Update: more discussion here: comment 5 gives the exact reasons why the debate is happening as it is.
there's been some amendment to the original format of the local hustings event on 30th April. Here's the final communique:
General Election Hustings Meeting, Friday April 30th (organised by The Town Centre Churches)
This is an open meeting to which all are welcome, beginning at 8.00pm at Vicarage Street Methodist Church. The only way we can hear from all candidates is for them to take the platform individually one after the other - the reasons for this will be explained by The Chair at the beginning of our time together.
Each candidate will speak for 2-3 mins and then respond to questions. If you have a question please write it down and submit it to a steward at the door on arrival. If your question is chosen you will be requested to ask it from the floor by The Chair. We are looking forward to this opportunity of hearing from all of our parliamentary candidates.
It's a great shame for voters that we won't get to see issues discussed face to face, and a great shame that the candidates haven't been able to work out a way to give us that opportunity. On the plus side, chairing the 'debate' on the night will be a lot easier!
here's a list of the 5 local candidates.