There was little change in Epping Forest’s political makeup as yesterday’s results saw the district’s largest parties hold onto their seats.

The May 6 local elections which saw a voter turnout of 34.6 per cent, up from 30.46 in 2016 despite fears the coronavirus pandemic might hinder democratic engagement.

As was expected, the conservatives cemented their position as the largest party in the district, taking 14 seats, 11 of which were holds and three were vacant seat wins.

The Loughton Residents Association also had a strong showing, dominating voting in the seven Loughton wards up for election and holding all of its seats.

Liberal Democrat Jon Whitehouse held his Epping Hemnall Seat while Green Party councillor Simon Heap held his Buckhurst Hill East seat.

Labour, despite winning the third highest total vote share in the district (13 per cent), failed to secure its first seat on the council.

The party placed a candidate in every single district and county council seat up for election and Angela Ayre, secretary of the Epping Forest Constituency Labour Party, says they are “committed to becoming a power to be reckoned with in Epping Forest”.

Voter engagement was highest in Theydon Bois, Epping Hemnall, and Epping Lindsey and Thornwood Common wards with turnouts of 45 per cent, 43 per cent and 42 per cent respectively.

While in Loughton Alderton and Loughton Broadway the turnouts were as low as just 19 per cent.

Meanwhile, in the Essex County County Elections the Epping Forest Conservatives secured six of the seats up for grabs in the district.

Holly Whitbread opened up a 450 vote lead in the traditionally close run seat for Epping and Theydon Bois. The Tory councillor won 2,909 votes, beating out Liberal Democrat Jon Whitehouse who had 2,459.

Chris Pond of the Loughton Residents Association was the only non-Tory to win a seat, romping his way to a massive win (2,994 votes and 66 per cent of the vote share) in Loughton Central.

Epping Forest district council leader Cllr Chris Whitbread took the county seat in North Weald and Nazeing by a large margin with 73 per cent of the vote.

Across the county, the Conservative Party has retained political control of the council with 52 seats taken.

The Liberal Democrats now hold eight seats, Labour five, Green Party one, and the LRA one.

Three seats are held by independents, two by the Canvey Island Independent Party, two by Residents for Uttlesford and one by Rochford District Residents.

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