IT IS that time of year where the pavements get an extra pounding and no door-knocker is safe.

In just under six weeks, on May 22, the local elections will take place, so many residents can expect a call or two from candidates and their supporters.

While temptation may be to just nod politely until they leave (or slam the door straight away in some cases), listening to what they have to say is possibly the wiser option.

It is a well worn clichè that every vote counts but this year that could well be the case.

The current make-up of the council means the Conservatives have a majority of just one with 29 seats, Labour have 23 seats, the Lib Dems have four and there is one independent who is standing down.

Local elections often don’t get the same level of interest as national elections hence the often low turnout (usually about 30 to 34 per cent in Swindon) but the council has a big part to play in the town we live in.

One issue likely to be raised by many is the recent introduction of the green waste charge. Many say is an unfair charge which will lead to problems, while its supporters say it is vital to ensure the books are balanced.

One topic of contention among the parties is town centre regeneration. Later this year will see the opening the Regent Circus leisure complex, which most will see as a good thing for the town but has enough been done to lift other parts of the town?

The main parties will obviously be fielding candidates but there are also likely to be a host of independents standing, looking to make a point on very local issues.

With such tight margins it is important people take a look at what every candidate is offering and decide for themselves what is best for Swindon.