Worcester City Council

  1. 'Big improvement' for Greens in Worcester

    BBC Midlands Today

    The Green Party has been toasting its success in Worcester as the Conservative Party lost control of the authority.

    Louis Stephen

    After this year's poll, the Greens now have six councillors and, with the Tories no longer having a majority, look to hold the balance of power.

    Leader Louis Stephen (pictured) said the results have been a "big improvement" for his party.

    "The results have been very convincing as well. We have not just squeaked results, we have actually got excellent results," he said.

    While for the Tories, their local association chairman, Chris Rimell, called it a night of "mixed fortunes".

    "Some wards, their votes held up reasonably well, in Gorse Hill we have increased our majority, but clearly overall to lose seats to both the Greens and Labour, to lose three seats can only be characterised as disappointing," he said.

  2. Analysis: Greens hold balance of power in Worcester

    James Pearson

    Political reporter, BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester

    The Conservatives suffered a bad night in Worcester.

    They have lost control of the city council which they had held with a slim majority after an exceptional night last May. However they remain the largest party.

    The Tories lost three seats, two to the Greens in St Peter’s Parish Ward and Battenhall and one to Labour in Nunnery.

    Green candidates looking happy in Worcester

    But it could have been worse.

    Labour came within 23 votes of taking the normally safe Tory seat of Bedwardine.

    Conservative Leader Marc Bayliss didn’t hang around. He left the Guildhall before the counting had even started, saying the people had given their verdict on the government, blaming Partygate as an issue that had turned away voters.

    As for the future of the city council? The Greens now hold the balance of power.

    They will decide as a group this weekend whether to back Mr Bayliss as leader and resume power-sharing or to reach a new coalition, possibly with Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

  3. Tories lose control of Worcester City Council

    James Pearson

    Political reporter, BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester

    The biggest news of the night so far is that the Conservative Party has lost control of Worcester City Council.

    The Tories saw their total number of councillors slip to 15 as they suffered three losses.

    The gains were equally shared among Labour, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats.

    Earlier in the night, the Tory leader, Marc Bayliss, admitted he was expecting poor results and said the people had "given their verdict on the government".

  4. Tories 'throwing in the towel' in Worcester

    James Pearson

    Political reporter, BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester

    Counting is only just starting here in Worcester but Tory leader Marc Bayliss has effectively thrown in the towel and is heading home.

    Counting in Worcester

    He told me he expects his party to have lost several seats tonight and said the people have "given their verdict on the government".

    Mr Bayliss told me Partygate - gatherings held in and around Downing Street during Covid lockdowns - has been the main national issue.

    He added the public had judged the government's performance and "they have found it wanting".

    "I think it is fair to say we are having a bad night."

  5. Change in the air in Worcester

    James Pearson

    Political reporter, BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester

    There is a feeling of change in the air tonight in Worcester and an expectation that the city council could slip back into no overall control. Just how many Conservative voters have come out today could be key.

    Counting in Worcester

    The Tories have been in control here since an exceptional election last May when three gains at the expense of Labour gave them a majority of one.

    Labour say the reception on the door today has been “warm” and a million miles from the mood of 2021.

    Meanwhile the Greens are hoping this election will be a game changer as, unlike in previous ones, they are hoping to capture multiple seats this time.

    Worcester has been seen as a bellwether seat in general elections since the 1980s. The way Worcester votes, the country votes.

  6. West Midlands results to watch out for

    Here are some of the key contests to look out for tonight in the West Midlands - be aware, low turnouts in some areas could mean results come through more quickly than expected.

    Tamworth: The Conservative majority is unassailable. Last year they won every ward. If they did so again, Labour would be reduced to a single seat.

    Estimated result declaration: 02:00

    Worcester: The Conservatives eked out a majority of one last year. There are a couple of Labour seats in their targets this year but they also have to defend in Claines against the Lib Dems. So it could slip into hung territory again.

    Estimated result declaration: 02:00

    Counting in Worcester

    Redditch: Labour won here in 2016 but the Conservatives captured the council in 2018, when boundaries changed, and last year became almost completely dominant. A repeat performance would see Labour reduced to a single seat so, clearly, they'll be looking to turn the tide.

    Estimated result declaration: 02:30

    Sandwell: Labour's majority is unassailable. However, the government said in January it was minded to appoint commissioners to run the council after a series of misconduct allegations. Keir Starmer has also said there needs to be change at the council.

    Estimated result declaration: 03:00

    Wolverhampton: This is almost a straight Lab v Con battle, and last year the Conservatives made five gains, following on from their strong showing at the general election. Labour's majority isn't in doubt but they will want to prevent a repeat performance.

    Estimated result declaration: 03:30

    People ready to count in Wolverhampton

    Nuneaton and Bedworth: A Conservative gain last year when they added 10 seats. If they do anywhere near as well they'll add more seats this year. It's hard to see how Labour make any progress.

    Estimated result declaration: 04:00

    Dudley: A very strong performance by the Conservatives last year saw them take control for the first time in a decade. If they can get anywhere close to repeating the performance they will strengthen their grip on the council.

    Estimated result declaration: 04:30

    Coventry: Labour will win another comfortable majority but Keir Starmer may have made things harder for the party after he was accused of sniggering about Coventry in an interview about the city's bin strike and union funding.

    Estimated result declaration: 05:00

  7. When to expect local results to be declared

    Eight councils are expected to declare their results tonight in the West Midlands with a further six counting during the day on Friday.

    Counting in Sandwell tonight

    We have rough estimated declaration times for those authorities which is when we expect to be able to tell if control of the councils has changed or if one party has strengthened their grip or suffered losses.

    Tonight:

    • Tamworth - estimated result declaration: 02:00
    • Worcester - estimated result declaration: 02:00
    • Redditch - estimated result declaration: 02:30
    • Sandwell - estimated result declaration: 03:00
    • Wolverhampton - estimated result declaration: 03:30
    • Nuneaton and Bedworth - estimated result declaration: 04:00
    • Dudley - estimated result declaration: 04:30
    • Coventry - estimated result declaration: 05:00

    On Friday:

    • Solihull - estimated result declaration: 13:00
    • Cannock Chase - estimated result declaration: 13:00
    • Walsall - estimated result declaration: 13:30
    • Rugby - estimated result declaration: 16:00
    • Newcastle-under-Lyme - estimated result declaration: 17:30
    • Birmingham - estimated result declaration: 18:00
  8. Delays to blueprint for 14,000 new homes

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Christian Barnett

    A blueprint setting out the locations for tens of thousands of new homes in Worcestershire over the next 20 years is at least two years behind schedule, it has been revealed.

    Homes being built, generic

    The three councils involved - Worcester, Malvern Hills and Wychavon - blame delays on sewerage, transport and power infrastructure providers not sending through information.

    The South Worcestershire Development Plan for an extra 14,000 homes by 2041 includes a new 5,000-home village next to Worcestershire Parkway railway station and an extra 1,000 homes in Rushwick.

    The proposals, which also include plans for hundreds more homes in towns such as Evesham and Malvern, should have been approved by November 2021.

    But the councils say the delays mean the project won't be ready for the public to have their say until July 2022 - and could take until October 2023 to be adopted.

  9. 'Fantastic opportunity’ as council accepts £300k donation

    BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester

    An offer from an anonymous donor of £300,000 to boost the collection of artworks at a city museum has been unanimously accepted.

    The museum

    The leader of Worcester City Council said the philanthropist had given the city a "fantastic opportunity" to redevelop the Worcester Art Gallery and Museum.

    He added he had thanked the donor personally but they wanted to remain anonymous.

    Councillors were told at a meeting on Tuesday, to spend the money the authority has to set up a charitable body and the donor has set a deadline of December for them.

    Officer Phillipa Tinsley said the gallery had not seen major investment in several decades and the money would help improve exhibition space, retail space and refreshments.

  10. New mayor selected for Worcester

    Worcester's new mayor has been selected.

    Councillor Stephen Hodgson was voted in at Worcester City Council's annual meeting.

    Councillor Adrian Gregson was voted in as deputy mayor.

    Stephen Hodgson

    Mr Hodgson (pictured) said: “It’s a great privilege to be chosen as mayor of Worcester, having lived in the city for over 30 years.

    “It’s now time for us to come together and celebrate our great city, as we move forward and recover from the pandemic."

  11. Conservatives make moves to strengthen grip on power

    BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester

    The Conservatives on Worcester City Council are making changes to the way the authority is run after taking overall control by a slender majority.

    They plan to have all committees chaired by Conservative and are changing the rules to allow both the leader and the deputy leader to be from the same party.

    Worcester

    After four years of cross-party working, the Conservatives now have a majority of one, and that includes the Warndon ward which they took by just 12 votes.

    And postal votes may have been key to that, because a sweep of post boxes in the city on polling day recovered more than 1,000 ballots which were quickly sent to the counting centre.

    That sweep was carried out after concerns some postal ballots may have been sent out to voters late.

  12. Two Conservative gains in Worcester

    BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester

    We've got around half the results in from the Worcester City Council elections and so far the Conservatives have taken two seats from Labour.

    Labour have also lost the city centre seat of Arboretum to the Greens, with the former parliamentary candidate Joy Squires losing out that one.

    There have also been wins for the former UKIP MEP Jim Carver, who was elected in the Nunnery ward, and for the Lib Dems, who took Claines from the Conservatives.

  13. Backing for River Severn plan which could heat city

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Christian Barnett

    The River Severn could be used to heat buildings in Worcester after the city council agreed to investigate the idea.

    River Severn in Worcester

    Councillors backed plans to spend up to £7,000 on studying whether a heat network could be created in the city and at ways the river could be used for energy.

    The proposal would see water drawn through a network of pipes from either the river or the ground and pumped around many of the buildings.

    A report to the city council's environment committee on 21 July said the heat produced by the river would be the equivalent of 10,000 gas boilers.

  14. Housing plans ends university's science hub idea

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    The Local Democracy Reporting Service in Worcester has been covering these stories:

    • A university's plan to build 120 homes on land to the west of Worcester's been approved by councillors. The University of Worcester wants to put the houses on its University Park site off Bromyard Road, a move which effectively ends its ambition since 2009 to build a £100m science, health and enterprise hub there.
    The land off Bromyard Road, Worcester
    Image caption: The land off Bromyard Road, Worcester
    • A road-sweeping firm will have to wait on a decision on whether it'll be allowed to build a processing plant near Droitwich. Green Waste Recycling Services wants to end having to drive 30 miles out of Worcestershire to throw away rubbish it's collected and proposed the idea for Station House, off Saltway, Hanbury. County councillors decided to hold off on making a decision but with a view to approving it at their next meeting.
    • A plan to build two homes in the back garden of a house in Worcester's been rejected for not providing enough car parking spaces. Residents and councillors had opposed the plan to convert an old outbuilding on Sebright Avenue after the authority's highways department said it should be refused for not providing any new parking spaces in an already crowded street.