Housing, crime and anti-social behaviour are all things that matter to the voters of Gorse Hill and Pinehurst. 

The ward is one of the smallest in Swindon, but one of the most densely populated. It also suffers among the highest rates of deprivation in Swindon and the south west. 

The Pinehurst West area is in the top five of all 132 different areas in Swindon for deprivation in terms of income, employment, education and crime. 

The crime rate in the entire ward is twice that of the south west average. 
Educationally the area is improving. While its latest GCSE and A-level attainment figures are below the regional and national averages, younger children at Key Stage 2 are doing better in maths and English than both of those benchmarks.

Pinehurst was Swindon’s first council housing estate and part of the town's northward expansion after the First World War. The building of the houses began in 1919 enabled by a law brought in by the then Liberal health minister Christopher Adison, who became Swindon’s first Labour MP in 1929. 

The Gorse Hill neighbourhood is at the southern end of the ward, running up to the east-west running railway line that acts as a boundary of so many wards in the town. 

The Pinehurst estate is directly north of it and is possibly the most immediately recognisable part of Swindon from the air – the houses are arranged in a pattern of concentric circles around the open green space within the street actually called The Circle. Pinehurst Road runs through it. 

Separating the two areas of housing is a large open area of playing fields and the route of the Austradius Brook and to the east of the ward lie the Techno and Kembrey industrial and trading estates. 

The councillor seeking re-election this year is Ray Ballman, who has been a member of the council since 1998. 

This will be her third election since the boundaries were redrawn in 2012 and she has not, in that time, failed to get more than 50 per cent of the vote. 

Green candidate Andy Bentley is fighting the ward for the third time in a decade, having stood in 2019 and 2015.

Ray Ballman (Labour)

"I have been a councillor in Gorse Hill & Pinehurst since 2004 and was Mayor of Swindon in 2012, during which time I met some extraordinary people.

"I was involved in getting both Pinetrees and The Academy for Pinehurst as well as funding for new facilities in St Marks Rec.

"I am married to fellow councillor John Ballman and spent my working life at Princess Margaret’s and Great Western Hospital’s intensive care unit.

"I have grown-up children who went to local schools so I understand many of the problems parents face today. My interest lies in social care and adults with learning disabilities and I am a member of the Health and Wellbeing Board, the Adult Safeguarding Board and I’m chair of the Learning Disabilities Partnership Board.

"I am worried by the damage that this Conservative council is doing to these services and believe 'Swindon deserves better'."

Andy Bentley (Green)

"I’ve lived in Pinehurst for over 15 years. As a trustee of Hreod Burna Urban Forest, I am particularly interested in protecting the parks and other green areas and making sure that our open spaces are safe, pleasant places for people of all ages. 

"If elected I will: 

"Stop new road-building projects and concentrate on fixing existing roads and pavements;

"Improve waste collection and recycling services, improve litter picking, and crack down on fly-tipping; 

"Expand the scope and ambition of the Council’s carbon-reduction strategy to help every Swindon resident become carbon-neutral; 

"Ensure that play areas, dog bins, and other public amenities are well maintained; 

"Work with local companies to make all social housing in the Borough a showcase for energy efficiency. 

"I will work hard to find common ground with my colleagues on the council, focusing on improving the everyday lives of Swindon residents and tackling climate change."
Carl Jones (Conservative)

"I have lived in Swindon for over 21 years and as a retired police detective.

"Having worked in Swindon for my entire career I have dealt with anti-social behaviour and criminal behaviour in and around the area. Having been involved in local policing, I have an understanding of local concerns and a determination to help resolve them, from parking issues to crime, my operational experience will provide an unparalleled level of compassion and the need to resolve them quickly. 

"If elected, I will improve advocacy for local residents who feel issues are not being tackled or go unresolved by the remote Labour councillors.  My career and life experiences have given me a strong sense of integrity and fairness and a deep understanding of what a community needs. 

"I will work tirelessly for the local community – a dedicated, hard-working and accountable councillor who always puts local residents first."
Andrew Osborne (Independent)

"I was born and lived in London for most of my life and moved to Swindon in 2015.  

"I decided to stand in the local elections this year to give the people of Swindon a voice during these unprecedented times.  

"The people of Swindon have been betrayed by our politicians who all voted to extend lockdown powers and keep us prisoners at their beck and call. None of us voted for this.

"Businesses have been ruined, families torn apart, the economy is nosediving. None of us gave this government a mandate to do these things. The pandemic is over, what they are doing now is all about control. Most people have had enough and want their lives back. 

"A vote for your Independent candidate is a vote to let your voice be heard. Send a message to the politicians who have taken away your freedoms and vote Independent on May 6."
Joseph Polson (Lib Dem)

"Last year in the midst of the Covid pandemic I finished my degree in psychology at Winchester University.  

"Since then, I returned to Swindon and have worked hard to support local people through my political work with the Liberal Police and Crime Commissioner candidate for Wiltshire, participating and organising events to support local residents.  

"I have, in recent months, become chair of the Swindon Liberal Democrats and have designed and set out our aims to save Swindon.  

"For too long councillors, both Labour and Conservative have taken advantage of their positions believing themselves untouchable. 

"They have abandoned local people, whether on the Oasis, the state of our roads, education, high quality jobs or the safeguarding of a green future, the people of Swindon have been left behind.

"That is why I’m standing, to bring a new wave of energy and sincerity that has been sorely lacking for too long."