Cosham in the sights of main three parties

A bus on the BRT route

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ALL three of Portsmouth’s main parties are hoping the hotly-contested Cosham ward could become theirs on May 3.

It has been described as a rare three-way marginal after the Tory incumbent, Cllr Terry Henderson, was deselected by his party last year.

At the top of the agenda for many are speeding, parking and hopes of regenerating Cosham High Street, which all candidates have described as neglected.

Hoping to reclaim the seat for Labour is former councillor Graham Heaney.

He believes there is a growing disillusionment with the government after the recent budget.

He said: ‘There is real concern on the doorsteps that with the tax cut for top earners and all these extra granny and pasty taxes the Tories aren’t acting coherently.

‘I’ve represented Cosham in the past and think I did a pretty good job in my nine years on the council. At the moment I am trying to set up a community speed watch to help residents tackle speeding.’

Cllr Jim Fleming has moved from standing in Baffins ward to Cosham. He is confident the Tories can hold onto the seat.

He said: ‘People will look at my record while I have been on the council and what I have done for the area, including work around the Wymering Arms and Railway pub.

‘Cosham has been neglected for a long time by the council.

‘Penny Mordaunt and the Conservatives have been fighting to have the section 106 money (developer contributions) that should have gone to the area returned, rather than being spent in the south of the city.’

But Lib Dem candidate Aiden Gray has set his sights on breaking the pattern of Tory and Labour wins in the ward.

He said: ‘Voters want someone who lives in the area and knows the issues affecting them.

‘The high street has gone through a lot of neglect.

‘Bringing the library in the high street will be a good thing, and parking in the area could be looked at as well.’