Happy Easter from the SP Broadway Team

Where are SP Broadway supporting your planning applications in 2024?

SP Broadway has had a busy first quarter supporting your planning applications with political and community engagement advice; ranging from small residential sites through strategic land to hotels, restaurants, business parks, care homes, golf clubs and film studios.

Your planning applications have taken us from Birmingham to Canterbury, Portsmouth, and the London Boroughs, the home counties, Wiltshire, North Somerset, Sussex, Berkshire, North Warwickshire and Tamworth to name a handful.

We are very grateful for your continuing trust in the SP Broadway team, our political and community engagement insight, and ability to unpick tricky politics.

What to expect at the May local elections?

While there have been some painful by-elections over the last few months, the biggest test for the Government before the expected October/November General Election will be the local elections on 2nd May when almost 2,600 councillors will be up for election as well as the Combined Authority Mayors and the Mayor of London.

It is expected to be a bad night for the Conservatives with some predicting they will lose half their local council seats. The Chairman of the Party, Richard Holden MP, stated that the local election will be tough because many council seats won in 2021 were off the back of the ‘vaccine bounce’ following the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Here are six councils where we are supporting your projects and local elections will he held:

Cherwell District Council: Cherwell Council is currently under a minority Conservative administration and elects in thirds. While the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Labour failed to agree on a coalition last year due in part to national Labour Party interference, there may be more effective cooperation this year and veteran leader Cllr Barry Wood may finally relinquish the leadership after two decades.

Tamworth Borough Council: Tamworth Borough Council is currently under a minority Conservative administration and elects in thirds. The by-election in Tamworth following Chris Pincher’s resignation in October 2023 saw Labour overturn a majority of 20,000. With both this result and last year’s local elections seeing Labour remove the Conservative majority, it will be no surprise if Labour either becomes the largest party if not the outright majority in the council.

Three Rivers District Council: Three Rivers Council is currently under a majority Liberal Democrat administration. With the political momentum very much in the Liberal Democrat’s favour when it comes to Home Counties councils, we would expect the Liberal Democrats to further solidify their majority.

Swindon Borough Council: Swindon Borough Council is currently under a majority Labour administration. With the momentum both at a national level and in the council itself firmly in Labour’s favour, we would expect Swindon to bolster its majority at the elections.

Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council: Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council is under a minority coalition of Liberal Democrats, Greens and Independents, with informal support from Labour. While there may be minor changes, the coalition will likely continue as the informal support from the Labour party will scupper any Conservative plans to form a minority administration as the largest party.

Wokingham Borough Council: Wokingham Council is under a majority coalition of Liberal Democrats, Labour and Independents. We expect that, due to the national political momentum, both the Liberal Democrats and Labour will win seats with the Liberal Democrats possibly securing an outright majority.

What to expect at the Autumn General Election ?

In terms of the Autumn General Election you should continue to prepare for planning and development policies under a Labour Government. Evolution of the NPPF rather than revolution according to Matt Pennycook’s recent comments.

Happy Easter from the SP Broadway team.

Author: Edward Poynton

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