Bristol goes to the polls

BRISTOL will see a change in the way it’s governed this month following the local elections on May 2.

The mayoral system that’s been in place for 12 years is being scrapped and the city council is returning to a committee system. 

All 70 council seats are up for grabs and a political party will need to win at least 36 of them to take power. If there is no outright majority, a coalition administration might be formed.

Labour has been running Bristol since 2016, although since 2021 it has not had an overall majority. The outgoing administration comprised 24 Greens, 23 Labour, 14 Conservatives, five Liberal Democrats, two Knowle West Community Party, and two independents.

The Westbury & Henleaze ward will elect three councillors. Each of the four main parties is fielding three candidates. The three Conservatives who won the seats in 2021 are standing again. 

The Voice invited all those contesting the seats to contribute profiles.

 Electors will also be casting their votes for the next Avon & Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner. The post has been held for the past three years by the Conservative Mark Shelford, who faces challenges from the other three parties.

Remember that you will need to take photo ID with you to the polling station on election day.


Geoff Gollop
I was born in Bristol and never moved away! Living in Henleaze for the last 33 years and now working from home. Married with 2 adult children, I am a Chartered Accountant advising individuals and small businesses.

I have been a City Councillor since 2001, Lord Mayor, deputy to the first elected Mayor and chaired Finance Committees in Bristol and the Combined Authority using financial skills to hold decision makers to account.

I have been active in many local campaigns: to save libraries, stop inappropriate planning developments and road schemes, currently campaigning against charging for the car park in Westbury.

Sharon Scott
I’ve lived in Westbury-on-Trym since 2011 with my husband and children. I work for a primary school in the ward and have worked in education for 10 years. Previously I worked in the finance sector for 20 years. Elected as a Councillor in 2021, I have sat on the Schools Advisory Council for Religious Education and People Scrutiny Committee.  I’ve campaigned on road improvements such as the Henleaze/Southmead roundabout and to stop Westbury car parking charges. I’m standing for re-election because I care about my community. I am passionate about education including SEND as well as protecting our parks and green spaces.

Steve Smith
I’ve been a Councillor for Westbury and Henleaze since 2018.  I live in Westbury (near Canford Park) with my wife and two children, both at Bristol Free School.   I work at home in Westbury and volunteer locally with Scouts.   I’ve held several Council roles including planning committee, scrutiny committees, the Downs Committee and the Fire Authority, as well as being Lord Mayor in 2021-22.  I’ve campaigned for road improvements (including crossings on Canford Lane and Passage Rd), to remove parking charges in Westbury Village and to protect the Downs.  I’ve also helped hundreds of residents with individual issues every day. 

Ellie Milone
I have lived in Bristol for thirteen years since coming to the city to study. I currently work at JBP, a communications agency. Prior to this, I worked at local youth charity Empire Fighting Chance and in the Mayor’s Office at Bristol City Council. With a passion for social justice and reducing inequality, I am running to be a councillor to advocate for policies that make Bristol a better place for everyone. My priorities for Westbury-on-Trym and Henleaze include affordable homes, youth services, public transport, net-zero initiatives and access to local health and social care.

Tom Phipps
I’ve lived in Bristol for the last 6 years and joined the Labour Party following the Lib Dems’ betrayal over tuition fees. Westbury-on-Trym and Henleaze is a great place to live but, after 14 years of the Conservatives, people are crying out for change. Labour has a plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, provide more NHS dentist and GP appointments and improve Bristol’s public transport system. We need a Labour Government working with a Labour Council to deliver the change our city needs. I will be a hard-working local councillor that puts your interests first.

Miranda McCabe
I’m standing as a candidate in Westbury-on-Trym and Henleaze because I taught there for 26 years, and my mother lives there. I think it is important for Labour voters to have a credible candidate in Tory-held wards. 

Labour has been campaigning for an orbital bus route for the area, so I’m pleased to see the 77 service now launched between Henleaze and Gloucester Road. 

Labour supporters have got used to voting Lib Dem in the ward as a tactical vote to get rid of the Tories, but it is vital that they now actually vote Labour in the election.

Nicholas Coombes
Liberal Democrat
Nicholas is a chartered town planner, specialising in energy and transport infrastructure. He is currently working to consent an offshore windfarm. He has served two terms as a city councillor.

Nicholas wants to use his experience to improve Bristol’s environmental performance; accelerating the transition to renewable energy. He wants to green our neighbourhood by planting more trees and restoring habitats – including cleaning up the River Trym. On transport, the Lib Dems plan to improve busses through franchising, letting the council take control of services. He will campaign to fix potholes and create safer walking and cycling routes.

Caroline Gooch
Liberal Democrat
Caroline lives in Westbury Park and has a PhD in neuroscience and 20 years’ industry experience. Caroline was our last Mayoral candidate and was just 224 votes short of winning a council seat in Westbury and Henleaze in 2021.

Caroline supported the campaign to register the St Christopher’s site as an asset of community value. The Liberal Democrats want to end the Special Educations Needs crisis by providing more special school places in Bristol. Caroline also wants to ease pressure on the NHS, by better coordinating GPs, social care, public health and NHS services, to deliver better outcomes for patients.

Stephen Williams
Liberal Democrat
Stephen is Bristol’s most experienced politician, serving three terms on the council and ten years as MP for Bristol West.

Stephen has experience of the council committee system which will replace the role of Mayor in May. He would be well placed to stand up for Westbury and Henleaze, as well as navigating the council to a more collaborative governance that gets the basics right, instead of wasting taxes on vanity projects. Stephen has a record of campaigning against library cuts, and wants to build stronger communities with  parks and housing.

Daniella Radice
Green Party
Daniella is an experienced councillor as she was a Councillor from 2013 to 2016 in Bishopton. During that time, she was Leader of the Green Group and then Assistant Mayor in the Independent Mayor George Ferguson’s cabinet where she enjoyed working in a cross-party environment and collaborating with those from different political parties. She has many years experience working in the public, private and voluntary sectors and has several years board experience too.  She implemented a new resource management policy for the city when in power and is keen to promote the circular and green economies of Bristol.

Nathaniel Joyce
Green Party
No information supplied.

Murali Thoppil
Green Party
No information supplied.