Preview: The talking points for the 2019 Babergh elections
- Credit: Mick Webb
While the Conservatives at Babergh District Council enjoy an overwhelming majority, historically that hasn’t always been the case.
Indeed, since its inception in 1973, the 2015 election marked the first occasion that any party took overall political control.
During that election, the Tories won 31 of the 43 seats – a gain of 14 seats. That was largely at the expense of the Liberal Democrats who lost nine seats during that election.
The Lib Dems will want to regain some of that lost ground, but the party is only fielding candidates in 10 of the 24 wards so that could be an uphill struggle.
The district is rather uniquely placed in Suffolk as it stretches right the way across the county from the Shotley Peninsula to Sudbury, Long Melford, Glemsford and Boxted.
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It means that, while largely being a rural district, it faces the differing challenges the west of the county experiences compared to those around Woolverstone and Shotley where the Orwell informs much of the community’s make-up.
In Sudbury, the regeneration around the town is one of the hot topics.
Plans to revamp the Hamilton Road quarter and the Vision for Prosperity blueprint for improvements means voters there could be swayed by what candidates have to say for its future.
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Around Copdock, Washbrook and Sproughton, the huge wave of planning applications coming forward is causing concern. That means development of a joint local plan to help manage development could be a key factor there.
Another talking point across the district is the investments from CIFCO Capital Ltd – the joint owned company with Mid Suffolk District Council investing in mostly out of county retail and commercial property.
The council has pumped £25million into those investments to date, with approval for another £25m this year.
While the investments are helping protect frontline services by generating income that can be pumped back into departments, some feel it would be better spent on housing or other council priorities.
If the Conservatives return with a majority in the May elections, there are still likely to be changes for the new administration’s cabinet.
Frank Lawrenson, cabinet member for assets and investments has opted not to stand for election again, as has environment cabinet member Tina Campbell.
That means their portfolios will by default need filling with fresh faces.
Meanwhile, cabinet member for communications Kathryn Grandon faced the remarkable situation of not being selected by her party’s association for the forthcoming elections, meaning she is standing as an Independent this time around.
The current cabinet already features one Independent – Derek Davis (organisational delivery) – so it may not be beyond the realms of possibility for Mrs Grandon to remain on the front bench, but the political situation will in all probability make that more difficult.
Greater Ipswich development
The areas surrounding Ipswich including Belstead, Copdock, Washbrook and Sproughton, are among the areas facing the biggest swathe of planning applications.
The access to the A14 and proximity to services and employment opportunities in Ipswich make land prime territory for developers seeking plots. Landowners are also likely to get a good price for the sites.
It means that a host of different applicants have put in planning applications in the area, leading to concerns for homes that the villages are being swamped.
However, the situation is complicated by the district boundaries – north of Sproughton the land becomes Mid Suffolk District Council territory.
Yes, the two councils are drawing up a joint local plan, which means the border crossing shouldn’t be an issue there, but it does mean that developments will be decided by different planning committees depending on what side of the district divide a site sits.
That could work in the favour of applicants if there are occasions when wider development outside of the district is not taken into consideration, and one existing homes will be keen not to see exploited.
Assington Ward: David Holland (C), Lee Parker (Ind)*, Laura Smith (G).
Box Vale Ward: Jacky Rawlinson (C), Bryn Hurren (LD)*.
Brantham Ward: William Shropshire (C)*, Alastair McCraw (Ind)*, Caroline Wheeler (G).
Brett Vale Ward: John Ward (C)*, Steve Laing (Ind), Stephen Williams (Ind)*, Philippa Draper (G).
Bures St Mary & Nayland Ward: Melanie Barrett (C)*, Miriam Burns (G).
Capel St Mary Ward: Delme Thompson (C), Sue Carpendale (LD)*.
Chadacre Ward (two seats): Michael Holt (C)*, Stephen Plumb (Ind)*, Luis Orna Diaz (G), Felix Reeves Whymark (G).
Copdock & Washbrook Ward: Barry Gasper (C)*, David Busby (LD)*.
East Bergholt Ward: Dominic Torrington (C), Alan Hinton (Ind)*, Sallie Davies (G).
Ganges Ward: Paul Clarke (C), Tony Ingram (LD), Derek Davis (Ind)*, Sharon-Anne Kennedy (G).
Great Cornard Ward (three seats): Peter Beer (C)*, Honor Grainger-Howard (C), Mark Newman (C)*, Tony Bavington (Lab)*, Stewart Sheridan (Lab), Tracey Welsh (Lab), Marjorie Bark (LD), Tobias Horkan (G), Andy Liffen (G), Dean Walton (G).
Hadleigh North Ward: Sian Dawson (C)*, Angela Wiltshire (Lab), Karen Harman (LD), Peter Lynn (G).
Hadleigh South Ward (two seats): Mick Fraser (C), Matthew Frost (C), Rickaby Shearly-Sanders (Lab), Kathryn Grandon (Ind)*, Amy Aylett (G), Sophie Ship (G).
Lavenham Ward (two seats): Philip Faircloth-Mutton (C), Margaret Maybury (C)*, Clive Arthey (Ind)*, Leon Stedman (UKIP), Karen Marshall (G).
Long Melford Ward (two seats): Elisabeth Malvisi (C), John Nunn (Ind)*, Janet Smith (G), John Smith (G).
North West Cosford Ward: Alexandra Dawson (C), Robert Lindsay (G).
Orwell Ward: Nick Ridley (C)*, Jane Gould (G).
South East Cosford Ward: Alan Ferguson (C)*, Leigh Jamieson (G).
Sproughton & Pinewood Ward (two seats): Christopher Hudson (C), Zac Norman (C), David Plowman (Lab), Richard Hardacre (G).
Stour Ward: Mary McLaren (C), Michael Bamford (LD), Christopher Sawyer (Ind), Lyndon Ship (G).
Sudbury North East Ward: Gary Quinlan (C), Alison Owen (Lab), Paul Dalley (UKIP), Theresa Munson (G).
Sudbury North West Ward (two seats): Simon Barrett (C)*, Jan Osborne (C)*, Trevor Cresswell (Lab), Daniel Williams (Lab), Nigel Bennett (LD), Robert Spivey (LD), John Burch (G), Michael Chapman (G).
Sudbury South East Ward: Adrian Osborne (C)*, Luke Cresswell (Lab)*, Tony Platt (LD), Heather James (G).
Sudbury South West Ward: Susan Ayres (C)*, Nicki Dixon (Lab), Andrew Welsh (LD), Robert Darvell (Ind), Julie Fowles-Smith (G).
Key: C – Conservative, Lab – Labour, LD – Liberal Democrats, Ind – Independent, UKIP – UK Independence Party, G – Green Party.
The asterisk denotes a sitting councillor in that authority or its predecessor.