THERE will be 31 seats across 30 wards up for grabs across Bromsgrove District when people head to the polls on Thursday, May 2.
Currently the council is made up of 17 Conservatives, seven Labour, three Wythall Residents Association councillors and four independents.
In total 17 of the councillors who have held seats in their wards since at least 2015 are standing again, some councillors are contesting different wards and other line-ups are completely new where councillors have opted not to stand again.
Conservative leader Geoff Denaro will again contest Wythall West while Labour leader Dr Michael Thompson has moved from Rock Hill to stand in Charford which would be considered a ‘safer’ seat having had a larger majority last time around.
Sean Shannon who has held Charford will have a tough test in Tardebigge against Conservative Peter Whittaker.
Deputy Conservative Leader Karen May moves to contest Belbroughton and Romsley which had a larger Tory majority in 2015.
Margaret Sherrey is the other candidate in the council’s only two-seat contest.
Former chairman Helen Jones moves from Catshill North to Marlbrook as Brian Cooper who held the seat there for the Conservatives is not standing.
Former councillor, Conservative Del Booth will try to take Rock Hill from Labour and Hollywood and Catshill North both have new candidates trying to get elected to those seats.
Peter and Christine McDonald will be vying to hold onto Rubery North and South respectively while independents Kate Van Der Plank, Rachel Jenkins and Steve Colella will all fight the seats they have held since at least the last election.
Long-standing councillor June Griffiths is not standing in Alvechurch South – new candidate Trevor Bland is tasked with holding onto that for the Conservatives.
Likewise Chris Bloore is not standing, preferring to focus on his Worcestershire County Council role, meaning Sue Douglas will be hoping to hold onto that Sidemoor seat for Labour.
Other councillors opting not to stand this time include Conservative Mike Webb, Labour’s Margaret Buxton and Wythall Residents Association’s Les Turner.
There has been a new process introduced by the Bromsgrove Conservative Association whereby sitting councillors can stay and contest their seats while those wanting to move could bid to go to another seat.
New candidates, after being assessed on their suitability to stand, were also invited to bid to contest the seats.
The views of the parties ahead of the vote
THE LEADER of the Conservative Group said he had seen a lot of apathy on the doorstep towards politics because of Brexit which could impact on Thursday’s election turnout and results.
Geoff Denaro said: “We have been given the impression people are very disillusioned with politics at the moment because of what is happening nationally and you can’t blame them.”
He added he hoped people would still turn out in good numbers and vote on local issues, saying if that happened he was confident of increasing the number of the party’s seats at the polls.
He said the council had worked hard to improve the authority’s finances and had plans to build more houses and more affordable homes for local people.
“The multiplier for homes in Bromsgrove is 10.8 times the average salary which is ridiculous – that has to change.
“We strive to make life better for the people of Bromsgrove and we hope residents will recognise that when they go to vote.”
He said the party had specific seats it was targeting but added he was remaining tight-lipped on what they were.
“There is a list but it’s not for publication.”
He also thanked all those who had been Conservative councillors but were not standing this time for their hard work.
Dr Michael Thompson, leader of the Labour Group, said: “We have tried to put as many people up as we can so people can vote Labour in most of the wards.
“We are hoping to increase the number of councillors we have on the council and are confident we can get into double figures.”
He added among the seats being specifically targeted were the town centre, where he added he believed Labour could do a better job than the Conservatives and in Aston Fields.
“Rory Shannon does a lot for the area and would be a great addition to the council so we are hoping we can take that seat back off the Tories.”
There will be nine Independent candidates standing and three Wythall Residents’ Association will be hoping to hold onto its three seats.
Steve Colella from the Independent Alliance said: “It is important for us to maintain the numbers we have and then hopefully win a few more – if we can do that we will be able to play a significant role in the running of the council.
“The feedback we have received on the doorstep has been really positive – people know how hard we work and hopefully that will be reflected in the results.”
Fellow independent Charles Hotham said: “The focus here at district council level should be on our local community, working on local issues that affect local people.
“With collaboration, constructive debate and with the wide range of skills and experience across our council chamber, we could have achieved so much more.
“These local elections are not a two-horse race between Conservative and Labour.
“It’s much bigger than that. It’s about tearing up an outdated tribal political system which has had its day.
“Our alliance of independents offers a fresh, new approach.
“We have already made great progress in the seven wards where we are currently represented.
“The feedback and support we get from our electorate is heart-warming and we hear time and time again that people want councillors who care about what happens in their own villages – party politics is irrelevant.”
And Liberal Democrat Rob Hunter said: “We have been working hard on the campaign trail.
“We have been getting a very positive response on the doorstep.
“We are fielding many more candidates than we did last time.
“We feel people are ready for change and a party which will work hard to take action on the issues they care about, such as protecting local services and tackling traffic congestion.”
The Bromsgrove District Council wards and candidates
Trevor Bland – CON
Alan Cooper – LAB
Annette English – IND
Dean Petters – LIB DEM
Neil Harris – CON
Louise Humphries – LAB
Kate Van Der Plank – IND
Phil Thomas – CON
Rory Shannon – LAB
Leah-Nani Alconcel – LIB DEM
John Ellis – LAB
Malcolm Glass – CON
BARNT GREEN / HOPWOOD
Charles Hotham – IND
Mary Marsh – CON
BELBROUGHTON AND ROMSLEY
Phil Baker – LAB
Karen May – CON
Margaret Sherrey – CON
Caroline Thompson LAB
Rita Dent – CON
Jane Elledge – LAB
Siobhan Hughes – LIB DEM
Abdul Jilani – LAB
Jo-Ann Till – CON
Julian Gray – GREEN
Sarah Mansell – LIB DEM
Matthew Osborne – LAB
Shirley Webb – CON
Andrew Sherrey – CON
Michael Thompson – LAB
Richard Deeming – CON
Tony Maslen – LAB
Jill Harvey – GREEN
Robin Van Der Plank – IND
Sarah Woodhouse – LIB DEM
Sue Baxter – WRA
Kathryn Powell – CON
Rachel Jenkins – IND
Cameron Uppall – CON
Steve Colella – IND
Kyle Daisley – CON
Luke Mallett – LAB
Suzanne Morgan – CON
Adam Kent – CON
Marian Leydon – LAB
Keith Yates – WRA
Janet King – LIB DEM
Kit Taylor – CON
Brenda Henderson – LAB
Rod Laight – CON
Rebecca Stevens – LIB DEM
Ros Cooke – LAB
Peter Harvey – GREEN
Helen Jones – CON
Jackie Alderson – CON
Rob Hunter – LIB DEM
Drew Beaumont – CON
Amy Thompson-Lancaster – LAB
Mike Mihailovic – LIB DEM
Harrison Rone-Clark – LAB
Dean Smith – IND
Del Booth – CON
Faye Kent – CON
Peter McDonald – LAB
Kevin White – GREEN
Steve Capewell – IND
Christine McDonald – LAB
Adrian Kriss – CON
Maria Middleton – CON
Gemma Weavis-Long – LAB
Sue Douglas – LAB
James Jarvis – CON
Joshua Robinson – LIB DEM
Caroline Spencer – CON
David Skidmore – LAB
Samuel Evans – LIB DEM
Sarah Courbet – IND
Nicholas Hind – LIB DEM
Sean Shannon – LAB
Peter Whittaker – CON
Helen Cleaver – WRA
Sarah Hession – CON
Hazel Jones – LIB DEM
Geoff Denaro – CON
Sandra Docker – LIB DEM
Stephen Peters – WRA
Susanna Wilshaw – LAB