Seats up for grabs as boundaries redrawn

THE battle for control of three of the region's biggest towns gets under way this week in what promises to be one the closest elections for more than a decade.

THE battle for control of three of the region's biggest towns gets under way this week in what promises to be one the closest elections for more than a decade.

Colchester, Ipswich and Waveney – the borough based on Lowestoft –have all undergone major boundary changes, which means all councillors will be up for election instead of just one per ward.

Nominations for candidates close at noon on Friday. The last time these councils held elections was in May 2000, when the Tories made a number of gains.

The electoral review, undertaken by the impartial Local Government Boundary Commission for England, resulted in redrawn boundaries to take account of new housing developments.


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Wards in each borough should have roughly the same number of electors.

Labour has dominated municipal politics in Ipswich since 1979 and currently holds 32 of the 48 seats. The Conservatives have 13 and the Liberal Democrats three.

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The Liberal Democrat power base is St Margaret's ward. But this has undergone a fundamental change, losing a large chunk in the south to a redrawn Town ward and taking in areas around Ipswich School on the western side of Christchurch Park. New names on the electoral map are Westgate, Alexandra, Gipping, and Holywells.

It would take a massive swing from Labour for the Tories to win power. Last November's Parliamentary by-election produced a swing of 4.1 per cent, nowhere near enough for a change in control.

Elsewhere in the east of England, there will be elections in Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Broadland, Brentwood, Epping Forest, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock.

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