Ipswich council elections: Everything you need to know

The election count at Ipswich Corn Exchange in 2021 for the Ipswich Borough Council election

The election count at Ipswich Corn Exchange in 2021 for the Ipswich Borough Council election - Credit: JASON NOBLE LDRS

It’s just under two weeks until voters in Ipswich will take to the polls and decide who they want representing them at Ipswich Borough Council.

Ipswich is the only election in Suffolk this time around for county, district or borough authorities, with 17 of the 48 seats up for grabs – just over a third.

In 2021 the Covid-19 pandemic was still very much at the forefront of people’s concerns. While the pandemic may not be over, 2022 very much feels more like ‘business as usual’.

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Voters can cast their poll between 7am and 10pm on Thursday, May 5. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

What does the council have responsibility for?

National politics will undoubtedly come into people’s voting decisions to some degree, but the reality is that what the votes determine in a local election is the running of council services.

Among the main responsibilities of Ipswich Borough Council are:

  • Determining planning applications
  • Maintaining council parks, open spaces and car parks
  • Emptying bins
  • Council housing provision
  • Licensing for taxis, bars and restaurants, and shops
  • Council tax collection (including on behalf of the police and county council)
  • Running council-owned gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools
  • Parking enforcement

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Which seats are up for election in 2022?

Each of the council’s 16 wards have one seat up for election, meaning every voter in Ipswich will get the chance to vote for a councillor.

In addition, St John’s ward will have an extra seat available to vote on as a result of the resignation of councillor Shelly Darwin in January. Voters in St John’s will vote for two candidates.

Who runs the council and can it change?

Currently, the Labour party controls the council with 28 of the 48 seats.

The remaining 20 are presently split between the Conservatives (14), Liberal Democrats (three) and Independent (one), with two seats vacant following resignations – they had both been Labour seats.

Of the 17 seats up for election in 2022, Labour is defending 12, the Conservatives four and the Liberal Democrats one.

It means that political control of the council could change hands, but it would need a surge of Conservative votes to do so. The party would need to gain 11 seats on top of retaining the four it already controls in order to win a majority for the authority.

It means a Labour majority remains the most likely outcome, but the Conservatives will be looking to build on gains it made last year.

Sales shoppers braving the rain in Ipswich town centre on Boxing Day

Regeneration of Ipswich town centre could be a key issue at the elections - Credit: Ella Wilkinson/Archant

In 2021, the blue party flipped six seats from Labour to Conservative, which it described at the time as a “dream result”. Securing that many this time around might be harder but it will be going for any gain it can get.

Labour meanwhile will want to capitalise on the current Conservative party headaches in Westminster surrounding ‘Partygate’ to secure its current seats and make one or two gains if it can.

What issues in Ipswich may be on voters minds?

The national scene will be a big driver of votes as it always is, and the national parties’ response to the cost of living crisis is possibly the number one voter issue this time around.

More locally, the town centre’s future is always a hot topic. The two years of economic struggles through the pandemic will not have helped the health of the high street, and future uses of prominent empty town centre units are likely to generate opinion.

The party which demonstrates the clearest vision for high street regeneration could do well on that front.

Elsewhere, housing remains a key issue. While house prices in Ipswich may not be the highest in Suffolk, for many getting on the housing ladder is still something that feels unattainable right now.

Coupled with the lack of large sites able to accommodate new homes, the prominence on future housebuilding really comes from redeveloping brownfield sites. Voters with eyesore empty sites on their doorsteps may be voting for whichever party convinces them they can make use of those.

What time are the polls open?

Voters can cast their poll between 7am and 10pm on Thursday, May 5.

Poll cards should already have been delivered, which will detail where their polling station is.

Who is standing?

The list of candidates for 2022 is as follows:

Alexandra: Laura Allenby (C), John Cook (L)*, Sophie Williams (LD), Tom Wilmot (G)

Bixley: Paul Anderson (L), Stephanie Cullen (G), Edward Phillips (C)*, Trevor Powell (LD)

Bridge: Stephen Connelly (L), Adria Pittock (G), Mike Scanes (C), Henry Williams (LD)

Castle Hill: Kimberley Clements (L), Sam Murray (C)*, Martin Pakes (LD)

Gainsborough: Albert Demaj (C), Lynne Mortimer (L), Conrad Packwood (LD), Brieanna Patmore (G)

Gipping: Sian Gubb (C), Elizabeth Hughes (L)*, Lee Morris (G), Lisa Weichert (LD)

Holywells: John Downie (C)*, George Lankester (L), Jenny Rivett (G), Robin Whitmore (LD)

Priory Heath: Nicholas Jacob (LD), Daniel Maguire (L)*, Andy Patmore (G), Andy Shannon (C)

Rushmere:  Paul Cawthorn (C), Lucy Drake (LD), Stefan Long (L), Rachel Morris (G)

Sprites: Barry Broom (G), Roland Mortimer (C), Colin Smart (L)

St John’s (two seats): Tim Buttle (C), Sophie Connelly (L), Elango Elavalakan (L)*, Sachin Karale (C), Jude Rook (G), Giles Turner (LD), Jason Williams (G)

St Margaret’s:  Stephen Ion (C), Inga Lockington (LD)*, Ruman Muhith (L), Kirsty Wilmot (G)

Stoke Park: Tony Blacker (L), Nadia Cenci (C)*, Martin Hynes (G), Adam Merritt (LD), Sandra Sparrow (ADF)

Westgate: Martin Hore (LD), Colin Kreidewolf (L)*, John Mann (G), Debbie Richards (C)

Whitehouse: David Goldsmith (C), Andrea McDonald (G), Colin Wright (L)*

Whitton: Michelle Bevan-Margetts (C), Julie Fletcher (LD), Edmund Harrison (G), Christine Shaw (L)*

Key: C – Conservative, L – Labour, LD – Liberal Democrats, G – Green Party, ADF – Alliance for Democracy and Freedom. The asterisk denotes a sitting councillor.