A TOTAL of 170 candidates have put their names forward to stand at the all-out local council elections on May 3.

Normally only one third of seats are available in Swindon at any one election, but this time every seat will be up for grabs because of new ward boundaries.

There will be a 57-member council, with 18 three-member wards, one two-member ward (Chiseldon & Lawn), and a single one-member ward (Ridgeway).

The Conservative and Labour Parties are standing a candidate for every seat, while the Liberal Democrats are fielding at least one candidate in each ward, with a full complement in heartland wards such as Eastcott.

The Green Party is putting up nine candidates across the borough and the United Kingdom Independence Party is standing 10, including three in the Old Town ward. The Social Democratic Party is fielding two candidates in the Walcot and Park North ward and the Official Monster Raving Loony Party is putting up one in the Shaw ward.

There are also four independent candidates: one in Chiseldon and Lawn, one in Old Town and two in Wroughton and Wichelstowe.

The biggest battleground looks set to be in the Old Town ward, where there are 14 candidates, including council leader Rod Bluh, and Croft school campaigner Kareen Boyd.

Wroughton and Wichelstowe, and Walcot and Park North, are the next most contested wards, with 12 and 11 candidates respectively.

Coun Nick Martin, chairman of Swindon Conservative Association, said: “We gave support to current serving councillors, that’s the first thing.

“If people have actually served on the council and know what they’re taking on and are willing to serve again, we did give a preference.

“Certainly, if possible, we like people to live in their ward but equally they don’t have to.”

Coun Stan Pajak, the Lib Dem group leader, said: “Our rationale was to give people the Lib Dem offer and to field good candidates who would make good councillors.

“If possible, living in an area is always a good thing, but obviously you can be a good councillors and not live in a ward.”

Coun Jim Grant, the Labour group leader, said: “All of Labour’s candidates were selected by local Labour Party Members in the areas of which they were standing. And with one exception, all of the Labour Party’s current Councillors will be representing broadly the same areas as before, unlike with the Conservatives.”

For more information about the election, including how to register for postal votes, call electoral services on 01793 464601 or visit swindon.gov.uk