Ipswich voters head to the polls for Thursday’s borough council election
Voters in Ipswich go to the polls on Thursday to elect a third of the borough council – but there is unlikely to be any change at the top of the authority in the wake of the poll.
Labour holds 33 of the 48 seats on the council. One seat in each of the 16 wards is being contested with Labour defending 11, the Conservatives four and Liberal Democrat Inga Lockington is fighting to hold on to her St Margaret’s seat.
The Conservatives would have to win all Labour’s seats to overturn the majority – and that is not even a remote possibility in this election.
The battle is really being fought in six wards that are either already represented by councillors from both parties or where there have been close contests in recent elections.
The Conservatives are hoping to win seats off Labour in Whitton and Rushmere and from Mrs Lockington in St Margaret’s.
Labour is hoping to win seats in Holywells and Stoke Park from the Tories. Sprites is currently represented by three Labour councillors – but the Tories have won here in the past and are hoping to repeat that success.
The Greens and UKIP have never won a seat on Ipswich council – and while the Greens are becoming a more significant campaigning force in the town, they have not yet come near winning a seat on the authority.
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All the parties say their campaigns are focussed on local issues – and it is key developments around Ipswich that have dominated some of the discussions in key wards.
In Whitton – and other northern wards – the start of work on the Ipswich Garden Suburb (northern fringe) and its impact on roads and local services is a major concern for many voters.
In Holywells Ward and in Bridge Ward on opposite sides of the river, the Upper Orwell Crossing proposals are a key election issue with both Labour and Tory campaigners finding people anxious to talk about the major new road projects that are expected to impact on their communities.
The polling stations around the town are open between 7am and 10pm. The count is expected to start shortly after then with the first results coming in about midnight.
The last results are expected to be declared about 1am – there are no multi-member wards this year which should speed counting.