ON THURSDAY, May 5 voters will be going to the polls in the local elections for Worcester City Council.

Worcester News' Political Reporter Tom Edwards continues our election coverage with a look at the BATTENHALL ward.

THIS is where Worcester's election battleground really is - with the leafy Battenhall ward a key seat.

This Conservative stronghold is being increasingly seen as a marginal ward due to the Green Party's incessant efforts to slowly chip away at that resolve.

It was two years ago when the voters last went to the polls here, when a Tory versus Green virtual two-horse race ensued.

After Tory David Tibbutt stood down, his replacement Councillor Steve Mackay kept the seat blue but only by 112 votes - something which was unthinkable a few years ago.

The Greens are once again standing its chairman Louis Stephen, who has contested the last two general elections and built up his party's city branch over the years.

In a sign of how important this ward is the Conservatives are not taking any chances, fielding ex-city mayor David Tibbutt, a well-known former councillor and Tory cabinet member in recent years.

Two years ago he decided to retire, but has been tempted into launching a comeback to try and keep the Greens at bay as unlikely outsiders.

The Labour Party and UKIP are also contesting the ward, but all eyes will be on how Battenhall's two main rival parties fare.

If the Tories triumph here, it will be a sure fire sign that the party can expect the 2016 elections to be successful.

In turn, the Green Party will hope the steady improvements here translate to getting over that line.

The line-up of four candidates includes Labour activist Philip Ashwell and UKIP member Jackie Brooks.

If you say just three words to the people around here - Middle Battenhall Farm - every single householder is almost certain to know what you mean.

The ancient fields have been subject to a deeply controversial planning scrap over a bid by Miller Homes to build 200 properties - a battle campaigners have now won after the developer abandoned its appeal.

Traffic congestion is a big topic around here, not least because some of the ward takes in the busy Bath Road.

The impact of the £20 million Waitrose on the roads network, which is under construction nearby up London Road, is a big issue, with many people concerned about it causing further hold-ups.


As a proud Worcester resident living with my family in St Peter's it is disappointing that for too long the Tory council has taken Battenhall for granted.

My career as a senior manager within in the travel industry has given me the experience to deal with some global challenges.

It is therefore frustrating that issues around development, increasing numbers of houses of multiple occupation, and anti-social behaviour have not been dealt with. The parking and traffic issues continue to worsen, especially when Waitrose opens on London Road.

While Middle Battenhall Farm is no longer going ahead, residents are still worried about the other, smaller, developments that continue.

I was shocked by the recent fire that destroyed the playground at Bath Road.


I am proud to live and work in Worcester, with its rich heritage, majestic cathedral, lovely riverside and bustling town centre.

It has a lot to offer its residents. Worcester does not need to be turned into a mini shopping metropolis - especially as the transport system needs improving and affordable parking increased.

People need good local services and an accountable council.

Local people want to know that easing congestion on the roads is a priority, that there are strong flood defences and more community centres needed.

Residents should have more say in protecting our Greenbelt land because once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.

If elected, the residents of Battenhall can be assured I’ll fight for them.


I have lived in Worcester for 19 years and have two grown-up children who attended local schools.

I have two priorities, reducing the amount of traffic and increasing the amount of affordable homes.

New homes must be found, but we must do this without building on greenfield sites. 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 an out of town shopping centre and no to more homes on the edge of the city.

Yes to encouragement for more walking/cycling and yes to more investment in public transport and building more flats above the shops in our city centre.


Battenhall ward is a very diverse and special area where my wife Jane and I have lived for 40 years and of which I am very fond.

If re-elected I will do my best to achieve local aspirations and needs.

I have met most ward residents over the last twelve years and especially during this last year or so.

I believe it is important for local councillors to be visible in their wards and to actively engage with the people they represent.

As the only candidate that lives in Battenhall I feel I am uniquely placed to do this.

If I am elected on May 5th, I shall continue to ensure that local opinions are given significant weight, to do all I can to protect the green environment of our ward, press for health issues to be kept high on the local government agenda and for local government to be kept local.