Voters in Wildern and Grange Park wards of Hedge End are spared elections this year, but some voters in St John's get to vote twice.
Long-serving Lib Dem councillor and outgoing chair of the Town Council, Jane Welsh, is defending the St John's borough seat against strong local candidates from the Tories and UKIP. Both Paul Redding and Michale O'Donoghue recently honed their electioneering skills in the Shamblehurst by-election. Labour, once again, have been unable to find a candidate who lives in Hedge End, and are putting forward Christine McKeone of Bishopstoke.
St John's is the only Hedge End ward to return a Conservative councillor in recent years, with Jerry Hall coming top of the poll in 2002. The Lib Dems have held it consistently since 2003, and four years ago Jane Welsh had more than 50% of the vote and a majority of 326.
Paul Redding is likely to be a more energetic candidate than his Tory counterpart in 2008, but Michale O'Donoghue will be trying to take the votes of anti-EU Conservatives. Christine McKeone will be hoping that Labour's strong position in national opinion polls is reflected locally and that Labour supporters who voted tactically for the Lib Dems in the past will return.
Town Council By-Election
Cllr Pearl Hicks has led to a by-election in St Helen's ward which will be contested on the same day as the Borough poll.
Labour are not contesting this one, resulting in a three-way contest between Lib Dem new boy Paul Carnell, high profile Tory activist Jerry Hall and UKIP stalwart Michale O'Donoghue.
Hedge End Blogger will be trying once again to contact all the candidates in the Hedge End elections and inviting them to answer a few questions of interest to local residents on this blog. Only the Lib Dems refused to participate in this exercise in online democracy last time. It clearly did them no harm, as they romped home to success in the Shamblehurst by-election, but I hope they reconsider this time round and join in with the other parties.
Elections in Botley Too
Hedge End Town Councillor and Deputy Mayor of Eastleigh, Rupert Kyrle, can expect a tough fight standing up for the Lib Dem plans for 4,000 houses in Botley and Hedge End as he defends his Botley Borough Council seat against local Conservative Graham Hunter. UKIP will again be trying to split the Tory vote as they are represented by Elizabeth McKay of Chandler's Ford, and Labour have a local candidate in Kevin Williamson of Holmesland Walk.
Ex Lib Dem County Councillor Derek Blampied is standing as an independent for Botley Parish Council along with five other independents. Gwyneth Lester is also no longer standing as a Lib Dem. Six Lib Dems and four Tories make up the rest of what looks like an interesting ballot in our neighbouring parish.
Voting in all these elections is from 7:00am to 10:00pm on Thursday 3rd May.
Statements of all candidates nominated are published on Eastleigh Borough Council's web site, here for the Borough elections, and here for Town and Parish Councils.