Borough up for grabs on election day

IPSWICH: It is not only at Westminster that it could be all change on May 6 – there are elections for borough councillors as well.

Only two councils in Suffolk – Ipswich and Waveney – are electing new members this year, but it could lead to a change in power in Grafton House.

The Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition is defending several seats that have been won by Labour over the last two elections and the opposition is hoping to regain power that it lost in 2004.

One seat is up for grabs in each three-seat ward, except in Alexandra Ward where there are two vacancies following the resignation of Liberal Democrat Louise Gooch.

Former Labour council leader David Ball – who stood down from the borough 13 years ago – is hoping to return by taking the Whitehouse seat off Liberal Democrat Steve Williams.

Labour have regained the other two seats in the ward from the LibDems in 2007 and 2008 and will be hoping Mr Ball can achieve a clean sweep there.

The Conservatives will be putting a great deal of effort into trying to retain their Sprites and Rushmere seats which could be vulnerable to Labour in a local election with a high turn-out.

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Labour also hopes a high turnout – with people also voting in the general election – will boost its chances of taking seats in Alexandra and Whitton.

The LibDems are hoping to hold on to the two seats they are defending in the town centre Alexandra ward.

Veteran Tory councillor Russell Harsant is standing for re-election in the safe Bixley Ward and former mayor Inga Lockington in the St Margaret’s Ward.

She is hoping to make the council a family affair as her husband Tim is standing in Westgate Ward where group leader Andrew Cann already holds one of the seats.

The full nominations are:

Alexandra: Julian Gibbs(Lab), David Rowley(Lab), Oliver Hartley (C), Edward Phillips (C), Ken Bates (LD), Nigel Cheeseman (LD), .

Bixley: Alex Mayer (Lab), Russell Harsant*(C), Clive Witter (LD)

Bridge: Jim Powell* (Lab), James Spencer(C), Ric Hardacre (LD), Rick Deeks (G).

Castle Hill: John Harris (Lab), Mary Young*(C), Robert Chambers (LD), Jenny Overett (G).

Gainsborough: Keith Rawlingson (Lab), Julie Mayes (C), Mat Baker (LD).

Gipping Jeannette Macartney* (Lab), Steve Flood (C), Ann Groves (LD).

Holywells: David Jermy (Lab), George Debman*(C), Bex Robinson (LD).

Priory Heath: John LeGrys (Lab), Kym Stroet (C), Nicholas Jacob (LD).

Rushmere: Lindsey Rawlingson (Lab), Judy Terry*(C), Robin Whitmore (LD).

St John’s: Sandy Martin* (Lab), Pam Kelly (C), Jill Atkins (LD).

St Margaret’s: Liz Cooper (Lab), Stephen Ion (C), Inga Lockington*(LD), Amy Drayson (G).

Sprites: Hamil Clarke (Lab), Bob Hall (C), Jamie Scott (LD).

Stoke Park: Barry Studd (Lab), Nadia Cenci*(C), Sarolta Lillywhite (LD), Barry Broom (G), Dennis Boater (BNP).

Westgate: Mary Blake* (Lab), Rob Brown (C), Tim Lockington(LD).

Whitehouse: David Ball (Lab), Paul Carter (C), Steve Williams*(LD).

Whitton: Steve Connelly (Lab), Chris Stewart (C). Heidi Williams (LD).

* Denotes sitting councillor.