The No Overall Control authorities are perhaps the most interesting part of the picture. Areas where control has shifted from one of the main parties to another (e.g. Conservative to Labour) tend to remain fairly stable; the main parties understand that they have to consider the needs of the whole authority area over several electoral cycles.
This is not always the case with some of the smaller parties and Independents who can be more focused on the more immediate needs of their own neighbourhoods.
Added to this, many of the councils now in No Overall Control did not expect the scale of change. Take East Herts as an example, prior to the election East Herts was a solid Conservative area returning 50/50 Conservative candidates in 2015 and 40/50 as recently as 2019. After May the authority is in No Overall Control with 19 Greens, 16 Conservatives, 10 Liberal Democrats, and five Labour councillors. Understandably, many of the Greens did not expect to be running the council – and had campaigned on that basis. Now they face the reality of administration and they are having to reconsider their policies to deliver, for example, on housing targets. Officers in East Herts and similar areas are working hard to support this transition.
Land and Planning
For the land and planning sectors, the changes are fundamental to the way we operate. The new administrations want to implement their agendas but are learning that it will take time to pass their policy through the system – particularly the Local Plan making system.However, developers and land agents should be taking a close look at the policies new administrations campaigned on and start to design their schemes accordingly to ensure the smoothest possible ride through the planning system.
15 August 2023