If any ward in Swindon meets the definition of 'mixed' or 'contrasting' it must be Central ward.

Running east to west to the south of the railway lines that were so central to Swindon's history and growth, the ward includes some of the most disadvantaged areas in the town, notably the Broad Green area, and also many of the things we can justly be proud of - the historic Railway Village, recently voted the nation's favourite heritage area, Swindon Town FC's County Ground, even the Magic Roundabout.

Perhaps the Mechanic's Institute in Emlyn Square is a microcosm - a beautiful and proud history - including the inspiration for the NHS - fallen on harder times, but with the determination to build a brighter future.

Issues that affect all Swindonians, the regeneration of the town centre, the day-time economy compared to the evening and night-time economy, traffic, parking in the town and the motors of prosperity affect residents in the ward to a greater extent, it's in their patch.

But quality of housing, the effects on health of poor housing, crime and anti-social behaviour and increasing incidents of fly-tipping and dumping rubbish are also all things that matter in Central.

Moving away from the tightly packed terraces of Broad Green and then the shopping centres the ward stretches south west as far as Rushey Platt and some significant, and much-loved and used open green spaces.

Politically, the ward is a Labour stronghold.

And while the resignation of the sitting councillor Julie Wright will break up one husband and wife councillor team- Coun Wright's husband Bob will continue to represents the ward, the party hopes to replace it with another one - its candidate Adorabelle Shaikh is married to Coun Imtiyaz Shaikh, who represents Labour in Eastcott ward next door.

Anything other than a Labour hold of the seat would be a surprise.

Coun Julie Wright won it handsomely enough in 2015 with 45 per cent of the 5695 votes cast, with the Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates battling it out for second more than 1,000 votes behind her.

Coun Wrights husband Bob, who has held the seat since 2006 won it in 2016 with an astonishing 74 per cent of the vote.

The ward's third Labour councillor Junab Ali, who is coming to the end of his year as Mayor of Swindon won with 71.6 per cent last year. It's not often a candidate with seven out of every 10 votes is overshadowed by a colleague.

You have to go back to 2003 to find an election in Central not won by Labour when the seat was taken by the Liberal Democrats.

Raymond James, the Lib Dem candidate this year will be hoping to reverse the trend of the last three elections, when it was the Conservatives who posed what challenge there was to the Labour candidate, and repeat or better the performance of 2014. Then the Lib Dem candidate, coincidentally Imtiyaz Shaikh, got within 200 votes of unseating Coun Ali.

The Conservative candidate Mohammad Chowdhury will of course be wanting, and working, to win the seat, but based on recent results will be doing well to get within a few hundred votes of the Labour candidate, and the Green party's candidate Bob Heritage will hope that recent publicity over plastic waste and climate change might tip some votes towards him.

It's never wise to predict elections, and particularly in the current climate. But if Labour want to take control at Euclid Street, the party must absolutely hold Central. Not only because it needs every seat it can pick up to overcome the Conservatives' majority - but if it doesn't romp home here, that bodes badly for its hopes in other more tightly contested wards.

Party leaders will be cheered that it's become ever more popular in the last few years in this ward.

The Candidates

Mohammad Chowdhury (Conservatives)

This opportunity will empower me to work alongside like-minded individuals to share ideas, discuss projects and have a strong input in the decisions being for the continuous development of our community within Central ward.

I have previously held the position of general secretary for a Swindon-based cultural organisation and I am keen to continue working hard on behalf of residents of the ward by providing information and trustworthiness, whilst being visible and available to help our local community.

I will strive to provide more facilities and activities for children, create secure facilities for young people to access, reduce poor parking, improve road safety, work with the police to tackle anti-social behaviour and ensure that all sections of the community are represented in local decision making.

Bob Heritage (Green Party)

I believe in a compassionate society that recognizes the diversities of people who don’t all fit into the same hetero’ mould.

I will work hard to put Swindon at the forefront of providing solutions for a carbon neutral economy, based on renewable energy and free from fossil fuels. I will support local businesses, so more goods are built by local firms rather than faceless multinationals.

I want to see improvements in the food that we eat, and reform the farming industry. We need to encourage organic farming, with livestock living in natural conditions rather than concrete bunkers, and healthy soil free from artificial fertilizers.

I see a free, high-quality, education for all as key to dispersing old myths, and to creating a sustainable, green, society that works for us all.

Raymond James (Liberal Democrats)

I am a member of the Mechanics Institute Trust and I care about the history and preservation of the local area. I have also been involved with local events in the area, living near the area and having worked in the area, I also understand the issues that affect the area e.g. residents parking and the problems caused by traffic congestion and buses running through Bristol Street.

I believe that the Central area can and will achieve its potential and feel that we should not be afraid to look at other similar areas of the UK to see what works and could possibly work for Swindon

Adorabelle Shaikh (Labour)

I have lived in Central Swindon for more than 13 years, presently living on County Road with my husband and two children. I want to give something back to the community that has provided the opportunity for me, and my family. I’m passionate to bring change and continue to work on the ground and try to resolve local issues.

I continue to be a community contact to help with school admissions, Home Office matters, issues relating to housing and private landlords, resident complaints, participating in tackling drug related and fly tipping issues to mention a few.

Austerity cuts have depleted the resources needed to tackle Central ward issues and I will work hard to get it the help it needs and try to resolve issues affecting the heart of central Swindon.