Chiseldon and Lawn is one of the biggest wards in Swindon, with most of it having a distinctly rural character.

It’s also one of the smallest in terms of population, so much so that it is one of only two wards which have fewer than three sitting councillors – the other being its even bigger neighbour Ridgeway, with just one member.

The two wards on the far south east of the borough share an electoral cycle. Whereas most wards elect one councillor every year for three years, and have a year off, those in Chiseldon and Lawn get to vote twice in rapid succession, then have two years’ respite.

Geographically, green and blue dominate the ward. Up in the northern end, where nearly all the houses are situated in the Lawn district of Swindon proper, the open green spaces, and lakes of The Lawn itself (which, possibly ironically, are outside the ward in Old Town) provide a much-needed recreation space for residents.

As the town peters out into the countryside, Coate Water is one of Swindonians’ favourite spaces to visit on a sunny summer’s afternoon, with crowds flocking in hot weather. South of that, apart from the village of Chiseldon, it’s all green spaces – either woods, uplands or agricultural land.

The ward is growing, however. Badbury Park housing development is expanding rapidly in the area around Great Western Hospital and the A419-M4 junction. It’s an issue for residents – more people want to move in, because of the availability of housing, but also because of the beauty of the area.

Whether increasing development threatens the very beauty and nature of the area that makes people want to move there is a moot point. When the boundaries for council wards are next withdrawn, the rate of growth in the area may see it merit a third councillor.

However the vote goes next Thursday, there will be a new councillor. Fionuala Foley, who has been a councillor since 2000 and held a number of committee chairs and cabinet posts in that time, has stepped down.

Politically, the ward is dominated by blue. It has returned Conservative councillors since it came into being in 2012 and Tory domination goes back way into the days of Wroughton and Chiseldon.

All three candidates standing have fought in the ward before. Jenny Jefferies, for the Conservatives, came third to Coun Foley in 2015 ,when she stood for UKIP. The year before she had come second to the Conservative candidate while standing for UKIP, but it was a long way second.

The Green candidate, Paul Sunners, came fourth behind Ms Jefferies in 2015 and then third in last year’s election. Labour’s Peter Bates came second last year, but with not much more than half the votes of Tory Brian Mattock.

The Liberal Democrats and UKIP do not have candidates in the ward this year.

The Candidates

Peter Bates (Labour)

I am a car worker and have lived in Swindon my entire life. I am concerned with the deterioration in our public spaces and reduced council services to prune hedges and trees and keep our roads free from potholes.

As Badbury Park continues to grow we now need public amenities such as community spaces and proper provision for safe bus routes. In Lawn maintaining our wonderful green space requires public support.

Jenny Jefferies (Conservative)

I’ve lived in Chiseldon for the past 32 years and have served on Chiseldon Parish Council for 5 years in various capacities.

Most of my working life was spent in recruitment , supplying automotive ,engineering and administrative staff to many of Swindon’s largest employers .

I have always been involved in local current affairs and if selected will continue to promote and support the residents of your communities.

I am asking you to elect me on May 2nd to enable me to work on your behalf to maintain and improve the services and opportunities enjoyed by our ward .

I am grateful for the opportunities Swindon has offered me; I would now like to give something back.

Paul Sunners (Green Party)

As a Chiseldon Parish Councillor since 2010, with a particular interest in community safety and how local communities provide support networks for young people, the elderly and vulnerable.

As a governor at a Swindon primary school I have a specific focus on the role of education in enhancing the life prospects of all children and young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

I support any development in environmental education and action that reduces the impact of climate change.

As a member of the Swindon Equality Group, I campaign for the real Living Wage and to raise awareness of inequality.

My support for the Green Party is borne of its commitment to fairness, citizen participation, shared responsibility, world peace and environmental protection.

I strongly believe its vision is one that supports a better future for all.