The Tories have retained control of Croydon Council with a reduced majority. Nearly twenty five per cent more voters took part in the local elections- one of the highest increases in the country.
The Conservative majority is now wafer thin. They only have four more councillors than Labour. They lost seats in Addiscombe, South Norwood and Upper Norwood wards.
But the turn-out of 64 per cent is a significant increase on 40.4 per cent in 2006. While the filling in of local election ballot slips was clearly boosted by holding the council poll on the same day as the General Election, this massive increase indicates enthusiasm for and the importance of local politics and democracy. The coverage by local media must also be a factor.
The counting began just after 11 o’clock and those involved worked in a tense but good natured manner interrupted briefly by an evacuation of the building due to a fire alarm. ELL spoke to some of the candidates who were nervously skirting around the tables.
Lance Alleyne standing as a Conservative in Broad Green felt that their party had a significant advantage because all of their candidates had been specially selected and were not ‘paper candidates’.
“Turnout has been much higher than expected … We’ve branched out into new areas in Croydon and we are confident that we will retain control of the borough.”
In fact it was Mike Selva and two other Labour candidates who took control of the ward. Before the count had been declared, Selva felt positive about winning because the appeal of local Labour candidates had been boosted by newly selected MP for Croydon North, Malcolm Wicks.
Mr Selva said:
“He [Wicks] received the highest majority in London and I think all of North Croydon will do better because of him.”
And here are the results courtesy of Croydon Council:
|Summary information about wards|
|Addiscombe||Lab(3) Gain from Con(3)||FITZSIMONS Sean||14.0%|
|Ashburton||Con(3) Hold||ARRAM Edwin Seymour||16.6%|
|SLIPPER Avril Elaine Mansfield||15.5%|
|Bensham Manor||Lab(3) Hold||GRAY Donna||21.4%|
|Broad Green||Lab(3) Hold||COLLINS Stuart||21.6%|
|Coulsdon East||Con(3) Hold||WRIGHT Christopher||18.2%|
|CROMIE Justin Wade||17.3%|
|Coulsdon West||Con(3) Hold||OSLAND David John||18.4%|
|PARKER Ian James||17.5%|
|Croham||Con(3) Hold||GATLAND Maria Ruth||15.8%|
|NEAL Michael Anthony||14.3%|
|PERRY Jason Stephen||13.1%|
|Fairfield||Con(3) Hold||FITZE David||14.9%|
|Fieldway||Lab(2) Hold||HALL Simon||25.0%|
|Heathfield||Con(3) Hold||MEAD Margaret Vera||21.1%|
|CUMMINGS Jason James||20.8%|
|POLLARD Helen Susan||19.6%|
|Kenley||Con(3) Hold||BUTTINGER Janice Ann||19.6%|
|O’CONNELL Stephen John||18.7%|
|HOLLANDS Steven Leslie Victor||18.4%|
|New Addington||Lab Hold – Con Gain from Lab||PEARSON Tony||18.3%|
|Norbury||Lab(3) Hold||CHOWDHURY Sherwan||18.4%|
|Purley||Con(3) Hold||BASS Graham John||19.8%|
|SPEAKMAN Donald Singleton||15.1%|
|Sanderstead||Con(3) Hold||HALE Lynne Carol||22.0%|
|HOPLEY Yvette Rose||21.1%|
|POLLARD Timothy Stuart||19.2%|
|Selhurst||Lab(3) Hold||GODFREY Timothy||20.0%|
|Selsdon and Ballards||Con(3) Hold||BASHFORD Sara Jane||21.8%|
|MEAD Dudley Sharratt||20.2%|
|THOMAS Philip John||18.8%|
|Shirley||Con(3) Hold||MARSHALL Janet||18.0%|
|CHATTERJEE Richard Rishi||17.9%|
|FISHER Michael David||17.8%|
|South Norwood||Lab Hold – Lab(2) Gain from Con(2)||BEE Kathy||17.6%|
|Thornton Heath||Lab(3) Hold||CLOUDER Pat||15.7%|
|Upper Norwood||Lab Hold – Lab(2) Gain from Con(2)||RYAN Pat||19.1%|
|Waddon||Con(3) Hold||HARRIS Tony||13.9%|
|HILLEY Clare Victoria||13.8%|
|HOAR Simon James||12.7%|
|West Thornton||Lab(3) Hold – Uncontested||KHAN Bernadette||21.8%|
|Woodside||Lab(3) Hold – Uncontested||JEWITT Karen||18.2%|
A record number of candidates, 284, fought in the 24 council wards with all of the 70 seats being contested by the Conservatives, Labour and Greens.
Returning officer and council chief executive Jon Rouse said:
“We have been preparing for these elections for some time. We want elections where the electoral register accurately reflects the electorate and we will be professionally delighted if voters use all the votes to which they are entitled. We have been planning for the elections very carefully and our intention is to ensure that every vote cast counts towards the accurate declaration of results.”
450 council staff were running the polling stations. A record number of staff, 500, did the counting and they worked in two shifts at Trinity School in Shirley.
147 polling stations were used including 53 church halls, 43 community halls, 40 schools, as well as four private garages and three libraries. Head teachers were given discretion whether lessons continued alongside on-site polling. The TA centre in Marlpit Lane, Coulsdon and the central library in the Clocktower were also used to gather in the votes.