BROOMFIELD AND THE WALTHAMS
Chelmsford City Council, Essex; caused by the death of Independent Councillor Delmas Ashford at the age of 82. The last remaining councillor from the first election to the modern Chelmsford Council in 1973, Ashford had stood for the Conservatives in the 1999, 2003 and 2007 elections but was otherwise returned as an Independent.
|Guildhall, Great Waltham, Essex|
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In 2003 and 2007 this was a safe Conservative ward, forming part of a safe Conservative county division (Broomfield and Writtle) and a safe Conservative parliamentary seat (Saffron Walden); but shortly afterwards it started to go wrong for the local Conservatives, as they lost a September 2007 by-election here to the Liberal Democrats on a massive swing. The 2011 result looks much less safe for the Conservatives, with Ashford being the third of the three candidates elected and beating the third Conservative candidate by 142 votes, and the top Lib Dem less than 150 votes behind the third Conservative. The Lib Dems failed to hold on to their by-election gain but increased their share of the vote compared to the May 2007 election.
Nonetheless, with no independent candidate having come forward to replace Ashford the Conservatives should be favoured to hold this by-election. Their candidate is William Wetton, about whom I have no information other than that he gives an address in Broomfield. The Lib Dems are standing Graham Pooley, who lost his council seat in Chelmsford's Marconi ward in 2011, and was councillor for this ward from 1995 to 2003; he is campaigning against major housing plans for the ward. The Green Party, who beat Labour here last time round, have nominated local doctor Reza Hossain who fought this ward in 2007 and the local county division in 2009. Labour are going for the youth vote with Sinead Jein, who turned 18 last December, and UKIP are fighting the ward for the first time; their candidate is Ian Nicholls from Writtle, a quantity surveyor.
Parliamentary constituency: Saffron Walden
Essex county council division: Broomfield and Writtle
ONS Travel to Work Area: Chelmsford and Braintree
Reza Hossain (Grn)
Sinead Jein (Lab)
Ian Nicholls (UKIP)
Graham Pooley (LD)
William Wetton (C)
May 2011 result C 1278/1145/923 Ind 1065 LD 785/500/492 Grn 373 Lab 348/341/324
Sept 2007 by-election LD 1198 C 742 Lab 76 UKIP 57 Grn 53
May 2007 result C 1433/1279/1214 LD 469/440/399 Grn 256/251/248 UKIP 216 Lab 200
May 2003 result C 1245/1123/1040 LD 714/574/564 Lab 243/200/191