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Parties aim for council seat held by former Lord Mayor
Sushila Dhall is 51 and is standing for the Green Party. She works as a psychotherapist at refugee Resource and lives in Rewley Park. Her Previous elections are: Jericho and Osney, county council elections, may 2013 (defeated by labour's Susanna Pressel)
BATTLE lines are being drawn ahead of a by-election in a key swing seat on Oxford City Council.
Labour, the Greens, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives have all unveiled candidates for the North ward by-election taking place on September 19.
The seat was vacated by the disgraced former Lib Dem Lord Mayor Alan Armitage who was censured by colleagues for making “inappropriate”
comments to a teenage girl.
The Lib Dems have picked former BBC journalist Tim Bearder to defend the seat for them but Labour, which holds the other North ward seatm may well increase its already strong majority at the Town Hall with a win for Oxford University scientist Dr Louise Upton.
Mr Bearder, 36, said: “What we’re really concerned about is that fact Labour has centralised the planning process to two committees for the whole of Oxford.
“We’re not saying that having area committees would have been a magic bullet which would have stopped the flats at Roger Dudman Way, but it would make things much better.”
He said he didn’t think voters would reject the Lib Dems due to Mr Armitage’s history.
He said: “I don’t think it’s an election at all. I think most people see him as a councillor who worked very hard.”
The Tories will field chartered accountant John Walsh as a candidate, and the Greens have selected veteran campaigner and former councillor Sushila Dhall.
Mother-of-one Ms Dhall, 51, contested Jericho and Osney in May’s county elections and used to represent Central ward on the city council.
She said: “I served as a county councillor for nine years and as a city councillor for five, so I am well used to representing the needs of constituents.
“I am a campaigning Green, and would aim to see the Roger Dudman Way development lowered by two storeys or have planning permission discontinued.
“I also used to represent West Central Oxford on the county council, which contains the North city ward, so they have been known to vote Green in that area.”
Dr Upton will be hoping to repeat her party’s success in the 2012 council elections, where Labour’s James Fry took the seat with a considerable swing.
She said: “I want to join the City Council so that I can be a strong voice for North Ward.”
The Conservative Mr Walsh, 58, said: “I haven’t heard about any specific issues in the ward. There’s a fair amount of to-ing and fro-ing on bits of architecture, particularly involving the university, but I don’t take a particular view on those.”
Although the United Kingdom Independence Party has said it will be fielding a candidate, it had not announced who it was going to be at the time that the Oxford Mail went to press.
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