With less than three weeks until the borough goes to the polls, the key election issues - and the places where the battle to control Richmond Council will be won and lost - are starting to emerge.

Whitton residents have attacked the Liberal Democrat administration for the state of their town describing it as neglected and the “forgotten corner of the borough”.

With two wards in the area - Whitton and Heathfield - six seats are up for grabs for the party which can best show residents how they will improve the area.

All were held by the Liberal Democrats until Keith Warren resigned from the group to become an Independent councillor. He will stand for re-election as an Independent on May 6.

Neil Wilton, a Hounslow Road resident, is also standing as an Independent and has pledged to improve Whitton High Street.

Councillor Serge Lourie, leader of Richmond Council, said: “Whitton has many attractions. We have financed a town centre manager, which the Tories would abolish, and are investing in improving the town centre.”

He said his party’s candidates - Liz Jaeger, York Membery and Arnie Gibbons - would make a real different to the town.

Councillor Nick True, leader of Richmond Conservatives, said: “People in Whitton and Heathfield deserve a fair deal.

“After 30 years at the top the ruling Lib Dem clique take these areas for granted. Keith Warren’s defection exposes that. Look at their plans to scrap the name of Whitton School, hand it to a foreign profit-making company and ban a sixth form.

“Regenerating the High Street and supporting small shops will be key.”

The debate over Twickenham Riverside is also expected to play a key role at the ballot box - with the Liberal Democrats proposing to create a River Centre, selling some of the site for housing, while the Tories want to see a “green, community alternative”.

Coun True said: “The pig-headed Lib Dem obsession with luxury homes on the riverside has made it a symbol of division.

“Any Lib Dem councillor elected on May 6 will give developers the go-ahead.

“A Conservative council will boot out the developers, enable a green community alternative and then give the land in trust to the people of Twickenham for all time.”

Coun Lourie said: “This has appeared to be a controversial issue but we wrote to 20,000 people in Twickenham about six months ago and the results were very encouraging.

“Overall, three to one were in favour on email responses and over two to one in favour on the written consultation.

“We think this scheme is the best option for Twickenham and many people think we should get on with it after 30 years of dereliction.”

Richmond's key election issues:

Two wards that could decide which party ends up leading Richmond Council on May 7 border each other in the north-east of the borough.

In 2006, the six leading candidates in North Richmond were separated by just 154 votes but the Liberal Democrats took the three seats.

Neighbouring Mortlake and Barnes Common, which borders North Richmond by the A205 road, was even closer - with the six leading candidates separated by just 127 votes.

The future of the Mortlake brewery site - with many residents unhappy that a neighbouring bowling green is to be turned into housing - is expected to play a part in that race.