Preston will go to the polls next week for the final set of Preston City Council elections before a major shake-up.
A total of 20 seats are up for grabs in the council chamber across 19 wards.
And a new cohort of fresh faces is guaranteed with 11 current elected members opting not to stand for re-election, including leader Coun Peter Rankin and former first citizens John Collins, Christine Abram, Margaret McManus and Bobby Cartwright.
Both Labour and the Conservatives have a candidate in contention for each seat with the Liberal Democrats fighting for 12.
The UK Independence Party (Ukip) is fielding candidates in five wards with the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition party standing in one.
Two seats are available in Greyfriars ward because of Conservative Damien Moore’s decision to step down from his council role having been elected as Southport MP last year.
No elections will take place in Deepdale, Ashton and Preston Rural East wards this year.
Labour currently holds control of the city council and appears to be in a favourable position to maintain its grip.
At the start of the night, taking out the 20 seats up for election, Labour holds 22 places in the chamber, the Conservatives 12 and the Lib Dems three. Parties need to reach the 29 mark to secure a majority.
The Conservatives would therefore need to capture 17 seats to reach that figure.
Boundary changes will come into effect in 2019, reducing the number of chamber seats from 57 to 48.
This means all council seats will be contested in next year’s election, as the city is split into 16 three seat wards for the first time.
The standing councillors who have opted not to stand for re-election and will therefore be leaving the chamber are Couns Stephen Mullen (Lib Dem), Bobby Cartwright (Con), Zafar Coupland (Lab), Charlotte Leach (Con), David Hammond (Con), Damien Moore (Con), Christine Abram (Con), John Collins (Lab), Margaret McManus (Con), Roy Leeming (Lab) and Peter Rankin (Lab).
Here we have asked each party to outline their campaign pledges:
We are proud of our City and want to see it, and all its residents, prosper. Underpinning our approach is driving forward the revitalisation of our city centre.
This is vital to Preston’s prosperity and attracting investment. We want to ensure that Preston is an attractive place to visit, to shop, to relax and to live in.
We would build on the current city initiatives- especially the Harris Museum- and drive forward as a priority refurbishment/redevelopment of empty or underused land and buildings in the vicinity.
The council’s officers are doing an excellent job; we would ensure they are adequately resourced.
There are essential and desirable things- most with cross party agreement- the city council does and would like to do; taking good care of our finances is key to our ability to do this but we can’t spend money we haven’t got.
We would look at what we do, why we do it, and ask if we need to do it and if there is a better way of doing it.
We don’t have any issue with outsourcing or externalising council activities where it works.
Several other councils, for example, out-source printing to us.
We would engage actively with neighbouring authorities to further develop partnership and joint service arrangements and build on current relationships/partnerships in the private, public and charitable sectors.
We would challenge current ways of working with a pragmatic rather than ideological approach.
We would also explore innovative ways of boosting income by ensuring an ‘in depth’ analysis of all our assets.
We are about to embark on a review of our Local Plan, we would engage fully with residents and councillors from the outset and throughout the process particularly in the outlying areas where the impact is the biggest.
We are more concerned with what works rather than ideology.
Labour has been in control since 2011 and has achieved a lot with diminishing resources. However, we plan to do much more. We intend to put the people of Preston and their economic and social needs at the heart of everything we do.
Borrowing heavily from the recent national recognition of “The Preston Model” which has received support from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, shadow chancellor John McDonnell and former leader Ed Miliband, Labour’s manifesto will make Preston a fairer, more equal and cohesive place to live and work.
Acting group leader, Coun Robert Boswell said: “Our manifesto places a big dividing line between ourselves and other parties as we acknowledge we need to transform rather than manage our local economy; to ensure we create richer, more democratic and healthier communities. Labour will promote a powerful, integrated and coherent programme aiming to promote equality and community cohesion.”
Ideas ranging from a new Lancashire Community Bank, tackling holiday hunger and expanding free school breakfasts for children, bringing empty homes into use, expanding the real living wage of £8.75 an hour, further increasing the amount spent by the public sector with Preston based firms and building a tolerant community all feature in the manifesto.
Cabinet member for social justice, inclusion and policy, Coun Matthew Brown added: “When put together the ideas in our manifesto will accelerate many of the big achievements we have already such as the extra £75m we have redirected into the Preston economy by working across the local public sector or that out of 14 local authority areas in Lancashire, Preston had the highest number of affordable housing completions last year.”
Further commitments include: regenerating the city centre with a £30m cinema and restaurant development, the creation of new worker owned businesses, ensuring new developments lead to job opportunities for local residents, an increased investment of £225,000pa in The Harris Museum.
It’s been a good year for the Liberal Democrats and we are hoping to continue that form into these local elections. Since May 2017 the Lib Dems have been the most successful of all the parties in by-elections across the country with a net gain of more than 20 seats.
Those successes are because of our clear stance on national issues such as Brexit but also we put people ahead of party politics in our local areas.
We have always been the party of good old-fashioned community politics and our candidates and councillors take a lot of pride in being champions for local causes. Whether that is like our councillors in Ingol ward fighting against the decision to build houses all over Ingol Golf Course or our stance against the unfair parish tax that has meant some areas like Lea and Cottam have had to raise their parish precepts by 98 per cent.
If you are wanting a local hardworking councillor, then vote Lib Dem on May 3.
Trade Union and Socialist Coalition
TUSC will oppose all cuts to council jobs, services, pay and conditions. Reject increases in council tax, rent and service charges to compensate for government cuts. Vote against the privatisation of council jobs and services.
Ukip councillors believe in putting the residents first. We believe in local referenda and the ability of local people to put their communities first. Ukip’s No Whip policy ensures that Ukip councillors represent the community needs.
Labour have increased the EU’s brown bin tax by 20 per cent and council tax bills by six per cent. Money is tight, yet £200,000 has been wasted cracking down on open-air vaping! Instead, UKIP put the interests of ordinary people above hare-brained schemes. For example, car park charges should be used to give one hour’s free parking to help keep local shops busy.
Polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm on Thursday, May 3. The count will take place overnight with full results expected by 3am on Friday. Twenty seats are up for grabs across 19 wards. To find your nearest polling station enter your postcode at the following website: wheredoivote.co.uk
List of candidates
John Browne (Labour)
Derek Killeen (Ukip)
Bowen Perryman (Conservative)
Claire Craven (Lib Dem)
Mehfuz Dasu Patel (Conservative)
Joshua Mascord (Labour)
Freddie Bailey (Labour)
Paul Balshaw (Conservative)
Michael Turner (Lib Dem)
Luke Bosman (Lib Dem)
Thomas Costello (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition)
Munira Dasu Patel (Conservative)
Whitney Hawkins (Labour)
Anna Hindle (Labour)
Hans Voges (Lib Dem)
Paul Whalley (Conservative)
Greyfriars (two available seats)
Ian Donnell (Conservative)
Iain Hams (Labour)
Robert Jolliffe (Conservative)
Margaret Lodge (Lib Dem)
Deborah Shannon (Lib Dem)
Alan Woods (Labour)
Christopher Berry (Labour)
Tim Cox (Conservative)
Neil Darby (Lib Dem)
Samuel Furr (Ukip)
Beth Balshaw (Conservative)
Ed Craven (Lib Dem)
Phil Crowe (Labour)
Mark Kingsley (Ukip)
Alan Dent (Labour)
Mark Jewell (Lib Dem)
Martin McKeever (Conservative)
Simon Crowe (Conservative)
Nweeda Khan (Labour)
Preston Rural North
Fiona Duke (Lib Dem)
Gillian Mascord (Labour)
Sue Whittam (Conservative)
Anthony Helps (Ukip)
Rob Jones (Conservative)
Jonathan Saksena (Labour)
Peter Kelly (Labour)
Connor Rumble (Conservative)
Simon Fullalove (Labour)
Rebecca Potter (Lib Dem)
Keith Sedgewick (Conservative)
James Hull (Labour)
Danielle Mayor (Conservative)
Mike Balshaw (Conservative)
Jono Grisdale (Labour)
Salim Desai (Labour)
Yusuf Mitha (Conservative)
Jonty Campbell (Conservative)
Carol Henshaw (Labour)
Simon Platt (Ukip)
Michael Yates (Lib Dem)
Carl Crompton (Labour)
Luke Walmsley (Conservative)