Local elections 2022: Labour wins Redbridge once again
Josh Mellor, LDRS
- Credit: LDRS
Redbridge Labour has won a “historic” third election in a row and increased their overall majority.
The Conservatives remain the only opposition party, although their number of elected councillors has now dropped from 11 to five.
Three seats on the council will not be decided for a further three weeks due to the sudden death of a candidate standing in Mayfield ward.
Labour leader Jas Athwal, who is also a candidate in Mayfield, gave a victory speech to his party despite not yet being re-elected himself.
To applause, he told Labour members: “Today is a historic day for Labour, because we have equalled the highest number of seats won by any party ever in the history of Redbridge.
“I do have to say, we have been entrusted by residents, they have shown faith in us, in you all.
“Now begins the work… Make sure that you stay true to Labour values, to our values, to the promises you made today and that you do not forget them over the next four years.”
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Emblazoned in red rosettes, the group of newly elected Labour councillors and members gathered on stage and chanted “four more years”.
The Conservative group left Redbridge Sports Centre without making a statement following the final results.
Group leader Councillor Linda Huggett and former leader Paul Canal retained their seats, while deputy leader Howard Berlin and veteran councillor Suzanne Nolan lost theirs.
Cllr Berlin lost his Fairlop seat to newly elected Labour councillor Bob Chattaway by less than ten votes.
The results leave Conservative councillors representing only three wards in the north east of the borough: Monkhams, Bridge and Fairlop.
Labour now dominate the two previously shared wards Churchfields and South Woodford.
Ilford North MP Wes Streeting was present, supporting Redbridge Labour throughout the night but no other MPs made an appearance.
Labour’s manifesto was published with less than two weeks to go before the election. Although it leads with the claim that Redbridge Labour is “ambitious” for the borough, it offers limited new ideas.
The main new promises are to return a heated outdoor swimming pool to Valentines Park and bring a “world-class university” to the borough. No other details about a new university have been revealed.
Other promises include upgrading cricket and tennis facilities, working for more GP services, a 24-hour complaints service and more street cleaning.
£10million has been promised to resurface local roads, some of which have continued to be patched-up, without full resurfacing, since the 1980s.
Some of the manifesto policies are already well established: the borough’s CCTV upgrade was a pledge first made in 2018 and some of the new enforcement hubs have already been rolled out. The manifesto also promises a new hub on the Orchard Estate in Woodford.
A promise to build five new community hubs was first announced in 2018, but none have yet been completed due to their link with Redbridge’s failure to deliver the new housing developments that would pay for them.
Jas Athwal has repeatedly celebrated “doubling” the size of Fairlop Waters Country Park, although the Conservatives say the additional parkland has been gradually returned to Redbridge as part of a decades long gravel extraction contract.