There will be a number of battlegrounds in the Wokingham Borough Council elections this year as the Liberal Democrats clash with the Conservatives.

Last year, the Liberal Democrats took control of the borough council thanks to a working relationship with other parties after 20 years of Conservative rule.

For their part, the Conservatives are hoping to win back control of the council, pledging to reinstate weekly general waste and recycling collections, and reverse pay increases in council owned car parks, among other policies.

There are set to be clashes in Wokingham itself, as two sitting councillors have retired.

The contest in Norreys ward is likely to be a straight fight between the Conservatives and Labour as Conservative cllr Gregor Murray has stood down.

READ MORE: The five Wokingham Borough councillors standing down ahead of the 2023 elections

The Conservatives are hoping that their candidate Mike Townend can hold the seat, but is likely to undergo a strong challenge from Labour candidate Marie Louise-Weighill.

Labour has won twice in the ward with councillor Rachel Burgess, and is hoping to repeat that success. Meanwhile, the ruling Liberal Democrats are standing Matteo Fumagalli.

In the Wescott ward, sitting Liberal Democrat councillor Maria Gee is standing down, with the party hoping to cling onto the seat with their candidate Jane Louise Ainslee, who won the Wescott East Wokingham Town Council by election in 2021, which handed the Lib Dems control of that council.

Notably, she beat Mr Townend in that previous election.

David George Lee is the Conservative hopeful for Wescott, with the other candidates being Alexander James Freeney for the Labour Party and Dave Chapman for the Greens.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives will be eager to hold onto seats in Woodley.

The Conservatives have three incumbent councillors who are hoping to be returned to the council chambers by Woodley voters this May.

They are Abdul Loyes a councillor for Loddon, Laura Blumenthal, a representative for South Lake and Alison Swaddle a councillor for Coronation ward.

In Loddon, cllr Loyes will be challenged by Alexander Guy Heap a Liberal Democrat town councillor for Loddon Airfield ward, and Majid Nagra, a Labour town councillor for Loddon South ward.  

In South Lake, cllr Blumenthal is facing down Carol Jewell a Liberal Democrat town councillor for South Lake South ward, and Labour candidate Ann Dally. 

And in Coronation, cllr Swaddle is being challenged by Patrick 'Paddy' Power from the Liberal Democrats, Labour candidate Ian Hills and Emma Louise-Hamilton from the Green Party.

The result of the contest in Bulmershe & Whitegates ward which straddles Earley and Woodley will be one to watch as well.

Voters there are guaranteed a new representative as cllr Shirley Boyt is no longer standing.

Although cllr Boyt was elected as a Labour representative, she has since resigned from the party.

It’s set to be a clash between Tony Skuse, the Labour candidate, and Sagar Patel, the Conservative candidate.

In 2021, Conservative Shahid Younis narrowly beat then Labour cllr Andy Croy, who was able to regain his place as a Bulmershe & Whitegates representative in the 2022 elections.

READ MORE: Wokingham 2022 local election results in full 

Finally, the Liberal Democrats are hoping to take a seat from the Conservatives in Barkham.

Barkham is a single member ward which has been held by outgoing Conservative cllr John Kaiser since 2011.

Ian Pittock, who dramatically defected from the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats in 2017 is hoping to take the seat for his new party.

He was previously a representative for Finchampstead South but resigned in 2020.

George Daniel Evans is the Conservative candidate for Barkham, which is also being contested by Dr Annette Medhurst from the Labour party, independent candidate Roderick Paul Stevens and Asad Feroz from the Green Party.

The council election will take place on Thursday, May 4.