MPC Eastern presents the new post-election political landscape

Last week, MPC was delighted to co-host a breakfast briefing with Strutt and Parker to map out the political power shifts in the Eastern region following the Local Elections and explain what it all means for the planning.

Our event held in Chelmsford placed a spotlight on some of the biggest election night shocks in the region, including Uttlesford where the Residents For Uttlesford inflicted the biggest loss on a Conservative controlled council and became the first resident led District Council in the UK.

The team further presented the new political landscape in Thurrock, Basildon, Chelmsford and Colchester before then providing insights into the key players and priorities for the new administrations for the next municipal year.

The Thurrock Conservatives are most likely to remain in minority control after both Labour and Independent groups rejected the opportunity to work together and take control of the authority. As such, Thurrock’s key players are likely to retain their positions while no single party will control the Planning Committee.

In Basildon, Labour and the Independents have grabbed with both hands the opportunity to form a new administration with a key focus on regeneration. While the new balance of power will see a new Labour chairman and Independent Vice-Chairman of the Planning Committee, the key issues of parking and affordable housing will continue to dominate the committee’s discussions on planning applications. The Council’s submission of its Local Plan to the Secretary of State in March also means that the new administration will not seek to make any changes to it.

We can also expect the new Liberal Democrat controlled Council in Chelmsford to press ahead with the Local Plan. Although, they will be doubtlessly tempted to inject some Liberal Democrat DNA into the plan. Cllr Stephen Robinson will be the head of the new administration in Chelmsford, which saw his party make a spectacular gain of 26 seats on election night earlier this month.

Attendees also heard during the Q&A that announcements are likely to be made during the summer that provide fresh information on housing delivery across south Essex as a part of the area’s Joint Strategic Plan.

All eyes will now turn to each authority’s Annual General Meeting later this month where leadership positions and committee appointments will be confirmed.

Joel Fayers - Director