Up for the count
ONE third of St Albans District Council seats are up for grabs next Thursday, May 1, in an election of particular significance to the LibDems. Although they do not hold overall control, they are the largest single party and a swing to the Conservatives mi
ONE third of St Albans District Council seats are up for grabs next Thursday, May 1, in an election of particular significance to the LibDems.
Although they do not hold overall control, they are the largest single party and a swing to the Conservatives might make it difficult for them to continue as the ruling party and could result in a hung council.
The outcome in some wards could be particularly critical, especially where existing councillors are standing down and new candidates are contesting the seat in their place.
One such is Harpenden East where former Mayor and LibDem Brian Peyton has stepped down and the Tories are expected to be much in contention. A similar situation could arise in Harpenden West where John Newman, a former Tory group leader who chose to become an Independent, has resigned. That seat is also likely to revert to the Conservatives.
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In Verulam, veteran Tory councillor Clare Ellis has resigned leaving the seat a target for the LibDems who won one of the three last year. In the meantime they will be hoping to hang on to the vacant seat in Clarence Ward which experienced county councillor Chris White is contesting.
Labour, which has three seats up for re-election, could be vulnerable in Sopwell where Janet Smith is contesting her seat in a ward where the LibDems made a gain two years ago. In Batchwood another LibDem county councillor Allan Witherick is contesting the seat vacated by Labour's Eileen Harris.
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Candidates from the three main parties and the Greens are contesting all the seats except in Redbourn where Independent Tony Swendell is standing unopposed by the LibDems, although he will face competition from the other three parties.
He said this week: "I don't represent politics but I represent people and the community of Redbourn and they are most important to me.
"I don't think party politics works at local level and it ends up with very nice people tearing chunks out of each other because of it."
The council is currently made up of 29 LibDems, 19 Conservatives, eight Labour and two Independents. Eighteen seats are being contested and there will be counts at both the Alban Arena and Harpenden Public Halls with the result expected in the early hours of next Friday morning.
CANDIDATES standing for election in next week's poll are as follows:
# BATCHWOOD - Indranil Chakravorty (Con); Naomi Love (Gn); David McManus (Lab); Allan Witherick (LD).
# MARSHALSWICK SOUTH - Sabena Khan (Con); Gillian Mills (Gn); Anthony Nicholson (Lab); Melvyn Teare (LD)*.
# ST PETER'S - Nadia Davies (Con); Simon Grover (Gn); Martin Jewitt (Lab); Martin Morris (LD)*.
# CLARENCE - Dursun Altun (Con); Pete Eggleston (Gn); Richard Harris (Lab); Chris White (LD).
# VERULAM - Jill Gipps (Lab); Margaret Grover (Gn); Fred Wartenberg (LD); Nigel Wood Smith (Con).
# SOPWELL - Roger Axworthy (LD); Thomas Hardy (Gn); Mary Murphy (Con); Janet Smith (Lab)*.
# CUNNINGHAM - Jack Easton (Gn); Geoff Harrison (LD)*; John Paton (Lab); James Vessey (Con).
# ASHLEY - Alistair Cooper (Lab); Mike Ellis (LD)*; Graham Ward (Gn); Guy Young (Con).
# MARSHALSWICK NORTH - Janet Churchard (LD); Seema Kennedy (Con); Ruairi McCourt (Lab); Rosalind Paul (Gn).
# REDBOURN - Richard Bruckdorfer (Lab); Roger Gray (Con); Kate Metcalf (Gn); Tony Swendell (Ind)*.
# LONDON COLNEY - Chris Flynn (Lab)*; Rosalind Hardy (Gn); Mike Ketley (LD); Dave Winstone (Con).
# PARK STREET - Alex Breed (Lab); Stephen Clough (Gn); David Yates (LD)*; Mary Zambra (Con).
# ST STEPHEN - Tom Allum (LD); Janet Blackwell (Lab); David Canham (Con)*; Lucy Eggleston (Gn).
# WHEATHAMPSTEAD - Gillian Clark (Con); Paul Edelston (LD)*; Simon Wakeling (Gn); Peter Woodhams (Lab).
# HARPENDEN EAST - Julie Bell (Con); David Crew (Lab); Lydia El-Khouri (Gn); Jeffrey Phillips (LD).
# HARPENDEN NORTH - Gordon Burrows (LD); John Chambers (Con)*; Rosemary Ross (Lab); Annett Tate (Gn).
# HARPENDEN SOUTH - Lorna Hann (Gn); Stuart Roberts (Con); Paul Spinks (LD); Linda Spiri (Lab).
# HARPENDEN WEST - Tim Blackwell (Gn); Allen Chamberlain (Con); Benjamin Dearman (Lab); Albert Moses (LD).
* denotes sitting councillor.