THREE candidates for the Shipston ward will battle it out today for a seat on Stratford District Council.

Polls are open from 7am to 10pm at the Sheldon Bosley Hub, Pittway Avenue, with the count expected to be made straight afterwards.

A by-election was called following the resignation of Jonathon Gullis who felt he could no longer represent the town after landing a new job in London.

His resignation caused uproar after it was claimed he handed it in three hours too late so the by-election could not be held on the same day as the Police and Crime Commissioner elections, which would have saved money.

The by-election will now cost the taxpayer £5,155.

The candidates standing for election are: The Conservative-led council, which has a majority of 12, has put forward Shipston resident Marion Lowe as their candidate.

Mrs Lowe has an active role in the community and is a member of the local residents’ association, has been town crier for four years and is involved in Shipston in Bloom.

She is passionate about Shipston and believes in protecting the unique quality of the town and the individual retailers and also said safeguarding the heart of Shipston was paramount.

Shipston Liberal Democrats have chosen Laura Nelson as their candidate, who was brought up in Iilmington. She believes all future large development plans should wait until the town’s Neighbourhood Plan is in place.

She said: “A communityled Neighbourhood Plan is the best way to assess what local people want and need.

“I’m not against development but it has to be the right development for the town as a whole. I hope that residents will get involved and have their say on shaping the future of Shipston.”

It is second time around for Labour’s candidate Jeff Kenner, after narrowly missing out at the May elections. The Brailes resident backs the proposal for a supermarket and petrol station in Shipston because he feels it will bring out-of-town shoppers back into town and provide local jobs.

If elected, Mr Kenner will put Shipston first and will not be diverted by the politics of Stratford. He attends town council meetings, is a trustee of Shipston Youth Club, and supports the Sports and Social Club, Shipston First responders, DASH, SCAN and other organisations in the town.