years and another five years in the reserve army, serving in the Corps of Royal Engineers, and served the country for a number of years on active duty in Northern Ireland.

“Now, as a college lecturer, Joe has a particular interest in the education of and job opportunities for young adults. He regularly walks his dog in Pitmaston Park so appreciates the value of preserving green open space, and will continue to fight to protect it against overdevelopment. The city’s infrastructure cannot cope with any more excess development. He strongly opposes any more HMOs which cause endless nuisance to neighbours and devalue their properties. With his local knowledge and youthful energy Joe will be a tremendous champion for the people of St. John’s.”

Steve Mather (Liberal Democrat)

“Steve moved to Worcester, settling in St Johns, and works on the railways. He is an experienced activist who wishes to lend his compassion, vision and voice to the city. A proud campaigner, passionate about our relationship with Europe and the rights and wellbeing of those who face hardships through no fault of their own. He understands that all residents must be represented on the council, not just the many or the few, and he wants a greater say for its people to forge a better future for us all.

“His priorities are to listen to all residents, meeting them face to face when safe to do so, consulting residents about improving our local democracy and giving them a greater say, working to find ways to help us reduce our carbon footprint, promoting regeneration of unused commercial property with new, creative uses and protecting our green spaces from overdevelopment, and threats to biodiversity.”

Robyn Norfolk (Labour)

“I have lived and worked in Worcester for 20 years. Our green spaces are valuable, I will work to preserve our existing spaces and enhance them. The volume of traffic is concerning, pollution damages the environment and our health; the city needs a plan which prioritises both public transport, active travel and also meets residents’ needs.

“I will fight for sufficient quality and affordable housing along with the necessary amenities to meet need. I will work with residents’ organisations to ensure they are able to influence local plans before planners make up their minds. Local businesses are important, I will work to support this vital aspect to life in St. John’s, and also to attract jobs into the area. The ‘village in the city’ is known for its community spirit and that sense of community needs nurturing; I will work to ensure that our community centres and libraries are adequately funded.”

Alaric Stephen (Green)

“I have lived in Worcester most of my life and attended local schools. I teach A-level maths at a school in Worcester.

“I am keen to see Worcester become a more attractive place to live in and to visit. If elected I will promote and support the arts and entertainment. Both residents and tourists need to be able to move around the city easily. I would focus on improving facilities for walking and cycling and improving public transport.

“Local government can be difficult to understand and seem remote from everyday life.

“The Green Party wants power to be devolved to local level and more resources placed under the control of local government, thus giving people more say in the issues that matter. People should be seen as citizens, not consumers.

“The Green Party is committed to openness and freedom of information in all aspects of government.”