WE thought we would start on a relatively straighforward ward (if there is such a thing in Thurrock?).
When UKIP were in their pomp, there was alwyas the feeling that they had to take the shoreline wards in order to properly wrest control. Apart from Tilbury St Chads, they never did.
Grays Riverside was a classic example. In 2014, UKIP got 699 votes. In 2016, 748. So the big question is where will those votes go? The standard answer is spread between stay at home, mainly Labour and some Conservatives.
The incumbent is possibly one of the nicest councillors you could have the pleasure to meet. Martin Kerin was brought up campaigning for Andrew Mackinlay and in the last four years has become a sold member of the Labour team.
Whoever gets in, it is the issues in the ward that will still be there. First of which is crime (interview with cllr Kerin below). It is also an area of great change that gives the local councillor, opportunities and responsibilities. There is also regeneration, infrastructure and the economy.
It is good to see former Aveley councillor, Wendy Herd name back on a ballot paper although you suspect Wendy maybe a paper candidate (a subject we will come to later).
Wendy was a very good portfolio holder who really encapsulated a certain brand of Conservatism.
Little is known about the Thurrock Independent’s candidate but it will be interesting to see how many votes they get. A good result will be over 200 but it is all a question of whether their team can get down to the riverside. They know and we know they are former ukippers but will the public?
Lab maj in 2014: 154
Lab maj in 2016: 109
So: Labour hold
Wendy Herd (Conservative Party)
Martin Kerin (Labour Party)
Shane McDonagh (Thurrock Independents)