PURBECK voters will head to the polls tomorrow to elect district councillors in eight local wards.

Elections will be held in Lytchett Matravers, Lytchett Minster and Upton East, Lytchett Minster and Upton West, St Martin, Swanage North, Swanage South, Wareham and Wool.

One councillor will be elected in each ward, with the exception of Lytchett Matravers, where a by-election to replace Michael Peacock stood down in February means voters will be choosing two councillors.

All the seats are contested, with most competition in Wool where four people are standing, including the only Independent.

The three main political parties are fielding candidates in most wards, except in Lytchett Minster and Upton East, St Martin and Wareham, where it will be a two- horse race with just a Conservative and a Liberal Democrat candidate in each case.

The current councillors are standing again in every ward except Lytchett Matravers where John Hyde is retiring.

But in Swanage South Colin Bright, elected previously as a Conservative, will be standing as a Lib Dem after defecting earlier this month One of the biggest issues galvanising voters in the district is housing.

Recommendations that 5,150 new homes be built in the district by 2026 have provoked widespread condemnation.

The plans, which came out of the latest South West Regional Spatial Strategy report, also include a recommendation for 2,750 homes on green belt land around Lytchett Matravers, Lytchett Minster and Upton - all areas where residents will be stepping out to vote.

Polls are open from 7am to 10pm. The term of office for all those elected will be until 2012, except in the by-election where the term will be until 2010.

There will also be an uncontested election of two Wareham town council seats.