Norwich City Council Elections 2021 - Labour keep control of City Hall
- Credit: EDP pics Â© 2007
Norwich City Council remains in the control of Labour after an election in which what little drama there was centred on one ward.
Twelve of the council's 39 seats were up for grabs, but it was largely a case of as you were.
The most interest focused on Thorpe Hamlet. Former Green councillor Nigel Utton had quit the party to go independent and then resigned altogether after describing coronavirus as "the biggest con in history".
The Greens were determined to win it back, although Labour fancied their chances. But it was former Green group leader Ash Haynes who emerged victorious.
She triumphed with 1,281 votes, 226 ahead of the 1,055 garnered by Labour's Claire Kidman.
Ms Haynes, who had represented Town Close ward from 2010 to 2018, said: "It feels really good to be back. We put the work in in Thorpe Hamlet.
"Nigel went independent and we were not on board with what he had been saying at all.
"But the voters stuck with us because I think they really believe in Green policies."
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Fellow Green city councillor Ben Price took the county council Thorpe Hamlet seat from Labour on Friday and Ms Haynes said: "It's great to have Green representation at county and city.
"There are so many issues such as parking and rat-running.Ben will be great at tackling those and I'm really looking forward to working with the rest of the Greens to make positive change for residents."
There was no change in any of the other wards. Labour retained Mile Cross, Bowthorpe, Crome, Catton Grove, Lakenham, University, Town Close, Wensum,
The Greens held Mancroft and Nelson, while the Liberal Democrats kept Eaton, where they have all three ward councillors.
James Wright, leader of the Lib Dem group, who retained Eaton, said: "I am delighted to have been re-elected in Eaton and I am looking forward to continuing my work at City Hall.
"Having Liberal Democrats at City Hall means we can challenge and be a critical friend."
Mr Wright said the £153m Western Link - which Conservatives on Norfolk County Council want to build to connect the Norwich Northern Distributor Road to the A47, had been an issue on the doorstep - with the city Lib Dem group not supporting it, but the county group backing it.
He said: "The Western Link was one of the issues which came up. It doesn't directly effect Eaton residents, but they have a view on it."
Labour council leader Alan Waters, while conceding it had been a difficult set of elections for the Labour Party overall, said he was pleased with the performance in Norwich.
He said: "To come out with all the seats we defended and to perform well in some of those we did not win, such as Nelson and Thorpe Hamlet, was good news.
"I like to think there has been recognition of the role the city council has played in supporting people during the pandemic, such as getting grants to people to run their businesses.
"Looking forward to next year, there will be different issues. I think the issues will be about better housing, well paid jobs and investment in the city."
He said coronavirus had meant it had been a difficult election to meet people face to face,
He said: "When we were able to get out and talk to people, my first question was 'how have you managed over the past year?'
"We got quite a mixed range of responses. While there were people looking forward to getting vaccinated and having more freedom, who were giving the government credit for that, I think there were others who were very appreciative of the extremely hard work our officers had put in to get support for them during the pandemic."
The results mean the council is now made up of 27 Labour councillors, nine Green Party and three Liberal Democrats.
Sandra Bogelein, leader of the Green group, said: "The vote share and the fact we've large majorities in some seats does show that voters know we put the climate emergency front and centre and residents at the top.
"People have voted for strong opposition at City Hall and we are keen to fight for residents."
The election in the 13th ward - Sewell - has been postponed until June 17 after the death of candidate Eve Collishaw.
Overall turnout was 36.2pc.