Wednesday, 17 April 2013

By-Election Preview: 18 April 2013

As we approach the all-out elections on the 2nd of May, there is just one poll on 18th April 2013, in West Sussex.

Arun District Council, West Sussex; caused by the death of Conservative councillor Julie Hazlehurst who had served as a district councillor for the ward since 2003.

Angmering: Village sign
  © Copyright Nigel Cox and licensed for
reuse under this 
Creative Commons Licence.
Nestled between the South Downs and the coast, Angmering is a large village just off the main A27 road along the Channel coast.  Essentially a commuter village for Worthing, to which there are four trains each hour from the village's railway station, Angmering has grown strongly in recent years: the ward's population increased from 5,812 in the 2001 census to 7,788 in the 2011 census, making the village one of the largest centres of population in the largely rural Arundel and South Downs parliamentary constituency.  The population could grow yet further in the near future, with 500 new homes pencilled in for the parish in Arun council's development plan.  Angmering ward also includes the tiny parish of Poling to the west, and stretches north into the South Downs National Park to the summit of Harrow Hill.

With Arundel and South Downs being one of the safest Conservative seats in the whole of the UK, getting opposition candidates to stand against the Tories here can be a struggle.  The Conservatives were opposed for the three seats only by a single Lib Dem candidate in 2003, and by a single UKIP candidate in 2007.  In between the Tories polled almost 74% of the vote at a summer 2006 by-election.  In 2011 the ward's opposition to the Tories did manage to get four candidates together, one independent as well as one candidate each from the Lib Dems, Labour and UKIP, finishing very close to each other but nearly 800 votes away from the third Conservative candidate.

Defending for the Conservatives is Andy Cooper, chairman of the parish council in Rustington just over the railway line, who runs a sportswear/leisure shop in Littlehampton.  He is opposed by two candidates: fellow Rustington parish councillor Jamie Bennett, for the Lib Dems, and Angmering resident Carly Godwin for Labour.

Parliamentary constituency: Arundel and South Downs
West Sussex county council division: Angmering and Findon
ONS Travel to Work Area: Worthing

Jamie Bennett (LD)
Andy Cooper (C)
Carly Godwin (Lab)

May 2011 result C 1520/1404/1324 LD 550 Lab 538 Ind 524 UKIP 517
May 2007 result C 1380/1318/1188 UKIP 624
June 2006 by-election C 1052 LD 254 Lab 123
May 2003 result C 886/862/733 LD 512

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