THE battle for control of Worcester City Council has officially kicked off - with 55 candidates vying for political power in May's elections.

After the deadline closed towards the end of last week the list of nominations have now been released ahead of next month's crunch contest.

The controlling Conservative Party, Labour and the Greens have found candidates for all 12 seats up for grabs, while UKIP is contesting 11 of them.

The Lib Dems, which no longer have a single city councillor, are also attempting a comeback by contesting the three wards of Claines, Bedwardine and St John's.

Left wing group Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts (TUSAC) is standing in two wards while at the other end of the political spectrum, the far right 'British Resistance', which has links to the BNP, is contesting three.

The elections come just weeks after Councillor Marc Bayliss became Worcester City Council's new leader, with his Tory group holding an overall majority of three seats.

Of the 35 city council seats the Conservatives hold 19, with 15 controlled by Labour and one with the Greens.

On Thursday, May 5 a third of the seats are up for grabs, with 12 wards electing one councillor each.

The Guildhall is guaranteed new faces as Tories Derek Prodger, Mike Whitehouse and Robert Rowden are all standing down, as is Labour politician Richard Boorn.

For several years the control of the authority has been on a knife-edge and this time around is no different, with a swing of just two seats required for power to potentially shift.

In 2013-14 the council came under Labour control for the first time since 2000 during a short-lived pact with former Lib Dem Liz Smith, but for the last two years it has been under Conservative rule and last year the party secured its first overall majority since 2011.

All of the main parties say they will be working away furiously over the next few weeks for votes.

Councillor Bayliss said: "We want to build on our victory in last year’s local elections and have seven pledges we intend to deliver on.

"All the pledges will result in a better quality of life for people and families living in Worcester from boosting activity and sport to promoting tourism and business and helping the environment."

He said another freeze in car park charges, completion of the eight-lane swimming pool at Perdiswell, protecting green spaces, a footbridge on the riverside, delivering value for money, more cash towards heritage and helping Worcester City FC get home were the priorities.

The opposition Labour group has called for voters to help them "make changes the city needs" by ushering it back into power.

Labour branch chairman Chris Winwood, said "We are proud of our fantastic range of candidates at this year's election, with plenty of new faces and more women than ever before.

"We are very excited for the future here in Worcester, and can't wait to have the opportunity to makes the changes the city needs."

Louis Stephen, from Worcester Green Party, said: "We knock on doors all year round and recently we have been picking up even more support.

"Some people have told us they intend to vote for their usual party at the next General Election but due to the current national situation they may well support us in these local elections."

James Goad, from UKIP, said: "We've been doing a lot of canvassing and our support is rock solid - we think we have a very reasonable chance and if we get a seat, we could be a power-broker to get more of our policies in."

Mike Mullins, who chairs Worcester Liberal Democrats, said: "We're a work in progress and we're still rebuilding - but we've got a history on the council, particularly in Claines."

The 12 wards being contested are Arboretum, Battenhall, Bedwardine, Cathedral, Claines, Gorse Hill, Nunnery, Rainbow Hill, St Clement, St John’s, St Stephen and Warndon.


VOTERS across Worcester are being urged to turn out for May's elections - with council organisers saying every single ballot will make a difference.

But it's not only the council which is up for grabs - next month will also see voters elect a new £75,000-a-year Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

Bill Longmore, the current PCC has now stepped down and six candidates have been confirmed to potentially replace him.

It includes Conservative John Campion, Labour's Daniel Walton, Liberal Democrat Margaret Rowley, Green Party hopeful John Raine, UKIP's Peter Jewell and independent Barrie Sheldon.

When people take part in the council vote on May 5 they will also be able to select their preferred PCC candidate.

Di Thomas, electoral registration officer at the council, said: "It’s vital that everyone has registered or they'll lose their vote.

"The rules have changed so people are no longer registered as a household.

"If you’re not already on the register please go to and make sure you have a say on decisions that will affect everyone in Worcester."

The deadline to register to vote is this coming Monday, April 18.

For more details on how to take part including the deadlines for proxy voting, the city council has produced a guide HERE.

The city council election results will be announced at the Guildhall in the early hours of Friday, May 6.

A new PCC for the whole West Mercia region will be announced in Shrewsbury later that day, at around lunchtime.

* This newspaper will be featuring in-depth ward-by-ward election coverage in the run-up to the count, featuring everything you need to know about each part of the city.