By Steve Hayes 18/04 Updated: 20/04 13:16
THE BATTLE lines have been drawn for district council elections on May 3 after the three major parties launched their manifestos.
This year's Stratford District Council elections will see a candidate from Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties stand in all but two of the 19 seats being contested.
The Labour Party has fielded a record 18 candidates across the district, one more than the Liberal Democrats and only one less than the Conservatives.
They will look to take advantage of criticism levelled at the Liberal/Conservative coalition Government at national level and break onto the council, which currently has no Labour members.
Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats will look to improve on their share of the seats - which they currently hold 16 of, compared to the Conservatives' 34. And the ruling Conservatives will look to strengthen their position.
Seats up for contest include the Aston Cantlow seat held by council chairman, Sir William Lawrence, and others with long-serving councillors - like George Atkinson's Tanworth seat and deputy leader, Stephen Thirlwell's Henley seat.
Main pledges contained in the Conservatives' manifesto include 'maintaining local character' in planning and protecting the district's Green Belt. Elsewhere they have pledged to support the local economy - promoting services for rural businesses and to build a more effective transport system for those without cars.
There is also a pledge to look at plans to reduce the number of councillors in a bid to save cash.
The Liberal Democrats continue their commitment to cutting costs through sharing services with other councils in their manifesto - something the Conservatives also say they will consider.
And they also pledge to bring more jobs to the area - particularly for young people. They also insist they would ensure the council's long-term development plan would be put in place as soon as possible if they were to take overall control of the council.
While main elements of Labour's manifesto include an opposition to the ruling council's policy of dispersing housing across the district.
On top of this the party pledges to make road safety a priority and look to reinstate evening bus services in the district.
They also say they would lobby to get frontline policing back in the town and proposing to halve the number of councillors to save cash.
Visit www.stratford.gov.uk/council/elections.cfm for more information or follow the council's elections Twitter page - @SDCelects for updates.
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