Election 2014: The key battlegrounds in Croydon
As the elections draw closer the balance of whether Croydon will remain Conservative or swing to Labour hangs very much on a knife edge.
There are four key battlegrounds in the borough, where Labour and Conservative will be battling it out to win seats.
It is in these areas where it is widely believed the election will be won and lost.
New Addington will be the hardest fought of of all the wards in Croydon.
It is currently a split seat with one elected Conservative councillor (1,399 votes) and one Labour (1,390 votes). The losing candidates that stood for both the tories and Labour in the area each missed out on election by under 90 votes each.
Conservative controlled Waddon had a difference of just 345 votes between the top losing Labour candidate (2,078 votes) and the winning tory candidate with the least number of votes (2,423 votes).
In Labour-controlled Addiscombe there was a difference of just 52 votes between the lowest winning Labour candidate (2,497) and the top losing Conservative candidate (2,445 votes), even though in total Labour got 1,327 more votes than the Tories across its three candidates.
In Conservative-controlled Ashburton, the lowest losing Labour candidate (2,234 votes) was 632 votes behind the lowest-ranking winning Conservative (2,866 votes), even thoug in total the Conservatives gained 2,596 more votes than Labour in the ward.
How will Labour or Conservatives win the key battleground seats?
The Croydon Guardian spoke to current and prospective councillors in Waddon and New Addington on their thoughts on the key battlegrounds of this year’s elections.
Oliver Lewis, prospective Labour councillor for New Addington who is running alongside Louisa Woodley, believes historically Labour have an edge in the ward over their Tory counterparts.
He said: "In the past Labour has done well in New Addington, but we lost one seat last time when we were massively behind in the polls.
"We are working hard and many people are coming back to Labour. I am confident that if all those who have promised to vote Labour do so, we will win both seats in New Addington.
Tony Pearson, a New Addington resident and current Conservative councillor, said it was a massive honour to become the first Tory councillor in the ward for more than 40 years in 2010 and believes being a local candidate will help his cause.
He said: "I promised from the outset to bang the drum for New Addington. I had the task of making sure our area got its just recognition in the council.
"New Addington is different to the rest of Croydon. Elsewhere in the borough it possibly makes little difference that you don't live in the ward but in New Addington it does matter.
"We are a separate community and I am proud to live here and represent where I live. We need local representation."
In Waddon, current Conservative councillor Simon Hoar said the diversity in the ward makes it an interesting patch to cover.
He said: "Waddon is great as it is so varied from tower blocks to large houses. I think we have done a good job in delivering for the ward such as new housing, street lights and the leisure centre.
"Education is also important and we have seen Haling Manor convert to Harris Purley and go from 18 per cent of students getting five good grades in 2008 to 76 per cent in 2013.
"I hope to continue improving the area and welcoming town centre developments such as Hammerson and Westfield."
Labour’s Waddon hopeful and former Conservative MP, Andrew Pelling, said he would not want to predict the outcome of the election due to how close voting has been in the past.
But, he said, the environment has been a key issue during their campaigning so far.
He said: "One matter that has become especially apparent in our conversations with residents over the past year is just how much they appreciate the quiet and the nice environment of the ward.
"Our job is to defend that nice environment and limit negative effects on the ward of some of the decisions that have been made such as the incinerator plans. We want to limit traffic going through the ward."
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