Well… Not the Tories who probably did a fraction worse than they feared and most people predicted with more than half of the Councils they controlled lost and over 1,050 Councillors lost.
Labour had a relatively good election with over 500 gains, but they really needed to do better in the Midlands and especially in the West Midlands where the Tory vote held up really well.
The LibDems and Greens had a great election. And have come out the other end probably the biggest winners with over 400 and almost 250 respectively.
The biggest shocks of the election were probably East Herts where the Tories started with 40 out of 50 Councillors and then lost 27. This was repeated elsewhere in East Suffolk where the Tories lost 24 seats, Wealden where they lost 25 seats, Horsham 21 seats… Bracknell Forest where they lost 27 seats…Charnwood they lost 16 seats including the Leader of the Council, Jonathan Morgan, the husband of former Loughborough MP and Education secretary Nicky Morgan.
A notable exception was the loss of the Labour majority in Slough where 18 Labour Councillors lost… but then that council is bankrupt and selling off assets to try and balance the books.
The number of Councils that have gone into No Overall Control (NOC) is also remarkable and it will produce some very interesting coalitions of all shades of the rainbow. This could spell some trouble for the development world because coalitions are unsteady things and many of them would have run campaigns that involved opposition to development.
Indeed, in East Herts the biggest Party is now the Greens who is opposed to a 10k new homes development. Just weeks before the election the opposition LibDems tried to stop the Local Plan in West Berks. They picked up 13 seats and is now in overall control of the Council with a healthy majority. Will they now slam on the breaks? Only time will tell!
Manoeuvring your way through the political quagmire that has unfolded today will be tricky and development just got a lot more difficult in many places. You will really have to understand local communities and work with them in a meaningful way to get permission. Make your S106 and CiL work and go that extra mile to prove to the local residents that you care about their community. The world has changed dramatically and as an industry we will have to change with it or we will be in the same boat as Slough… in the bankruptcy court!
Anyway, I am sure you are all sick and tired of my pontifications. If you are worried, don’t be! Call your uncle Henry and I will sort it out for you. Our team is very experienced, and we’ll steer your through the troubled waters to the clear blue… wait, let me stop there…. Best not mention blue for a few days!
07736121014 or firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: I must credit the BBC for their rather nice maps showing all the Councils that changed hands.