Post by Pete Whitehead on Feb 18, 2018 10:06:25 GMT
Composition of the council is Con 26 Lab 16 LD 5 vacant 1 (Con seat) In May Con defending 9* seats, Lab 6, LD 2 * assumes double vacancy in Hatfield Villages
The Conservatives would need to lose 3 seats to lose their overall majority which is technically possible but unlikely given the configuration of seats being defended this year. Welwyn Hatfield had all-up elections on new boundaries in 2016 so the candidate elected in third place in each ward is up this year. In many cases this means that the weaker party is defending in split wards, of which there are a few. The Conservatives are safe at least in Brookmans Park & Little Heath, Northaw & Cuffley, Welwyn East, Panshangar and Sherrards while Labour are safe in Hatfield Central and Hatfield South West.
IN Hatfield the remaining three wards are ones to watch. Hatfield East was usually a fairly safe Conservative ward but boundary changes which removed Essendon and added more of Oxlease made it more marginal and enabled Labour to win the third seat here in 2016. It's still a Tory leaning ward on balance and they should be able to retake this. Hatfield Villages is also a usually safe ward and the Conservatives won all three seats reasonably easily in 2016 but lost one of them in a by-election on general election day by 7 votes. This is a heavily student populated ward which clearly helped Labour to victory then. IN a normal local election the Conservatives should be able to hold on but the double-header possibly creates more of an opening for Labour. Welham Green & Hatfield South elected 3 Lib Dems in 2016 with a very big lead for incumbent Paul Zukowskyj but the third candidate was elected with only a 17 vote lead over the Conservatives. It could be a difficult defence without the Zukowskyj coat-tails but the Lib Dems seem to be on a roll in this area and a hold is probably the most likely outcome.
In Welwyn Garden City there are a number of split wards and here the Conservatives are also on the offensive in most of them. However they performed very poorly in the area in the county council elections last year which suggest they are more likely to lose further ground. Here the Conservatives are defending in Haldens ward where Labour topped the poll in 2016. In a by-election later int he year the Conservatives held the seat they were defending but there was a surge in support for the Lib Dems which fed through to that party gaining the county council seat in May 2017. I would take it this was the more Lib Dem part of the division (with Panshangar remaining Tory) so they will face a duel threat here from Lib Dems and Labour and I'd make the Lib Dems favourite to take the seat. In Handside ward the sole Lib Dem elected in 2016 is defending this year which presents the possibility of a Tory gain. Again though given the weak Tory performance last May I'd favour the Lib Dems to hold. Finally Labour are defending three marginal wards in the South of the town - Peartree, where the Lib Dems topped the poll in 2016, Hollybush, where the Conservatives did and Howlands where Labour won all three seats then but remains a marginal where the Conservatives are well capable of winning. Welwyn Garden City South (comprising Hollybush and Howlands wards) was another disappointing Conservative result last May but they were within 100 votes of winning still so remain competitive in both wards. I'd probably make Labour favourite in each of the three wards but not by much so there's a good chance they will drop the ball in at least one of them.
Finally Welwyn West should be a safe Conservative ward but Independent Sandra Kyriakides had won a seat in 2012 and almost held on on the enlarged boundaries in 2016. She was undoubtedly helped by the presence of incomplete Labour and Lib Dem slates so may fare less well in a single-vacancy election but an upset is at least possible here.
This means that in total 9 of 16 wards are potentially in play (indeed if the Conservatives are doing really badly by May then Panshangar and Sherrards could be too). My best guess is that the Lib Dems will gain Haldens and the Conservatives will gain Hatfield East meaning a net gain of one for the Lib Dems at the expense of Labour but many more changes are possible. Certainly the most interesting council in Hertfordshire this year (and the Conservatives really need to maintain their majority at the size it is to cushion them against likely losses in 2019)
If it is NOC who would run the council? A Tory minority or a coalition of the others
I don't know - I suppose it's always likeliest when a party has been in control for a long time that when they lose their majority the opposition parties will take over but for them to be in that position the Conservatives need to see a net loss of four seats (as three losses would still leave them with half the seats and the Mayor's casting vote). A lot would have to go wrong for them for that to happen. Firstly they would have to fail to make any gains when there are five quite plausible targets (Hatfield East, Hatfield South/Welham Green, Handside, Hollybush, Howlands). They would then need to lose Haldens (likely), both seats in Hatfield Villages (very unlikely) and the only other possible loss is to the Independent in Welwyn West. Whether an Independent representing a fundamentally very Tory area would want to put a Lib/Lab council in power may be moot. Beyond that you would need to look for a very unlikely Lab gain in Sherrards or for something very odd to happen in Panshangar So I don't think the question arises
6 May 2016 Con 28, Lab 15, Lib Dem 5 Now Con 26, Lab 16, Lib Dem 5, Vacant 1
Following boundary changes, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council was elected in an all-out election on 5 May 2016, but has reverted to elections by thirds.
To retire on 3 May 2018: Con 8, Lab 6, Lib Dem 2 To retire on 2 May 2019: Con 10, Lab 5, Lib Dem 1 To retire on 7 May 2020: Con 10, Lab 4, Lib Dem 2
17 November 2016 – Haldens – Con hold – Nathaniel Chapman (Con) held the by-election, following the resignation of Malcolm Spinks (Con), for health reasons (retires 2018).
4 May 2017 – Panshanger – Con hold – Terry Mitchinson (Con) held the by-election, following the resignation of Martyn Levitt (Con) (retires 2020).
8 June 2017 – Hatfield Villages – Lab gain from Con – Tara-Mary Lyons (Lab) held the by-election, following the death of Howard Morgan (Con), aged 70 (retires 2019).
14 December 2017 – Handside – Lib Dem hold – Siobhan Elam (Lib Dem) held the by-election, following the resignation of Rachel Basch (Lib Dem), who had taken up a politically restricted post, after getting into the fast track civil service scheme (retires 2018).
On 11 February 2018, it was reported that Lynne Sparks (Con) (Hatfield Villages), the Mayor of Welwyn Hatfield, had died of a rare form of cancer, just weeks after being admitted to hospital (retires 2020).
Elected on 6 May 2016: Con 8, Lab 6, Lib Dem 2 Defended on 3 May 2018: Con 8, Lab 6, Lib Dem 2
Post by Pete Whitehead on Apr 9, 2018 10:08:22 GMT
19 seats up in 16 wards
19 Con 18 Lab (only 1 candidate for 2 seats in Northaw & Cuffley) 18 LD (no candidate in Welwyn West) 6 Independents (Hatfield Villages (1/2), Hollybush, Panshangar, Sherrards, Welwyn East, Welwyn West) - Indpendent in Welwyn West is a former councillor for that ward 1 Abolish the Town council - (Hatfield SW)
Absence of UKIP isn't a total surprise - absence of Greens perhaps more so
Retiring Councillors (16): Con 8, Lab 6, Lib Dem 2
Seeking Re-Election (12): Con 4, Lab 5, Lib Dem 2, Con standing as Independent 1 *Siobhan Elam (Lib Dem) (Handside) – elected in by-election (14.12.2017) Pankit Shah (Lab) (Hatfield Central) Kieran Thorpe (Lab) (Hatfield South West) Duncan Bell (Con) (Hatfield Villages) *Lynn Chesterman (Lab) (Hollybush) Max Holloway (Lab) (Howlands) Bernard Sarson (Con) (Northaw and Cuffley) Darren Bennett (Con) (Panshanger) *Helen Beckett (Lab) (Peartree) Jon Beckerman (Con) (Sherrards) – standing as Independent *Helen Quenet (Lib Dem) (Welham Green and Hatfield South) Steven Markiewicz (Con) (Welwyn East)
Standing Down (4): Con 3, Lab 1 John Dean (Con) (Brookmans Park and Little Heath) Nathaniel Chapman (Con) (Haldens) – elected in by-election (17.11.2016) Lenny Brandon (Lab) (Hatfield East) Nick Taylor (Con) (Welwyn West)
Sherrards wasn;t on my radar at all - certainly not as a potential Lib Dem gain. For sure they'll gain Haldens and 'm now worried about Panshangar too so a loss of control is a possibility depending on what happens in Hatfield Villages and Welwyn West. The results here were appalling last year. I have a theory that Welwyn Garden City is lately attracting a lot of the types who would like to live in St Albans but can't afford to and this is leading to a growing Lib Dem support
Conservatives have held Welwyn West easily so the result will rest on the two seats in Hatfield Villages. If Labour can nick another seat there then the Tories will lose control but they would need a good turnout by students. This is the ward that Sweary Mary won by 7 votes on general election day last year
Post by Pete Whitehead on May 4, 2018 16:59:26 GMT
I've only just noticed that Labour actually won Haldens and the Lib Dems were third. I think I just assumed the Lib dems were going to gain it when I'd seen the other results and then saw what I expected to. So Lib Dems gained 2 from the Conservatives and 1 from Labour while Labour and Conservatives each gained one from each other.
Final score on the night Con 7 (-2) Lab 4 (-1) LD 6 (+3)