Tories keep control of Croydon Council

Record numbers of staff for the count in Croydon's council election. Photo: Laura Passi

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.

Labour council candidates contemplating an emptied ballot box. Photo: Laura Passi

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’.

He said:

“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.”

Croydon Council candidates for New Addington ward await people's verdict. Photo: Laura Passi

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
  Ward Status Candidate elected Percentage
  Addiscombe Lab(3) Gain from Con(3) FITZSIMONS Sean 14.0%
  WATSON Mark 13.2%
  HAY-JUSTICE Patricia 12.3%
  Ashburton Con(3) Hold ARRAM Edwin Seymour 16.6%
  SLIPPER Avril Elaine Mansfield 15.5%
  KELLETT Adam 15.0%
  Bensham Manor Lab(3) Hold GRAY Donna 21.4%
  BUTLER Alison 20.9%
  RAJENDRAN Raj 19.2%
  Broad Green Lab(3) Hold COLLINS Stuart 21.6%
  SELVA Mike 20.1%
  SHAHUL-HAMEED Manju 17.8%
  Coulsdon East Con(3) Hold WRIGHT Christopher 18.2%
  CROMIE Justin Wade 17.3%
  LENTON Terry 16.9%
  Coulsdon West Con(3) Hold OSLAND David John 18.4%
  PARKER Ian James 17.5%
  BAINS Jeet 17.2%
  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%
  MOHAN Vidhi 14.0%
  WINBORN Susan 13.8%
  Fieldway Lab(2) Hold HALL Simon 25.0%
  BONNER Carole 24.5%
  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%
  AYRES George 18.2%
  Norbury Lab(3) Hold CHOWDHURY Sherwan 18.4%
  KHAN Shafi 18.0%
  MANSELL Maggie 17.8%
  Purley Con(3) Hold BASS Graham John 19.8%
  QUADIR Badsha 16.6%
  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%
  RYAN Gerry 20.0%
  LETTS Toni 19.8%
  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%
  AVIS Jane 17.4%
  LAWLOR Wayne 15.4%
  Thornton Heath Lab(3) Hold CLOUDER Pat 15.7%
  WOODLEY Louisa 14.8%
  KYREMEH Matthew 14.5%
  Upper Norwood Lab Hold – Lab(2) Gain from Con(2) RYAN Pat 19.1%
  FLEMMING Alisa 18.0%
  WENTWORTH John 15.9%
  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%
  SMITH Paul 20.4%
  KABIR Humayun 20.0%
  Woodside Lab(3) Hold – Uncontested JEWITT Karen 18.2%
  NEWMAN Tony 18.2%
  SCOTT Paul 16.9%

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.”

Checking and counting the ballot papers in Croydon Council elections 2010. Photo: Laura Passi

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.

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