FORMER Tory councillor Heather Rogers is going up against her former party and a former colleague in the battle to keep hold of her Norton seat.

Cllr Rogers quit the Conservatives back in February 2017 and she has since held the seat as an independent – voting only with her conscience as she sees fit on matters of concern such as the council tax and plans to tackle the borough’s problem with travellers.

The councillor, who is also chairman of the Friends of Mary Stevens Park, has held the seat since 2007 but she faces a tough fight against former political colleague Karen Shakespeare – a long-serving Halesowen councillor who has been selected to stand in Norton.

Cllr Rogers said she thought she’d throw her hat into the ring once again as she enjoys being a councillor – although she admits it has been difficult being the only independent on the 72-seat council which currently has 35 Tory councillors and 36 Labour.

She has often found herself with the casting vote in contentious issues but she said: “I just concentrate on what we need in Dudley and voted with my own conscience. I think which way should I vote for the people of Dudley. Last year with the council tax I thought I’ll go with the party that’s going to charge them the least."

Cllr Rogers is preparing to battle it out against Karen Shakespeare (Conservative), Mark Binnersley (Green Party), Elaine Sheppard (Liberal Democrats), Andrew Tromans (Labour) and David Powell (UKIP) when voters go to the polls on Thursday May 2.