Norwich City Council elections: Focus on Bowthorpe, Catton Grove and Crome
- Credit: PA
Voters will go to the polls on Thursday to choose who should represent them at Norwich City Council. DAN GRIMMER looks at the fight in the wards of Bowthorpe, Catton Grove and Crome.
It could be a tough night for Labour next Thursday, if the national polls predictions are to believed.
The pundits are predicting big losses for the Jeremy Corbyn-led party in local elections.
But, here in Norwich, the party is aiming to keep control of City Hall and potentially strengthen its grip on power.
So the party will be keen to keep hold of its city council seats in Bowthorpe, Catton Grove and Crome wards.
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In recent years, Labour successfully turned Bowthorpe and Catton Grove red again, after spells when the Conservatives, who currently have no councillors at City Hall at all, held those divisions.
Sally Button, whose 2012 triumph in Bowthorpe, contributed to the Tory wipe-out, will be looking to hold onto the ward, as her colleague Mike Sands comfortably did last year.
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The Conservatives were in second spot to Labour last time around with Daniel Elmer trailing Mr Sands by 868 votes.
They have named UEA student James Burgess as their candidate this time.
The UK Independence Party, which for the first time has candidates in all 13 wards, were in third place last May with just over 15pc of the vote in Bowthorpe.
With Three Score set for hundreds of new homes, their candidate, Michelle Newton, will be hoping her concern over the development of the area strikes a chord with voters.
The Greens will hope Helen Carter can bring an improvement on the group's fourth place finish last year, while the Liberal Democrats, who garnered just 395 votes last time out, have another UEA student – Yan Malinowski – as their candidate.
The Conservatives were fewer than 300 votes behind Labour in Catton Grove last year, when the city council elections coincided with the general election.
The Tory candidate in Catton Grove this time is the aforementioned Daniel Elmer, who has made the switch from Bowthorpe.
The deputy chairman of Norwich Conservatives will look to unseat Labour's Gail Harris, the council's deputy leader and cabinet member for housing and wellbeing.
Last year, Labour's Paul Kendrick held on to his seat, with 1,702 votes compared to the 1,411 the Conservative candidate Will Holmes received.
UKIP's Michelle Ho, the Green Party's Tony Park and the Liberal Democrat's Leigh Tooke, all stood for the ward this time last year, coming third, fourth and fifth, respectively. The trio are all on the ballot sheet once again.
Labour's long-serving David Bradford is a veteran of election nights and will be determined to hold on to Crome ward.
The Conservatives finished second there in last year's elections, through David Mackie. He got 1,132 votes compared with the 1,821 who voted for Labour's Alan Waters – the current leader of Norwich City Council.
This time around, the Conservative candidate is Stephen Barber, who runs city security company NSS Ltd.
Crome was one of a number of divisions where UKIP posted third place finishes last May.
Their candidate Ann Williams
got 793 votes that time and will be keen to benefit from the publicity around the Brexit campaign on this occasion.
UEA lecturer Judith Ford, who got just over 8pc of the vote share last time returns for the Greens.
And the Liberal Democrats. who picked up just 175 on a tough night for them last May, are putting forward Sam Neal as their candidate.
Norwich City Council is currently controlled by Labour. Labour has 22 seats, the Greens have 14 and the Liberal Democrats have three.
Seven of the seats up for election are held by Labour, five by the Greens and one by the Liberal Democrats.
Norwich City Council is responsible for services such as housing, planning, collecting rubbish, leisure and tourism.
The polls will be open from 7am until 10pm on Thursday.
The count will take place at St Andrew's Hall that night, with the results due in the early hours.
Tomorrow: Focus on Eaton, Lakenham, Mancroft and Mile Cross.
Do you have a story about a local council? Call Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Who is standing in Bowthorpe?
James Burgess (Conservative)
'As a resident of Norwich for 19 years, I have a firm grasp of the local issues affecting residents in this area. I am passionate about public service and chose to run as a district councillor in last year's election. I am currently studying at the UEA, and have a keen interest in politics. As a frequent cyclist, and driver through Bowthorpe, I am concerned by the issue of pot-holes and congestion in the area. If elected I have pledged to review both issues amongst others including council tax, to best serve the people of Bowthorpe.'
Sally Button (Labour)
'I have lived in Bowthorpe and Costessey most of my life, joining the Labour Party at a young age to help people and work alongside community groups. The improvements Labour has made in Bowthorpe are considerable. Despite the cuts in funding from the current government, putting great pressure on our services, the Labour council has continued to deliver new housing and the Bowthorpe Care Village. I have a special interest in housing and community safety, and would like to continue the good work Labour has achieved, delivering more new homes and improvements to our local housing stock.'
Helen Carter (Green Party)
Helen works at a school in the Larkman area of Norwich. She helped to set up and run Oxfam Norwich, and also has experience as a campaigner and fund-raiser for other charities including NEAD and the RSPCA. She is an active member of Climate Hope Action in Norfolk (CHAIN).
She said: 'Through my work, I have become aware of problematic social and environmental issues, including problems affecting deprived communities in Norwich. As a councillor I would be able to get even more involved with my community and encourage positive change.'
Yan Malinowski (Liberal Democrat)
Yan is a student at the University of East Anglia and having studied European Politics, says he is campaigning tirelessly for the UK to remain in the European Union. He says he knows that local people deserve more information on this issue before they vote in the upcoming referendum. He says his drive and enthusiasm up at the university helped to secure student support at a time when the press said Liberal Democrats would struggle to do so. But graduating this year, he now wants to get involved in local politics, turning his attention to public transport issues and rising food poverty in Bowthorpe; he believes residents deserve better representation and a louder voice in City Hall.
Michelle Newton (UKIP)
'My main concerns with Bowthorpe are its potential over-development. Large impersonal estates are clearly adding to the lack of community spirit and I would like to see our green spaces kept for our future generations, instead of concreting them over just to fulfil an ever expanding out-of-control population explosion.
'Developers and councils are cashing in at the general public's expense.'
Who is standing in Catton Grove?
Daniel Elmer (Conservative)
Daniel is a business analyst working in Norwich North. He first came to Norwich as a student, where, after graduating with a degree in economics, he says he fell in love with the city and chose to make his home here.
After working alongside Norwich North MP Chloe Smith in the 2015 election, Daniel took up the role of deputy chairman of Norwich Conservatives.
He says he has spent the last year talking to residents of Catton Grove and campaigning on the issues that matter most to them, he hopes that, if elected, he can bring his business knowledge to help secure proper value for Catton Grove taxpayers.
Gail Harris (Labour)
'I believe in decent housing and a safe community that people can afford to live in. These are the things I have fought for – and these are the things people talk to me about. Retired from work, and with my family grown up I can commit myself fully to campaigning and representation.
'As a councillor I have experience and knowledge of how things work.
'I consider it an honour to have served Catton Grove since 2012. The work of a councillor begins and ends not at City Hall but on the streets and in the communities we represent.'
Michelle Ho (UKIP)
'I would like to see more dedicated parking around schools with organised drop off points that work for the parents as well as the residents and traffic safety.
'I would like to see the street scene improved, regarding the maintenance of the verges and footpaths and stop unauthorised parking on them.
'An improved bus service and eliminate dog fouling are also on my list.'
Tony Park (Green Party)
Tony has lived in Norwich since 2009 and was previously a Green Party councillor in Dereham. He runs an organic box scheme and works to support local businesses and shops to help
make the local community more vibrant.
He said: 'I got involved with the Green Party in Norwich because I'm impressed by its caring and responsive approach to residents and local issues.
'I believe that the old saying 'think global, act local' is still absolutely relevant today.'
Leigh Tooke (Liberal Democrat)
No information provided.
Who is standing in Crome?
Stephen Barber (Conservative)
'I was born in 1963 in Norwich, and I'm the second child to Kelvern and Carol Barber. After living in the city with my parents and two sisters for the first nine years of my life, my family moved to Upton near Acle in 1971, where my parents still live.
'I started working at the age of 16, my first role was with British rail as a signal and telecom engineer. In 1984 I was made redundant, but soon found employment within Autoglass, I eventually left in 2006 to start my own business, NSS LTD, which I still run today.'
David Bradford (Labour)
'I am proud to have served Crome Ward for almost 40 years as a Labour city councillor. During this time I have helped thousands of local people across the communities of Heartsease, Pilling Park and the Borrowdale area.
'I am standing again because I want to keep helping our community through these tough times.
'Key local services, which are valued by our community, are being cut and threatened by this Tory government. Being a strong, experienced voice to champion Crome and continue to fight for positive improvements is more crucial now than ever before.'
Judith Ford (Green Party)
Judith is Norfolk born and bred and was educated in Norwich. She trained as a doctor and worked in radiation oncology and palliative care in New Zealand, Cambridge and Los Angeles before deciding to return to her Norfolk roots in 2006.
She currently teaches in the School of Health Sciences at UEA focusing on palliative care and mathematics.
She said: 'The Green Party, more than any other, cares about people, the environment and the world we will leave to future generations. I believe it is vital that our local government's planning and policy decisions improve the city we live in now and for the future.'
Sam Neal (Liberal Democrats)
Sam has lived and worked in Norwich for more than eight years, and says he is proud to call this fine city home. He moved here following a Masters degree in wildlife conservation from University College London. Since then he has worked to protect Norwich and Norfolk's special wildlife and environment by his work for Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service.
He is a very keen cyclist, and has real concerns about the way the Pedalways project was implemented and the lack of overall transport vision from the Labour administration.
He said 'If elected, I will make sure that Crome residents are represented properly at the city council and the real issues tackled without hesitation.'
Ann Williams (UKIP)
'I have spoken to many families who feel aggrieved that social housing is unfairly distributed. Prioritising immigrants over British citizens when it comes to housing is a big problem with local residents especially when their children grow up but can't stay within their own area because of this policy. I would like to see a fairer housing policy where local people get priority in their own area over all others.'