JUST 26 votes stood between Podsmead councillor Jennie Dallimore and the prospect of losing to Labour back in 2010.
In one of the most hotly contested seats, Mrs Dallimore is going head-to-head with friend Garry Mills, who is representing Labour.
Labour are hoping that the close race four years ago will bring them victory this time around.
But Mrs Dallimore, who is also deputy leader of the city council and works for city MP Richard Graham, will point to her track record in office. She said: “I want to build on the improvements to Podsmead made during my first term as councillor. My priorities include improved access to healthcare, continued regeneration of important community assets including the The Ramblers and ensuring new developments at the former Jet and Whittle and Three Factories sites benefit the community.
“I will be pushing for regeneration of the social housing in the ward, the development of a multi sports hub at Blackbridge with a new multi-purpose club house and working with the Big Local Project to maximise the benefit to the community from the £1million investment over the next 10 years.”
Challenging her, Mr Mills, who is a debt advice specialist, said: “Podsmead has very few shops and no amenities such as a doctor’s surgery, public house or church and so people often feel isolated.
“The cost of living is rocketing upwards and most rents have increased by over five per cent. Everyday items that we once took for granted and put in our shopping trollies such as fresh meat, fish and poultry are now, to many in Podsmead, luxury items.
“If elected, I will fight for my values of fairness and equality and for the rights of the individual. I will continue to represent the low paid, under privileged, the unemployed, the elderly and disabled in an effort to make Podsmead a brighter, safer, more secure place.”
Vicki Field, for the Liberal Democrats, said: “Podsmead has a great community spirit, but it also faces challenges. I am pleased that the government are investing in Podsmead and combating the problems of deprivation and poor health in the ward. My priorities will be fighting for more investment, sorting out the potholes on Tuffley Avenue and Podsmead Road, and pushing for more facilities for young people. Fly-tipping in areas like Tuffley Crescent will also be targeted.”
Mike Smith, for UKIP, said: “I am not standing in my home ward as we already have an excellent candidate here. However, I believe everyone has the right to vote for real change in the council elections. I know that Podsmead is in great need of a medical centre. Although this is not the responsibility of the city council, if I am elected I will use my influence to facilitate its provision.”
VIDEO: MEET THE CANDIDATES
- There is only one councillor for the ward and the last election was in 2010 when Jennie Dallimore, for the Conservatives, won by just 26 votes.
- Labour were a close rival to the Conservatives, while the Lib Dems were a distant third, followed by UKIP and the Green Party.
MEET THE CANDIDATES
JENNIE DALLIMORE, CONSERVATIVES
I have been City Councillor for Podsmead since 2010 and I am hoping to continue serving the community. I am 32, married to Frank and live in Poplar Close with our four children aged 14,13,7 & 5. I am passionate about the area where I live. I work as a caseworker for Richard Graham MP, helping many city residents to resolve problems. I am Governor at Linden Primary School, Chair of Podsmead Community Association, Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator for Oaklands Park and Vice Chair of the Podsmead Big Local. I am the Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods.
VICKI FIELD, LIBERAL DEMOCRATS
Vicki Barnes-Moffatt (standing under her married name of Field) is well-known locally as a singer and singing teacher. Originally from Cheltenham, she has lived in Gloucester for nearly 25 years. She is active as a soprano, both as a soloist and in groups. She teaches singing at Ribston Hall and Stroud High schools, and runs the Ecclesiastical Insurance staff choir in Gloucester. She has two daughters, and is proud that her eldest daughter Kira is also standing for the Lib Dems. Vicki’s husband is also a Liberal Democrat city councillor. Vicki would be a strong voice for Podsmead in the council chamber.
GARRY MILLS, LABOUR
I have worked in Podsmead for over 10 years (from 2003 a Co-ordinator then Vice Chair of Three Bridges then in 2006 Debt Caseworker Podsmead Neighbourhood Project). I believe in "Service Not Self!” I work closely with statutory and voluntary organisations throughout the city such as Local Authorities, The Law Centre, CAB and Gloucester Food Bank. I refer to and receive referrals from these and many other groups, societies, churches and charitable bodies.
MIKE SMITH, UKIP
Apart from a few years working abroad, Mike has lived in Gloucester all his life. He was a City Councillor for 13 years and represented UKIP in the 2010 General election. Whilst on the Council he was well known for putting the interests of his constituents before the party that he then represented. He founded the Gloucestershire Branch of the Royal Society of St George back in 1976 and it is still going strong. Now retired, Mike will have time to ensure the residents of Podsmead are well represented.