Libs Dems fail to make breakthrough in Brentwood

The Liberal Democrats failed to make a breakthrough at Brentwood Borough Council which remains in no overall control. It means there are 19 Conservatives, 17 Liberal Democrats and three Labour councillors – leaving the council in no overall control following an election which saw all 39 seats up for election.

The numbers have barely moved from the 18 Conservatives, 17 Liberal Democrats and two Labour councillors that made up the councillor before polling. Lib Dem group leader Councillor Barry Aspinell described the party’s frustration at the failure to take control of the council – which has been controlled by a coalition between Lib Dems and Labour for the past year.

He said: “Five weeks of campaigning and putting our points forward and we are where we are now exactly the same numbers. It’s very frustrating.”

The party came close to taking seats in Shenfield where it was 17 votes short of taking an extra seat and 21 votes short of taking an extra seat in Ingatestone, Fryerning and Mountnessing. He added: “We have come close in Shenfield and Ingatestone of winning seats there. Our votes are up.”

Councillor Aspinell expected further conversations with Labour to decide who will make up the new administration. He added: “It looks like a coalition is on the cards should the arrangement be to everyone liking.

“It has gone very well and Brentwood is a different place to what is was before last year. My personal priorities are to carry on what we have been doing which is doing a really good job.”

Conservative group leader Councillor Will Russell – who won a seat on the newly created Brizes, Stondon Massey and South Weald ward said given results elsewhere in the country he would take a status quo as a victory.

He said: “We had a strong manifesto and stuck to the plans and did not get distracted. The result left the council effectively where it was before. Ill take that as a victory because we haven’t lost numbers. I think the Lib Dems expected to make gains they thought they were going to take us out totally and the residents proved them wrong.”

Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter