WITH the local election on Thursday, the Solihull News looks at what the big issues are likely to be over the next 12 months.
THE three main parties have different ideas on how Solihull Council should be run and, indeed, how it shouldn’t be.
On several occasions, the Lib-Lab group have accused the Tories of not listening enough during their time in power.
While the Conservatives, who have spent a year in opposition, believe the two-party arrangement is unstable and prone to division.
But actually over the past month or so of campaigning, the party leaders have identified very similar priorities.
Whichever administration takes charge this month, here’s three of the most controversial issues they’ve got to contend with.
Cost-cutting: Next March, the council will have to find something in the region of another £12m savings.
This won’t be easy for an authority which announced £15m savings this year and has to make sure they’re delivered.
Both the Lib-Lab group and Conservatives have said they will aiming for another council tax freeze for 2012/13.
But questions will also linger about whether the council can continue to stave-off compulsory redundancies.
Green space development: Every party has admitted there’s an urgent need for new homes in the borough.
But they know they’ll have to balance this demand against the desire by many communities to protect their green belt.
No final decisions have been made over which land will be developed, but even the potential sites have caused a storm of controversy.
Villages like Knowle, Marston Green and Balsall Common have already voiced concern about their open spaces being swallowed-up.
Regeneration: There was cross-party backing to borrow £30m to kick-start the North Solihull Regeneration.
The flagship scheme stumbled during the recession and it plans have had to be revised in light of financial difficulties.
There is also the question of what should be done in Shirley town centre and Dorridge’s Forest Court shopping precinct.
Many councillors agree that those community hubs need regeneration, but how this should be delivered has caused fierce debate among local residents.
*Full results for the local elections will be available at www.solihullnews.net this Friday afternoon.