Thanks to everyone who voted in my latest mini-poll "What issues should dominate Darlington's local elections next May?" The top three were;
Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour 25%
Open Government 11%
...with the likes of jobs and prosperity, protecting the environment and the town centre each attracting between 6% to 8%.
I agree that crime and ASB, and which party is best equipped to deal with it, will play a key role in May's poll. Two other points; firstly the relatively low position accorded to the town centre. The Tories will continue to try to talk down the town centre to garner a few cheap votes between now and May (they did it in 1995 too) but the positive comments the Pedestrian Heart scheme is already receiving as areas are unveiled will see them off. They will risk looking sour and negative.
Secondly, no votes at all for roads and pavements. This has been a hot issue before, but the £23.5 million spent on on highways maintenance by Labour since 1997 (including the Let's Get Cracking initiative) has now transformed what was a poor situation. There's still work to do, but with the enormous progress, the issue has dropped down the list of residents' concerns.