Formerly a Tory stronghold, Battenhall has been dominated by the Green Party at recent city council elections.

Louis Stephen, who has just enjoyed 12 months as city mayor, was first elected to the ward in 2016 and most recently defended his seat in 2021, claiming 1,285 votes to Conservative Peter Rodford’s 652.

Tom Piotrowski was elected in 2022 with 1,346 votes, with Mr Rodford again the runner-up on 398. But Mr Piotrowski has since quit the city council, so it will be interesting to see who triumphs with only one serving councillor standing for re-election.

Seven candidates are competing for two seats on Worcester City Council.

Parveen Akhtar - Conservatives

Worcester News: Parveen AkhtarParveen Akhtar (Image: Parveen Akhtar)

Parveen has always been a resident of Worcester and attended Christopher Whitehead School. She now lives here with her husband and children.

Since leaving school Parveen has been a carer. She now enjoys helping wherever she can, particularly being able to assist others with accessing services.

Parveen likes getting out walking and swimming, so keeping fit is also important to her. She would enjoy representing a close community and be able to respond to the problems that people face. Battenhall needs a councillor who is willing to go that further mile to look out for its people.

Parveen understands what issues are important to residents so will respond to them accordingly and make sure that their concerns are raised to the appropriate authority. Parveen will work with residents to try to make their lives better and easier by being available to them.

Ian Benfield - Labour

Worcester News: Ian BenfieldIan Benfield (Image: Ian Benfield)

I spent 40 years working in environmental research and the energy sector, latterly as director of strategic development for an energy regulatory authority. Now I am a carer for my wife and try to support my adopted children and granddaughter.    

Trust in politics is low. To rebuild we must take the right decisions and in the right way, to demonstrate to people, especially younger people, that we care about them, not ourselves. Labour’s support for the pump bike track in Battenhall Park and our broad ranging economic policies both reflect that.

I want to help Worcester grow and diversify, attracting industries such as clean energy and the creative sector, that other parts of Britain already benefit from. This would bring better paid jobs and better opportunities for all and raise our prosperity long term. Only Labour has a credible plan to do this and will bring the change we need.   

Naseeb Hussain - Conservatives

Worcester News: Naseeb HussainNaseeb Hussain (Image: Naseeb Hussain)

Naseeb was born in Worcester, has always lived here and attended Blessed Edward Oldcorne RC College. He now works in offender control and rehabilitation.

Naseeb is determined to see that the city council spends your council tax wisely and makes Worcester a safe, vibrant, and welcoming place for everyone.

This is at the same time as ensuring that our area receives its fair share of public funding to deliver improvements. I also want to see better facilities for young people across our city. We all deserve to live in a pleasant and secure environment so I will work with the police to prevent crime and crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

Paul Sobczyk - Green Party

Worcester News: Paul SobczykPaul Sobczyk (Image: Paul Sobczyk)

I’ve been a Battenhall resident for 20 years and have had a career working on service delivery with local authorities in Worcestershire and beyond. I’m now active in the Worcester community running cycling sessions for young riders and supporting sport. 

We need more social and affordable housing and more homes that are suitable for our ageing population. Well-designed new and retrofitted housing will reduce carbon emissions, bring down energy bills and reduce illnesses caused by living in cold and damp homes.

I support the protection of our public spaces and parks and encourage development for jobs and new homes only on our empty brownfield sites. 

In Worcester, we see homelessness increasing and this must end. Nobody should have to sleep rough, choose between heating and eating, or be stigmatised by poverty, disability, or mental ill health.

Louis Stephen - Green Party

Worcester News: Louis StephenLouis Stephen (Image: Louis Stephen)

My wife and I have lived in Worcester for over 25 years and we have two grown-up children who attended Cherry Orchard Primary, Nunnery Wood High School and Sixth Form College.

My main priorities for the city are to encourage smaller independent businesses over the large corporate chains, to reduce the amount of city centre congestion and to increase the number of affordable homes.

New homes must be found, but we must do this without building on greenfield sites like Middle Battenhall Farm, St Peters and Norton. We should instead be building on brownfield sites and encouraging more flats above our city centre shops.

We can reduce the amount of traffic in Worcester by a combination of common-sense measures:

No to the increased traffic caused by building on the edge of the city.

Yes to encouragement for more walking and cycling and more investment in public transport.

Pyers Symon - Liberal Democrats

Worcester News: Pyers SymonPyers Symon (Image: Pyers Symon)

Pyers, although not a native of Worcester, has lived in the city for nearly 40 years and in Battenhall for the past 30. A biochemistry graduate of Aberystwyth University, Pyers has worked in the IT industry during his career. He is married with three children and two grandchildren.

Pyers joined the Liberal Democrats because of their belief in individual freedom, social justice, and a fair society. They advocate policies such as electoral reform, environmental protection, human rights, and a mixed economy with a strong emphasis on social welfare.

This is essential not just on the national but also at the local level where councillors must be of the community that they serve.  

He would be proud and honoured to serve you as your local representative.

Graham Taylor - Labour

Worcester News: Graham TaylorGraham Taylor (Image: Graham Taylor)

Promoting pump tracks, tackling lack of social housing, getting roads resurfaced, saving trees and campaigning for better public transport - I have worked hard to make local government and the Battenhall community work well.

I believe the council must use its limited but precious resources to help people in Battenhall cope with the cost-of-living crisis. Young children need play areas and safe routes to school.

People need job opportunities, healthy parks, freedom from air pollution and a better deal from water companies who have failed to stop sewage pumping into our rivers and our streets.

The election of all 35 councillors for the first time gives an opportunity to rid us of short-term thinking, horse trading and shaky coalitions. The election gives you the chance to elect a Labour council with four years to carry out well-thought out policies to benefit everyone in Battenhall and Worcester.