VOTERS are heading to the polls on Thursday to deliver their verdict on Stratford District Council.
This year’s district council elections coincide with the European elections and voting will be carried out in 135 polling stations across 100 locations spread around the district from 7am to 10pm.
There are 18 district council wards are being contested by 71 candidates including Bidford and Salford.
The seat was won in 2010 by Daren Pemberton, who last year switched alliances from the Liberal Democrats and is now standing as the Conservative candidate.
Stratford District Council is currently made up of 29 Conservatives, 14 Liberal Democrats, five Independent, two Stratford First Independent, one Labour and two vacant in Long Itchington and Southam.
Turnout at the elections in May 2010, which was for 18 wards along with two by-elections in Henley and Shipston, was 73.85 per cent.
After a career working as a Chartered Accountant in the insurance industry, Liberal Democrat candidate Trevor honeychurch is now retired and is a volunteer for a number of organisations.
He's a guide for the National Trust at Hidcote, a Warden for the Youth Hostel Association, a volunteer helper at an Oxfam bookshop and a voluntary driver for a Foodbank scheme.
In his remaining spare time Trevor is a canal boat enthusiast.
He has previous experience as a district councillor in Stratford district and fully understands the problems that are arising from the lack of a planning Core Strategy and the inappropriate development that follows from this.
Trevor is concerned about the impact development is having on Bidford and is keen to see the transport problems of the new medical centre resolved.
Conservative Daren Pemberton has been a district councillor since 2001, and says that while “much has changed in those years, much remains the same.”
“In 2001 I supported residents in successfully resisting development of a large scale industrial estate at Marriage Hill. In 2014 the fight is against an inappropriate development on Salford Road. Again, I am working with residents, the parish council and fellow District Councillors to resist this development.
“I support good developments that add to our communities and resist those that don’t. I have given evidence in a number of planning appeals – to date I have yet to lose.
He has lived in Bidford for 18 years with his wife and two sons and works for a provider of rehabilitation for those suffering brain or spinal cord injury.
UKIP candidate Neil Lawrence says: "Having lived in Bidford for 20 years, I have watched the village grow and am conscious this growth has not been matched with facilities which represent the needs of our community.
"Our current councillors have not addressed the requirements of the village, and have been unable to drive necessary changes to our facilities.
"A vote for UKIP would enable us to shake the council out of its apathy and into something resembling local democracy.
"I am married with four children who have grown up in Bidford, so local issues really do mean a great deal to our family."
Maureen Ashfield is also standing as a Labour candidate.