VOTERS are preparing to head to the polling stations next week with 20 North Tyneside Council seats to be decided.
One seat in each of the borough’s 20 wards is being fought, with the Conservative party defending 11 seats, Labour six and the Liberal Democrats three.
Voting will take place on Thursday, May 3, with the results being announced the following day.
All three party group leaders are up for re-election – Labour’s Jim Allan (Camperdown), Conservative Michael McIntyre (Whitley Bay) and Lib Dem leader Chris Croft (Battle Hill).
Coun McIntyre said: “Our priorities are the continuing regeneration of our town centres and seafront, especially the Spanish City site and the Swan Hunter and North Bank of the Tyne project.”
He also dismissed reports that the council’s budget had increased by nearly £120m under the Conservative mayor.
“Under the last Labour government, the £118m housing debt was hidden off the council’s books.
“The current government has changed the rules on how this debt should be accounted for and is now shown on the council’s balance sheet.”
Coun Allan said: “We want as many people as possible to vote for us to send a message to the mayor that her policies aren’t working.
“We want to use investment from the private sector to help the borough.”
He hit out at claims that the Labour/Lib Dem budget agreed at council would result in the closure of either the Waves leisure centre in Whitley Bay or the Lakeside Centre in Killingworth.
“We want to keep all the sports centres in-house, not give them over to a trust,” he said.
Coun Croft said: “Our message is we’re here all year round, keeping residents informed of matters which affect the local area. We can’t influence national policy.”
He hit out at information being distributed which said their budget proposed less spending on roads and pavements, saying they put an extra £1m in.
The council is currently made up of 35 Labour councillors, 19 Conservative and six Liberal Democrats.
n All the election results from North Tyneside will be online at www.newsguardian.co.uk on Friday, May 4.