For some time now, I’ve been hearing about this great pizza place called Da Mario on Queens Road, Westbourne. With an apparent traditional wood-burning pizza oven, the Italian in me is bursting with excitement at the thought of some real, homely pizza.

Alongside the local elections on 5th May, the government is holding a UK-wide referendum to decide the voting system for electing members of parliament to the House of Commons.

Figures as of mid-2010 put Bournemouth’s population at nearly 165,000. According to the borough, in the last local elections held in 2007 there were 173 candidates and over 126,000 polling cards issued with a total voter turnout of 118,107. The ward with the highest voter turnout was East Southbourne and Tuckton with 8,864 votes and the ward with the lowest voter turnout was Boscombe West with 4,108 votes.

For this year’s elections taking place on 5th May, there are 176 candidates for Bournemouth, this makes 3 more than there were in the last local elections. Bournemouth has 18 wards with three council seats for each ward. This means that there is a total 54 council seats up for grabs as voters have their say.

The 176 candidates for 2011 broken down by political party makes 54 Conservatives, 40 Labour, 39 Liberal Democrats, 24 Independents, 14 UK Independence Party, 4 Green Party and 1 Liberal Party. Out of the eighteen wards in the borough of Bournemouth, latest figures from the borough state that the ward with the smallest population is Boscombe West at 7,740 and the ward with the largest population is East Cliff and Springbourne at 10,530.

When the elections take place 5th May, there will be 73 polling stations open across Bournemouth.

Of the three boroughs, Christchurch has the smallest number of wards and council seats. There are 24 council seats spread across 11 wards.

The number of registered voters in the last local elections in 2007 stood at 37,945 with a ballot count of 17,480 making a 46 per cent voter turnout in the borough. As of 2010, the population of the borough of Christchurch is estimated at nearly 47,000.

There are 65 candidates that have been nominated for the elections this May. The candidates in Christchurch are from several political parties and is listed as follows: Conservatives 24, Labour 12, Liberal Democrats 11, UK Independent 7, Independents 4 and Other 7.

As of April 4, there are 115,697 people registered to vote in Poole. In the last local elections held in 2007 the number of people who voted in Poole was 43,008, which was a turnout of 38.62% of the number of registered voters, which was around 111,000. This means the numbers of residents registered to vote has grown since the last elections and can continue to grow until the vote registration deadline on April 14.

There are 118 candidates that will be in contesting with the 42 council seats across the borough of Poole.  Poole consists of 16 wards. There are two more candidates than the 2007 election which had only 116 candidates running.  The political parties represented by this year’s candidates are 42 Conservatives, 33 Liberal Democrats, 11 Labour, 11 UK Independence 8 Party for Poole People, 2 British National Party, 2 Green Party and 9 Independents.

Over the past four years the Borough of Poole has implemented initiatives including the matters of Open Space, Town Centre Regeneration, and recently the proposed new marina and current building of the Twin Sails Bridge.

These are topics which will be present in the coming term for those elected.

Candidates for the upcoming 2011 local council elections have been announced for Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch.