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 Brailes, near Shipston.

Contesting the seat is conservative Philip Seccombe, who has been a district councillor since 2002.

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.

Conservative candidate Philip Seccombe has served as District Councillor for 12 years and runs his own business in South Warwickshire employing 12 people.

He is married to Izzi, Leader of Warwickshire County Council and has two grown-up children. He served in the Territorial Army for 25 years reaching the rank of Colonel and has just retired as a Governor of Brailes School after 12 years, but will continue to support initiatives to increase numbers and improvements there.

He is currently Chairman of the influential Audit Committee at Stratford District Council.

Philip has been active in the ward, attending parish council meetings, and being involved in community projects to include building social housing in Brailes and Stretton, the campaign to save the post office services in Brailes, assisting the Flood Relief Team and supporting local residents to protect the rural nature of the ward.

He is committed to enabling business start ups in the ward and to encouraging local shops and traders to expand and employ more local people.

Labour candidate Jackie Warner works as a counter clerk at Shipston Post Office serving Brailes Ward residents and is a hard working Town Councillor and charity fund raiser.

Jackie wants to help people struggling to find affordable housing and take up the case of anyone who has been treated unfairly by policies such as cuts in social care.

She is campaigning to keep funding for the Young Firefighters who help many local young people gain skills.

Jackie will be a champion for local concerns in all the villages in the Ward and make sure that we are listened to in Stratford.

Green candidate Dave Passingham has lived in Stretton-on-Fosse for 17 years and is now retired.

He has campaigned with Friends of the Earth for many years and has been involved in many environmental initiatives.

He said: “I am standing for the Green Party because they fight for things I think are really important such as better quality of life, reducing inequality and a better environment.

"I would work to encourage responsible, sustainable development and campaign for safer roads."

Liberal Democrat candidate Paul Kelly is a retired teacher who lives in Shipston with his wife.

They have three grandchildren and have previously been foster parents as well.

Active in local life, Paul is a voluntary worker at Shipston Youth Club and Secretary of the local Probus Club.

Paul is very aware of the planning problems being presented by the absence of an adopted Core Strategy and the way this is affecting development in Local Service Villages such as Brailes.

He is now a member of the Shipston Neighbourhood Plan team and if elected he would be keen to support our other local villages with their Plans.