Essex ready for county polling day

NOMINATIONS have closed for county council elections, which will see 75 seats contested.Essex County Council currently comprises 79 councillors representing divisions across the county, although Thurrock and Southend are independent unitary authorities.

By Roddy Ashworth

NOMINATIONS have closed for county council elections, which will see 75 seats contested.

Essex County Council currently comprises 79 councillors representing divisions across the county, although Thurrock and Southend are independent unitary authorities.

However, boundary changes mean the number of county councillors will be reduced to 75 after the election, which takes place on May 5.

The Conservative Party runs the council, with 49 councillors, with Labour holding 18 seats, the Lib Dems having 10 councillors and two Independent members.

Although the General Election is likely to take centre stage in the coming weeks, the county council is responsible for many key services close to the lives of people in Essex.

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These include the upkeep of most roads, provision of social services, adoption, museums, arts, regeneration and services to more than 580 schools.

Last year the council spent more than £1billion and its share of the council tax – excluding charges levied by the police, fire service, district, borough, town and parish councils – for an average band D property was £891.54.

Essex has a future of major change ahead, with the proposed building of 131,000 new houses over the next 20 years and the anticipated expansion of Stansted Airport, both favoured by the Government.

These plans are likely to be high up the last of list of issues many voters – especially in the north and west parts of Essex – will be quizzing their candidates about and basing their vote on.

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