Stanfor should be one of the safest seats in the city for the Tories but there is a cloud in the blue sky.

It comes in the shape of former Conservative councillor Jayne Bennett, who is standing as an Independent.

Stanford is being reduced from three seats to only two under changes to city council wards.

Vanessa Brown, deputy leader of the city council Tory group and a well-known councillor, is standing along with newcomer Michael Switzer.

This is one of the plushest parts of Hove and would normally be a cakewalk for the Conservatives.

But Coun Bennett is behind a residents' association and has achieved recognition all over Brighton and Hove for her battle to keep breast care services in the city.

She can be a formidable operator but the Tories can take heart from the recent poor record of Independents standing in city council elections.

Labour, Greens and the Lib Dems are also each fielding two candidates but this is not fertile territory for any of them.

One of the big issues in this largely well-heeled area is the future of Toad's Hole Valley, a stretch of potential development downland tucked south of the Brighton bypass.

There are also concerns about bus services, which are limited in parts of the ward, and traffic along busy roads such as King George VI Avenue.

Candidates (two seats):

Labour - Patrick Gordon Gill, Nicole Murphy.

Conservative - Michael David Alexander Switzer, Vanessa Brown.

Liberal Democrats - Roy Alldred, Peter Thomas Denyer.

Greens - Molly Taylor, Alan Keith Pegg.

Independent - Jayne Bennett.