WALCOT and Park North is another part of Swindon that was built in the middle of the 20th Century as the town expanded.

Butting up to the older area of the borough in Old Town and Eastcott, the ward saw thousands of houses go up in the late 1950s and early 1960s, particularly as more and more people moved, or were moved from slum areas of London and major cities.

And it is a ward that is very typical of England in its demographic make-up. It has slightly higher than average proportion of council tenants, but a lower percentage of housing association renters and slightly fewer than average home-owners.

It’s a reasonably prosperous ward, with fewer people out of work, or claiming any state benefits than the England average, and more than 50 per cent of residents are listed as ABC1 in the government’s social classifications.

It’s perhaps notable that such an average ward has been, at least in the last few elections, solid Labour territory.

It has three Labour councillors, and the fact that Coun Emma Bushell, who will be defending her seat for the first time, was given the group’s role as spokesman on the critical issue of housing suggests the leadership has plenty of confidence in her ability to hold on to it.

Coun Bushell took the seat in 2015 with 47 per cent of the votes in what was otherwise a good year electorally for the Conservatives. Her 2,506-strong vote was more than 1,000 higher than the Conservative candidate Ellen Heavens.

Ms Heavens stood again in 2016 against the Labour group’s deputy leader, Coun Steve Allsopp, but he did even better than Coun Bushell, winning with 53.35 per cent of the vote share. Again, a majority of more than 800.

That pattern was repeated last year when Labour’s Abdul Amin won with a 55 per cent share of the vote.

Two of Coun Bushell’s opponents will both be wanting to do better than last time. The Conservative candidate Roy Stephen stood in 2018 and this will be the third attempt in a row for UKIP’s Steve Halden. Mr Halden will be hoping to repeat, or better his performance in 2016 when he came third with 16.9 per cent of the vote rather than last year when he was again third, but with only six per cent of the vote.

It remains to be seen what the difficulties Westminster politicians have had with Brexit, and other issues, will have on local Swindon politics, but if the Conservatives take the seat that would be quite a coup - and Labour must hold on to it if they want to take control at Euclid Street.

The Candidates

Emma Bushell (Labour)

Emma has been councillor for Walcot and Park North since 2015.

During that time she has campaigned to save Parks Library and the local Children’s Centre. With ward colleagues she has delivered a 20 MPH Zone for Walcot West and much needed road improvements for Upham Road. She has helped residents solve issues such as housing repairs, council tax queries and fly-tipped rubbish and raised residents’ concerns about anti-social behaviour with the police and council.

As the Labour Housing spokesperson she has campaigned to reduce homelessness, build more council houses and to improve the housing repairs service for councils tenants.

If elected she pledges to continue to working hard for local residents and be a strong voice for Walcot and Park North in the Council.

Steve Halden (UKIP)

Steve is retired and has lived in Swindon for 50 years. The housing crisis has hit the young generation hard. Nationally there is a shortage of 4 million houses. He believes that house prices are far too high. The young can’t afford to rent or buy. Britain must build more houses for the working class. The young generation are the flower of the nation and they have been betrayed by all the major political parties in Britain. We need a much more patriotic approach to British industry and people should be encouraged to buy British made goods. Patriots want Britain to be a fully independent nation but our Westminster parliament have done all they can to keep us in the EU and stop us leaving.

Dawn Pajak (Liberal Democrat)

I’m a senior teaching assistant at Holy Rood School having worked in education for most of my working life and I see it as a top priority. The government’s poor funding for Swindon schools is a major concern. Before teaching I was a nurse and met husband Stan while training at Princess Margaret’s hospital. Significantly campaigning for adequate health provision is a constant need in our growing town. “Swindon is a great place to live but the Council must ensure everyone benefits from its amazing economic success which alas has been dented by the shocking Honda decision.”

Roy Stephen (Conservatives)

Local resident Roy Stephen BEM has been living in Walcot for the past Seven years and has been working tirelessly for the community. Roy is the Secretary for the Walcot Dome Community Centre for the last five years. Roy is also a Governor for the Holy Family Catholic School, Park North.

Roy hold a master’s degree in social sciences and is a professional working with Research Council UK and has 15 years of working experience in community development. He has raised funds for the communities to support skills development.

Roy’s commitment to voluntary work is well noted. He received a Pride of Swindon award in 2015 and in 2017 was recognised by the Queen for his services to the community when he was awarded the British Empire Medal.