The five wards that make up Washington are the scene of some of the most fierce campaigning by candidates. Local Government Reporter ROSS ROBERTSON looks at the battle to win seats in the new town.
It's a land where black and white stripes aren't uncommon and some folk don't like to be reminded they live inside Sunderland's city boundaries.
The sprawling new town of Washington is made up of a myriad of villages, districts and estates and divided into five council wards.
Recent gains by the Tories, who now hold three seats in Washington, have made the area a prime battle ground for votes and Labour, Tories, Lib Dems and the BNP have all got a candidate in all of the wards.
Crime, noise and nuisance are on the minds of some folk in all the wards, and transport is another hot topic.
Unlike the Victorian streets of other parts of Sunderland, Washington was built with car ownership in mind and many feel transport is now too centred around private vehicles rather than public services.
There have been calls for the Metro to be run through to Washington, but transport bosses have warned this would cost tens of millions of funding which might not be possible to attain.
There is also hope for the mothballed Leamside Line, which links Teesside to Newcastle running straight through Washington.
A study commissioned by transport authority Nexus showed trains could run between Middlesbrough to Newcastle in less than an hour, providing Washington with a modern rail service for the first time.
It is hoped it would provide an alternative to the congested A1 and A19 in allowing freight and workers to travel by rail.
Last year's result
Liberal Democrats, 556
Clive John Thompson,
British National Party, 329
Turn out: 35.7 per cent
Liberal Democrats, 441
Ian Malcolm Cuthbert,
British National Party, 195
Bryan John Williams,
Turn out: 35.9 per cent
Liberal Democrats, 441
British National Party, 254
Kathleen Anne Irvine,
Turn out: 31.3 per cent
Louise Anthea Florence Farthing,
Liberal Democrats, 444
British National Party, 222
Turn out: 34.8 per cent
Liberal Democrats, 530
British National Party, 239
Turn out: 33.1 per cent
Hilary Johnson, Conservative
I AM a chartered accountant living in Washington and have lived in the area all of my life, with the exception of my time at university.
After qualification I worked throughout the North East for a major accountancy firm before moving into industry, and have been working within the manufacturing sector for more than 15 years.
I care passionately about our region and its continuing economic growth.
In order to benefit all our residents we need more job creation and re-training to help ensure the continued investment and industrial development of our area, whilst maintaining our green spaces for families to enjoy.
Dianne Snowdon, Labour
I WAS born in Brady Square and educated at Biddick Infants, JFK and Washington Comprehensive Schools.
I've chosen to stay in Washington and bring my family up here.
I'm proud of my mining roots and I'm actively involved with many local organisations and have a keen interest in education, housing, regeneration and environmental issues.
As a wife, mother and grandmother, I believe in strong communities.
As someone who lived through the building and development of Washington New Town I want Washington to grow in strength and will work hard for local individuals and organisations in order to this achieve goal.
John Mclelland, Lib Dem
I HAVE lived in the ward for more than 25 years and for 20 years was a special needs teacher.
I have seen this ward decline over the years with Washington treated as a poor relation.
Labour councillors only appear at election time and are remarkably silent in between.
I want to represent you on issues that matter, to campaign against apathy and inaction from the council and most importantly keep you regularly informed.
I want to help improve the quality of life, to ensure local issues are discused, that Washington has a voice.
Make your vote count. Vote Liberal Democrat.
Clive Thompson, BNP
I'M a local lad living within the ward I wish to represent.
I feel the locals have been let down long enough by lazy councillors.
The same problems exist like antisocial behaviour and underage drinking.
I hope the residents of Washington Cental will vote for change and vote against the parties that have let them down long enough.
Please vote on May 1 and make the change this area needs. Vote BNP.
Kathleen Irvine, Conservative
I HAVE been an active local Conservative since moving from Sunderland to Washington 22 years ago.
I live in the ward and have seen changes as the town has grown, but there is still a lot to be done.
Labour is failing to develop Washington's full potential. Marginal land is neglected and rundown areas should not be a feature of our town.
As a school governor I am interested in the education of young people and the provision of amenities locally for all ages to enjoy.
These would be my aims, together with giving council tax payers real value for money.
John Kelly, Labour
I AM proud to have been chosen as a candidate to represent the Labour Party and thank Councillor James Walker for 44 years of outstanding service to the people of Washington.
Having been a resident in Concord for most of my life, I understand the issues which concern local people, including myself, such as fly-tipping, antisocial behaviour and the need for affordable social housing.
I am 45 years old, married with three grown-up children and am a self-employed taxi driver.
I am a member of the GMB trade union and have represented members for more than 10 years. I pledge, if elected, to listen to all groups, young and old within the community.
Steve Thomas, Lib Dem
A PROSPEROUS city, cleaner, greener and safer and we listen to the people. Labours words, honestly!
We have suffered Labours empty promises for too long.
Labour have ignored Washington North for too long, its easier to get to Gateshead than it is to our city centre.
We need the Metro extension extended to Washington so we can become part of Sunderland and the surrounding region, not classed as some suburb.
We need real investment, more facilities for both young and old, improved street cleaning, recycling and a more visible police presence for our community.
Lynne Baillie, BNP
I AM very pleased to be representing the local people of Washington North Ward.
For too long the locals have been let down by lazy councillors.
Antisocial behaviour is still a problem within the ward especially on Concord main street, with youths hanging around causing a nuisance and trouble from drinkers in the local pubs after drinking time.
It is now time to solve these problems and to do this, please vote for me and the British National Party.
Eddie Wake, Conservative
I AM 54 years old, have lived in Washington for many years and live with my wife Joyce in Mount Pleasant, Washington.
I work for a Washington-based industrial plant hire company.
I feel strongly about education, crime, antisocial behaviour, council tax levels and our green spaces. And we must not allow Washington to become the dumping ground for Sunderland and Tyneside's waste.
I don't believe Washington gets its fair share from Sunderland City Council, but this is starting to change since Washington elected its first three Conservative Councillors last year.
Linda Williams, Labour
SINCE my election in 2004 I have had the pleasure and privilege of representing your views within the council and with other partners.
I am 49 years old, married with three grown-up children and have lived all my life in Washington.
I believe firmly in working within our community, have served for many years and as chairwoman of Governors of Lambton Primary and Oxclose Community schools.
I have enjoyed meeting many of you and working with you to look for solutions to problems and have voiced your concerns at many levels.
I would like to continue to make a difference with you.
David Griffin, Lib Dem
I HAVE lived in the area for the last 23 years and am married with three children.
I spent most of my career working for local authorities in the field of energy conservation.
Washington South deserves better than the present Labour regime. For too long now Labour has treated Washington as a distant second cousin.
It's time for a change. We need councillors who really want to represent Washington South, to speak out and fight for our community. We want councillors speaking out for better transport links and a cleaner, greener and safer community.
Mildred Smart, BNP
ELECTIONS are upon us once again and Labour Councillors will be talking about themselves and the hard work they have achieved in Sunderland.
Hard work, indeed, on ensuring rises in their personal allowances.
When was the last time a councillor knocked on your door?
We thank this Labour Council for massive rises in council tax, antisocial behaviour and street crime.
Asylum seekers continue to flood in getting everything handed to them on a plate. If this was not bad enough, now we have migrant workers flooding in taking our jobs.
It's time for change. Please vote British National Party.
Olwyn Bird, Conservative
I WAS born in Sunderland and have run businesses in both Sunderland and Hong Kong.
I was a school governor at a children's International School in Athens.
I am retired with a grown-up family, and would like to see the council do more for young people by improving Washington's recreational facilities.
If elected I would campaign for enhanced provision for both young and old throughout the city.
I feel that there are imbalances in provision and will strive to see that Washington gets it's fair share.
Vote Blue – keep Washington green.
Bernard Scaplehorn, Labour
IT'S an honour to stand in the elections. I have lived in this ward for more than 30 years.
My two children attended schools in Washington and both still live and work here.
Most of my working life has been spent within the transport industry, both in UK and overseas and my wife Elsie worked for local government most of her life.
As founder and chairman of Blackfell Neighbourhood Watch (1996) I have been involved in successfully reducing crime, the fear of crime, and bringing our community together.
If elected I would continue to work to ensure Washington West remains a safer and cleaner place for all to live, work or play in.
Irene Bannister, Lib Dem
A RETIRED mother, I have lived most of my life in Washington. I still keep active helping in the infants school.
I would like to see more facilities for children.
Washington is a lovely place to live, but the area deserves a lot better.
For years now the Labour council has ignored Washington West, we need councillors who only want the best for our community and are willing to fight to that end.
It is time Washington was connected to the Metro system, why should Washington be treated as second class?
Lynne Smart, BNP
IT is election time once more, and once more labour will be asking for your votes.
Because of Labour we see massive rises in taxes, more than 80 rises in total.
Rises in drug crime and antisocial behaviour and street crime.
Mass immigration and migrant workers from the third world taking British jobs.
On May 1 you have the chance to vote for change, please vote British National Party and send this council packing.
Ivan Richardson, Conservative
I HAVE lived in Barmston with my family for the last eight years.
I am 62 years old and work in adult social care, working in a care home in Washington.
I was a founding member of the Barmston Residents' Association, and recently stood down as chairman in order to focus my efforts on Washington East.
I care passionately about the area and believe that what we do now in our communities affects everyone's future, especially our children's.
Neville Padgett, Labour
IT would be a privilege to serve the people of Washington East.
I have lived in Barmston for more than 35 years and raised my family here.
I am proud of Washington and all that has been achieved in the last 10 years under a Labour Government and council.
I'm experienced, approachable and I work tirelessly for local people to make Washington an even better place to live and work.
I can assure you that if you vote for me on May 1, I will dedicate myself to the service of the community.
Malcolm Bannister, Lib Dem
WASHINGTON East needs change, change from years of waste and neglect from our Labour council who seem to treat Washington like a distant cousin.
We need better transport links with the rest of the region, especially getting the Metro extended to Washington.
We need real improvements to our environment. The subways are dark and dirty, graffiti and litter blight many areas.
We need councillors who wil to fight not to become party puppets.
Paul Masters, BNP
THIS is my first time standing in the local elections in Washington East Ward.
I'm sure the residents will use their vote wisely and elect the right person to deal with their concerns.
The main concerns are antisocial behaviour, lack of police on the beat and housing problems.
I'm proud to be your local candidate and hope you choose to vote for me this year.