Local elections

By Ian Dipple 27/04 Updated: 27/04 09:32

REDDITCH goes to the polls next Thursday (May 3) to vote in what could be one of the tightest elections in the town’s history.

Labour will be hoping to regain control of the council they lost in 2008 while the Conservatives aim to fend them off despite the coalition’s unpopularity nationally.

The Liberal Democrats face being wiped out if their one remaining councillor Malcolm Hall loses his seat in Winyates while the Greens and the independents will be looking to cash in on disaffection with the mainstream parties.

Here the Standard takes a brief look at the key pledges of the main parties and a round-up of what the independents have to offer.

CONSERVATIVES -

DELIVERING on their promises is the message from the Conservatives.

Since taking control of the council in 2008 they have delivered the new £6.5million Abbey Stadium, established an Adult Learning Unit at Greenlands along with NEW College to support people to gain work and skills and have re-established the Business Support Unit, abolished by Labour, to help businesses to expand and create jobs.

They have also invested in new dial-a-ride buses and are piloting the Redditch Hopper Community Transport Scheme in Webheath as well as paying for a direct bus link from the town centre to the Abbey Stadium.

If they retain control of the council they plan to build council houses in Redditch for the first time in almost 20 years and have started the redevelopment of Church Hill Centre, insulation work on homes in Winyates, plan further improvements to Church Green and more car parking spaces in neighbourhoods. It has also saved more than £1million through shared services.

LABOUR -

JOB CREATION is at the heart of Labour’s manifesto.

If elected the party want to insist developers create at least one apprentice position for a young person in Redditch in all new major developments as well as increase the number of apprentices employed by the borough council.

It would also work to bring high tech, green industries to the borough to deliver well paid jobs.

Other pledges include the introduction of free swimming for the under-16s and over-60s as well as reinstating pre-9.30am concessionary bus travel for the elderly and disabled

It would also scrap parking charges on council owned car parks which would save about £2,000 of taxpayers money.

The party would work to deliver high quality affordable housing through Redditch Co-operative Homes, set-up by a Labour council, and campaign to protect the Alexandra Hospital from the worst of public sector cuts and deliver an improvement plan to make it a first class hospital.

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS -

A FRESH start for Redditch is the title of the Liberal Democrats manifesto.

Key pledges include using all legal means possible to ensure no housing is left unoccupied and future development is concentrated on brownfield sites first not green belt land.

They would also call on providers of further education and training to increase employability levels among school-leavers and help small businesses and third sector organisations obtain borough council contracts where appropriate.

Other pledges include installing an electric car charging point in every residential street where on-street parking is the norm and helping people get allotments to grow their own food.

All council owned property would be equipped with high levels of insulation and at least one source of renewable energy within the next 10 years.

Money saved would be reinvested into the housing stock.

They would also demand essential services are maintained and improved at the Alexandra Hospital.

GREEN PARTY -

THE GREEN Party has drawn up an eight point plan focusing on job creation by insulating homes across the town and fitting them with solar panels and repairing/renovating old furniture and other items in a unit on Crossgate Road and selling them.

Shop rents and business rates would be reduced for small independent shops and they would save Redditch Youth House and provide more free/cheap youth facilities across the town.

They also oppose the sale of pockets of green space across the town and would insist new homes were built on brownfield sites first and be affordable/starter homes.

They would also stop the development of more factories/warehouses in Redditch as there are empty units across the town which should be filled first.

They would also look to improve public transport and introduce 20mph zones outside schools and in residential roads to encourage cycling/bus usage.

INDEPENDENTS -

PAUL SWANSBOROUGH is campaigning to win the seat in Winyates under a ‘let’s get things done’ banner. Key pledges include campaigning to restore late night buses on the 57/58 route, extend surgery opening hours at Winyates Health Centre, new equipment and a redesign for the Rocket Park and working with the county council to tackle pot holes.

If elected he would also encourage businesses to invest in apprenticeships, campaign to restore nursery nurses at the Alexandra Hospital and fairer funding for Worcestershire Schools.

AGNES WIECEK wants to be the one voice representing residents in Church Hill. Having lived in Redditch since 2007 and in the process of becoming a British citizen, her pledges include providing safe areas for children to play, supporting and encouraging businesses to open up in the district and protecting the environment. She also believes young people are neglected and wants to do more to provide more opportunities for them including tackling youth unemployment.

Another key pledge is to increase Redditch’s appeal as a tourist destination by promoting assets such as Arrow Valley Country Park and Forge Mill.

HUSBAND and wife Orion and Pam Moon are both standing separately for election in Lodge Park but believe making promises which cannot be kept is bad for politics so they make only one pledge to residents - to listen to what they have to say and stand up for their demands.

RICHARD and Isabel Armstrong are also husband and wife and are standing separately in Church Hill where two seats are available. Having lived in the town for almost 40 years and having educated their three children in Redditch they are promising to do politics differently by offering an independent voice to serve residents and not ‘serve you up’ as they claim other councillors have.

The list of candidates standing in this year’s Redditch Borough Council election on Thursday, May 3. Polling stations open from 7am until 10pm. Visit www.redditchbc.gov.uk and click on the council and democracy and electoral services links to find out where to vote.

Batchley and Brockhill

Tom Baker-Price Conservative

Loretta Hope Griffin Green Party

Pattie Hill Labour

Peter Paul George Merricks Liberal Democrat

Central

Greg Chance Labour

Mohammed Salim Khan Green Party

David James Smith Conservative

Diane Elizabeth Thomas Liberal Democrat

Church Hill (two seats available)

Isabel Margaret Armstrong Independent

Richard Kevin Armstrong Independent

Kath Banks Conservative

Lee John Bradley Green Party

David Howard Gee Liberal Democrat

Bill Hartnett Labour

Kathy Haslam Conservative

Rosemary Kerry Green Party

Daniel Thomas Taylor Liberal Democrat

Agnes Wiecek Independent

Pat Witherspoon Labour Party

Greenlands

Joe Baker Labour Party

William Guy Darrell Norton Conservative

Anthony Pitt Liberal Democrat

Rylma Elaine White Green Party

Headless Cross & Oakenshaw

Roger Michael Bennett Conservative

Yassar Mahmood Labour Party

John Gordon Stanley Liberal Democrat

Alistair Derek Waugh Green Party

Lodge Park

Orion Moon Independent

Pam Moon Independent

Mark Henry Shurmer Labour Party

Jean Elizabeth Smith Conservative

Ian David Webster Liberal Democrat

Kevin White Green Party

Matchborough

Emma Louise Bradley Green Party

Anita Janet Clayton Conservative

John Gary Fisher Labour Party

Simon Brookes Oliver Liberal Democrat

West

Michael John Braley Conservative

Louise Mary Deveney Green Party

Rita Margaret Hindle Liberal Democrat

John Witherspoon Labour Party

Winyates

Malcolm William Hall Liberal Democrat

Bev Minto Green Party

Michael John Slevin Conservative

Yvonne Smith Labour Party

Paul James Swansborough Independent

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