Development, and growth is a key issue in Shaw - and often it is development and growth in another council’s area.

The ward is on the extreme west of the borough, forming the border with Wiltshire.and land close by in the neighbouring council area is popular with developers.

It is a common tactic to want to build new housing developments on the edges of towns, but on sites that are governed by different councils.

Infrastructure, such as roads, is already present and the big town will be the commuting and shopping destination for many of the people who wish to live there.

Developers believe that some councils are happy enough to approve new estates on their borders if the impacts in terms of traffic and demands on schools and doctors will mostly be felt by the neighbouring authority.

There have been several attempts to develop rural land on the edges of Shaw ward and some of them have been rebuffed by Wiltshire Council.

Mead Way, one of Swindon’s arterial routes runs through the middle of the ward and residents will have experienced continuing frustration at the over-running of major roadworks at the southern end of the road - and the knock-on disruption further along the road.

The ward was created in 2012 when the entire borough had a significant shake up. Previously called Shaw and Nine Elms it was expanded to pick up the northern section of Freshbrook and Grange Park.

Since the turn of the century the ward has been solidly Conservative. It returned three Tory councillors in 2012.

The winning candidate was Keith Williams, who is hoping to retain the seat this year. He took just under 50 per cent of the vote in 2012, the highest vote of all the candidates, and increased that to more than half in 2016.

He will be looking to maintain that dominance, or even increase it this year. The Conservative vote share in the last two elections in 2018 and 2019 was in the mid-forties. Still a comfortable winning margin but not quite the walkovers that both main parties enjoy in some wards.

Environmental issues would have played a bigger role in the campaign here than in many wards .

The Green Party candidate Ken Kimber is standing here for the fourth time, and Coun Williams is the council’s cabinet member for climate change, with responsibility for cutting the council and borough’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2030 and 2050, respectively.

Again, after the very strange 15 months we’ve all experienced, it’s hard to predict what the pandemic, official responses and the presence of an anti-restriction independent candidate might have on the result.

But it would be a significant blow to the Conservatives if they were not to hold on to Shaw.