This year, thirteen out of Norwich’s thirty-nine council seats will be up for election on May 3rd in thirteen different wards across the city. The big four parties (Conservatives, Greens, Labour and Lib Dems) are expected to be contesting every seat, possibly alongside some independent candidates. Labour are currently the largest party with twenty-six of the total seats and run the council with a comfortable majority of councillors. In opposition to them are the Green Party with ten seats, and the Liberal Democrats with three in total. The Conservatives currently have no councillors on Norwich City Council.
The four different parties will have four very different set of objectives and aims, with hopes of defences and gains mixed in with aspirations of breakthrough success for some here in Norwich.
The Conservatives have no representation at City Council level and having failed to win any of the Norwich seats in last year’s County Council Elections where they typically do better, it is unlikely that we’ll be seeing a Conservative in City Hall this time around. Previous victories last came in Bowthorpe and Catton Grove back in 2008 and will be targeted by the blues this year again. Some strong second place finishes here and there and improving results across the city would please Norwich’s Conservatives, although they are unlikely to be able to top last year’s County election high vote share.
A disappointing night is on the cards for the Greens, and holding Thorpe Hamlet would offer a small crumb of comfort to a party which has fallen victim to a surging Labour group in Norwich.
The Green Party will be hoping for improvements after losing all their County Councillors last year and losing four seats to Labour the year before that in the last City Council elections. Defending five seats they have a tough task at hand and will likely need to cut their losses in certain places and concentrate resources into wards which will be most closely contested. Thorpe Hamlet offers the best prospect of this, being the only successful Green defence in 2016 and only marginally going to Labour in the County Council elections last year. A disappointing night is on the cards for the Greens, and holding Thorpe Hamlet would offer a small crumb of comfort to a party which has fallen victim to a surging Labour group in Norwich.
Labour will clearly be targeting the five Green seats up for election this year and will see this as a chance to increase their majority on the City Council, looking set to do just that. If the previous election cycles are anything to go by, Labour will be very confident of this outcome and will be pouring resources into unseating Greens in the tightest areas such as Thorpe Hamlet and Nelson. Having seen off the Conservatives at their peak in the polls during the County Council elections last year, barring any huge upsets, Labour ought to hold all seats they currently have councillors in. Anything less than a gain of five seats would probably go down as a disappointing night for a Labour Party enjoying immense electoral success in the Norwich area.
The Liberal Democrats will be hoping for success outside of their Eaton stronghold, although this looks rather unlikely to be materialising into any gains for the party this year. Things have only been improving very slowly in terms of votes across the city, and with the Greens and Labour competing so closely, it will be tough to make any real inroads. They will be hoping to capitalise on a decent third place performance in Lakenham in the County Council elections last year, eyeing up second place this time around. A comfortable win in Eaton and a modest improvement in their share of the vote across the city would mark a successful evening for the Liberal Democrats.
As with all elections, nothing will be decided of course until polls close on May 3rd at 10pm. Stand by for more pre-election analysis, with ward breakdown and persons nominated…
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