PROTECTING the Green Belt and utilising empty shops to boost town centres are among the issues Wyre Forest Liberal Democrats will be fighting for as the district goes to the polls.

The party will be contesting 10 of the 11 seats up for grabs on Wyre Forest District Council when the ballot is held on Thursday, May 3.

And the Liberal Democrats have unveiled their manifesto, setting out their plan to increase their current representation of two – Councillors Fran Oborski and Shazu Miah - on the authority.

A big focus for their campaign will be protecting the Green Belt in the district and concentrating housing developments on brownfield sites.

This includes concentrating developments for the east of Kidderminster to the Lea Castle site which they believe is large enough for a primary school, village centre, land for business and a viable bus service alongside road junction improvements.

They also want to ensure all vacant council owned land is released for development, use local authority powers to bring empty private homes back into use and develop more houses for social rental.

Other key issues in their manifesto include freezing car park charges for one year and then reintroducing a policy of reviewing parking prices every two years.

They also want to develop a ‘shop front improvement scheme’ to encourage owners to improve rundown properties, encourage ‘pop-up’ businesses to utilise empty town centre shops and consider reintroducing a committee system of council governance.

And they will also look to encourage the establishment of ‘friends groups’ for all of the parks across the whole district.