Swindon Village itself is an area separate from Cheltenham proper, made up mostly of fairly pleasant detached houses and bungalows. However, there are more people in the Wyman’s Brook area, which mostly contains 1970s semis and terraces, plus some social housing. In the south east there are a few small roads of older terraces and council houses which would be more at home in St Paul’s.
The ward was previously split three ways, with the biggest portions being in St Peter’s and Swindon. St Peter’s was a swing ward before settling down to voting Lib Dem in the late 90s. Swindon only voted as a part of Cheltenham three times, voting Independent then Lib Dem then PAB. The current ward has always been Lib Dem except for voting PAB in 2006. The Tories have never got particularly close.
Although it sees itself as a separate village, Prestbury is pretty well connected into Cheltenham at this point. There is some older housing in the village centre, but almost all of the residential areas in the ward are made up of modern estates of semis and detached houses. The ward also contains half of the Pittville student village and Cheltenham racecourse.
Both the old and new Prestbury wards have only ever voted PAB. The Tories have got semi-close before (and I would guess they carry it in GEs) but never threatened.
A pleasant ward centred around Pittville park, the areas to the north and east are mostly inter and post-war suburbia, while also included is the other part of the student village. The areas to the south of the park is made up of some Georgian terraces and older, grander houses, a fair few of which have now been turned into flats. The relatively small area in the far south of the ward, close to the town centre, is mostly Victorian terraces.
This was formerly split pretty evenly between Pittville and St Paul’s wards. From the early 80s St Paul’s was reliably Lib Dem, only voting Conservative in the landslide of 1987, though they got within 10 votes in 1999. Pittville was reliably Labour from the same time (though that will have been due to the areas no-longer within Pittville), but voted Lib Dem and PAB in the 90s. The current ward has always elected PAB councillors (specifically Dianne Hibbert and David Prince) except for 2008 when a new candidate lost to the Tories. Hibbert managed to pass on her seat in 2014, but Prince (who regained the lost seat in 2012) could not, and the ward fell to the Lib Dems. Last year the sitting councillor came in third as the Lib Dems defeated the Conservatives by just 4 votes.
The ward is dominated by the large interwar council estates of Lynworth and Whaddon, making it one of the less salubrious areas of the town. Oakley itself is more mixed and suburban, but is very much the minority of the ward, and is still not particularly thrilling. The southwest, closer to the town centre, contains some Victorian terraces and newer, posher developments, but is definitely the ward’s smallest area.
Oakley was almost entirely in the old Pittville, and provided the base for Labour dominance there. The ward only voted Conservative in their 1987 landslide, though it fell to the Lib Dems and a PAB a few times in the 90s. The current ward elected Labour councillors in 2002 and 2004, but has been Lib Dem since. After losing their first seat in 2006 Labour have only even been second in 2012 and 2018.
Another of the more deprived areas of the town, almost all of the ward’s housing is pretty grotty pre-war terraces. There are a couple of newer developments and nicer terraces in the north east of the ward, but this is a relatively small area. Also included is the Francis Close Hall university campus.
This ward was mostly contained in the old St Paul’s which was bigger and more Tory friendly. Even so, since 1983 the Conservatives only won once, in 1987, though they did get within 10 votes in 1999. The current ward has always been Lib Dem. In recent years an Independent, Daud McDonald, has done well, and the ward also provided Labour’s best performance, and one of only two second places, in 2018.
Quite a middle class ward, taking in the north east of the town centre. There is a real mix of housing in the ward, but most of it is fairly smart terraces towards the centre of town. The north east of the ward has more suburban housing and blocks of flats, plus a few more terraces. The whole ward is fairly middle class.
All bar the small town centre area was included in the old All Saints, which first elected Lib Dems back in 1979. The Tories then won it back only in ‘83 (when it was split), ‘87 and ‘92 plus in their advance across the town in the late 90s. The current ward has always been Lib Dem but has sometimes been close, particularly in 2012.
A bit of a leftovers ward, but one of the wealthiest in the town. The north contains a very modern estate which is basically part of Oakley, and there is a fair bit of detached housing in posh cul-de-sacs and a few streets of Victorian terraces off Hales Road, which probably should be in All Saints. Then, within the Charlton Kings parish there is the large Battledown estate, the last private estate in Cheltenham, and a number of suburban roads which would fit better in Charlton Kings itself. The ward also contains a large rural area in the east.
Battledown was previously split three ways, but with the largest part in Charlton Kings. That ward alternated between the Conservatives and Residents in its early years, but elected Lib Dems in ‘85 and throughout the most of the 90s. The current ward is one of two to have always voted Conservative, though it has sometimes been close, and was only won by 10 votes back in 2002.
Once a village of its own, Charlton Kings has now grown into Cheltenham, though it does retain a parish, which includes all of this ward. It’s middle class and suburban and contains a mix of housing, mostly 20th century semis and detached houses, but with a few older terraces. In the south east of the ward there are also a few small private roads.
This ward made up the major part of the old Charlton Kings, and was fully included. That ward alternated between the Conservatives and Residents in its early years, but elected Lib Dems in ‘85 and throughout the most of the 90s. The current ward originally voted Tory, but has been Lib Dem since 2010.
Another ward which feels a bit thrown together, but not as bad as Battledown, it is for the most part the western portion of Charlton Kings parish, though also included is a small area towards the town centre. Both the unparished area and the parished north of the ward are fairly pleasant interwar suburbia, and are quite detached from the more Charlton Kings ‘feeling’ area in the south east, though they are socio-economically similar. Likewise, the area in the south west feels more like Pilley (which is mostly in Leckhampton) than Charlton Kings, though again is mostly nondescript suburbia. The ward also has a few private roads.
This ward was almost all contained in the old College, which was the original area of Lib Dem strength in the town. It was always Lib Dem except a period in the mid ‘80s and 1992, before falling again to the Tories in their advance in the late ‘90s. Since its creation the current ward was always Conservative until the Lib Dems won it in the delay 2014 election. It has stayed Lib Dem since, but has been close.
This is the sort of area most people think of when they think of Cheltenham; the ward includes Cheltenham College and the Lido, plus the hospital and fire station. College takes in the south of the town centre, including half of Montpellier, where most of the housing is large and Georgian, though there are also some smaller terraces. The south of the ward feels a bit separate, and is almost all middle class Victorian terraced housing.
This ward was almost all contained in the old College, which was the original area of Lib Dem strength in the town. It was always Lib Dem except a period in the mid ‘80s and 1992, before falling again to the Tories in their advance in the late ‘90s. The current ward has always voted Lib Dem, and has become very safe in recent years.
Following a recent vote, the whole ward is now part of the Leckhampton with Warden Hill parish, but traditionally only a small part has been. The majority of the historically unparished area is made up of twentieth century semis and detached houses, except for an area in the northwest which contains older, smaller semis and terraces, more like the housing in College. Leckhampton village (part of the original parish) in the south is slightly less posh than most of the ward, but still pretty middle class, and with a mix of older and newer housing. On the other side of the Kidnappers Lane fields is a modern development which should probably be in Warden Hill.
The ward is really a new creation, being split quite evenly between College, Park and Leckhampton with Up Hatherley. The first was mostly Lib Dem, the others mostly Tory. Since 2002 Leckhampton has almost always been Conservative, only voting Lib Dem twice. The first was in 2010, the second in 2018, when Martin Horwood topped the poll by just 13 votes.
Takes in the south west of the town centre, including the Promenade and the other half of Montpellier, plus the town hall, registry office and the Ladies College. Towards the town centre there’s a real mix of housing, smaller Victorian and large Georgian terraces, blocks of flats and luxury apartments and some big villas. Moving into Lansdown proper there is a mix of Georgian terraces, blocks of flats and large 19th century detached and semi-detached houses nearer the station.
Historically a Conservative fortress, the (similar) old ward only voted Lib Dem in ‘94, ‘95 and ‘96, and Tory majorities were often large. The current ward has been close a couple of times, but it’s one of two the Conservatives have never lost. Demographically, though, it’s actually quite reasonable for the Lib Dems at this point, and the Conservative majorities are more down to a lack of Lib Dem campaigning.
Named for The Park, a road of large villas looping around one of the university campuses. To the north of The Park is Tivoli, a middle class area of Victorian terraces, while off to the south is a large development of more modern detached houses. The west of the ward is really the beginnings of Hatherley, and is mostly 1930s suburbia.
The old Park ward contained the vast majority of the current ward, plus a decent chunk of Leckhampton. Like Lansdown it also tended to be a Tory fortress - the Lib Dems won one of the three seats in 1979 but since then only won in ‘89, ‘93, ‘94 and ‘95, with Conservative majorities being high. In its current form it has tended to be the safest Tory ward in the town, but was taken by Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Max Wilkinson in a surprise in 2014. The Conservatives narrowly held in 2016, but the Lib Dems kept hold of their seat in 2018.
Warden Hill itself, in the southwest of the ward (the parished area, plus a small area of Up Hatherley parish) is basically made up of post-war estates. The Woodlands and Warden Hill estates are 1950s/60s suburbia, while the developments to the south are more modern. The unparished area is really a part of Hatherley, though is still made up of post war developments. Also included is half of a relatively small council estate, which is split between the parished and unparished areas of this ward.
Most of Warden Hill was previously in Leckhampton with Up Hatherley, but is really a more recent creation. The old ward elected two Lib Dems and an Independent in its first election in 1991, before electing a Tory the next year. The Lib Dems then won in four of the five Major years, before the Conservatives took all the seats in the late 90s. The new ward split between the two parties in 2002, but voted Tory in almost every election since. The Lib Dems won a seat in 2010 but lost it soon after in a by-election. The Tories held on in 2012 and 2014, but lost both seats in the last two elections.
This ward (plus a small area of Warden Hill) is its own parish, but traditionally the north of the ward was not included. This is Hatherley, which is a mix of post-war semis and bungalows. This area also contains the other half of the council estate mentioned in the Warden Hill summary. Up Hatherley itself (the traditionally parished area) is pretty similar to to Hatherley - middle class, late 20th venture suburbia - though it does contain a few slightly newer developments.
This ward was previously split pretty evenly between Leckhampton with Up Hatherley and Hatherley and the Reddings. The former elected two Lib Dems and an Independent in its first election in 1991, before electing a Tory the next year. The Lib Dems then won in four of the five Major years, before the Conservatives took all the seats in the late 90s. Hatherley was gained by the Lib Dems in 1979, and was only lost since in Tory wave years - ‘87, ‘92, ‘99 and 2000. The Lib Dems originally won the new ward, but lost both seats in ‘04 and ‘06. Since then, the Liberal Democrats have won every election, often by large margins - though in 2010 they gained the seat by just 1 vote.
Benhall & the Reddings
Benhall is mostly pretty similar to the wards immediately to its south - 1950s/60s developments of semis and detached houses. There is a small area of older terraces in the east. The Reddings was only added to Cheltenham in 1991, though is generally a bit older. It’s mostly pre and inter-war semis and is more down at heel than Benhall. It also includes a couple of modern, more upmarket estates.
The ward was formerly fully in Hatherley, and then Hatherley and the Reddings. The ward was gained by the Lib Dems in 1979, and was only lost since in Tory wave years - ‘87, ‘92, ‘99 and 2000. The current ward elected two Lib Dems in 2002, but lost a seat to the Conservatives in 2004. The two sitting councillors, Nigel Britter and Jaqueline Fletcher, then held their seats, meaning the ward alternated which party won each election. Fletcher (the Conservative) was finally defeated in 2014, and the Lib Dems have held both seats since.
The ward containing the GCHQ ‘doughnut’, virtually all the housing has been built since the 1950s. The south of the ward, around GCHQ is the top end of Benhall and Fiddler’s Green and consists of pleasant estates of fairly modern housing. Hester’s Way itself, however, is a large post-war council estate, and is one of the most deprived areas of the town.
A large majority of the ward was in the old Hester’s Way, which also included Springbank. Labour won the ward in 1973, but lost all the seats to Residents in ‘76. In ‘83 it split between the Residents, Labour and the Conservatives, who held their seat in ‘84. The Lib Dems gained in 1985 and won every year since, often by very large margins. The new ward has also always been Lib Dem, though not always by such large margins.
Another post-war creation, Springbank contains a mix of council and private estates. Council built areas predominate, and even the private estates are not particularly thrilling. To the north east is the top end of Hester’s Way and Arle, which is split with St Peter’s, and is another area of 1950/60s council housing.
The whole ward was in the old Hester’s Way, which also included most of The new Hester’s Way. Labour won the old ward in 1973, but lost all the seats to Residents in ‘76. In ‘83 it split between the Residents, Labour and the Conservatives, who held their seat in ‘84. The Lib Dems gained in 1985 and won every year since, often by very large margins. The new ward has also always been Lib Dem, again often by large margins.
The two main communities in the ward are St Mark’s, an interwar council estate, and Rowanfield, a 1950s council estate. The east contains some Victorian terraces and pleasant detached houses near the station. Also included is a small corner of the Hester’s Way estate.
The St Mark’s ward was very similar to this one, and elected two Labour and one Lib Dem councillor on its creation in 1973. The Tories gained one Labour seat in ‘76, and the Lib Dems the other in ‘79. At all elections since it voted Lib Dem, often by very large margins. The new ward has always been Lib Dem, again often by large margins.
The majority of this ward is made up of small Victorian houses, mostly terraces. To the west is the larger part of the Arle council estate, which is separated from the rest of the ward by the Cheltenham trade park. There are also a number of modern developments dotted around.
Most of the new St Peter’s was also in the old ward, which also included parts of St Paul’s and a fairly large area of Swindon Village. That ward split between Labour and the Tories in 1973 and ‘76, before settling into being quite a swing ward between the Lib Dems and Conservatives. The last time the Tories won was 1992. The current ward has always been Lib Dem held, but sometimes by small margins - 36 votes in 2002 and 13 in 2006. Since 2016 it has been targeted by the Greens, who have managed around 20% of the vote, and brought the ward back towards being competitive (between Lib Dem and Conservative).
Inspirational summary there Iain , but as has been noted elsewhere Brexit has turned these political allegiances on their head . Hester's Way and Springbank were apparently blowouts for CON back in December , incredible to think really.