A third of the seats at Norwich City Council are up for grabs next year, in a battle which is likely to see Labour grappling to hold on to key areas. 

There are around 120 days until next year’s local elections get under way, with 13 of City Hall’s 39 seats up for grabs – one in each three-member ward. 

Labour, the largest group on the council, has faced a series of defeats in local elections in recent years, having lost at least one seat to the Green group every year since 2019. 

And following a dramatic evening last month which saw four members quit the group to become independent, the party’s hold of the council hangs on a knife edge. 

Eastern Daily Press: Emma Corlett and Ian Stutely (back row) with Karen Davis and Cate Oliver (front)Emma Corlett and Ian Stutely (back row) with Karen Davis and Cate Oliver (front) (Image: Town Close Facebook)

Labour has gone from holding 31 seats in 2018 to just 19 today. 

One of the independent member's seats – Ian Stutely in Town Close - is up for grabs in the election, which the leading party will be fighting to regain. 

The independent group’s departure from the party was largely down to a row which started over Mr Stutely being prevented from standing in next year's local elections for Labour. 

How successful Mr Stutely - who has been a member for Town Close since 2018 - will be in the May elections remains to be seen. 

Eastern Daily Press: Ian StutelyIan Stutely (Image: Labour Party)

While some councils, like West Norfolk, have many independent members, City Hall hasn’t returned one in at least 20 years. 

It is likely the Greens will throw everything they can into Wensum ward, with an eye on claiming another scalp there.

The Green’ Liam Calvert took the seat in 2023 in a nail-biting finish with just 22 more votes than his Labour rival – the first time the party has won in the area since 2014. 

Eastern Daily Press: Liam Calvert who claimed Wensum in 2023Liam Calvert who claimed Wensum in 2023 (Image: Denise Bradley/Newsquest)

While the party’s lead in the ward was small, it was a substantial 570 vote increase over the year before, something the group will be hoping to build on.

There are also three senior Labour cabinet members on the ballot, including council leader Mike Stonard. 

Mr Stonard is expected to comfortably hold onto his Catton Grove seat, an area which once faced competition from the Conservatives but was comfortably Labour this year.

However, the Tories have struggled to get any sort of foothold in Norwich in over a decade, having lost their last two seats in 2012. 

Eastern Daily Press: Norwich will go to the polls in May 2024Norwich will go to the polls in May 2024 (Image: Copyright Archant Norfolk 2016)

At this year’s elections, the party’s highest turnout was 552 votes in Crome, 747 less than Labour’s Matt Packer. 

Those looking to Norwich in the hope that it may provide an indication for how a general election - which must be held by the end of January 2025 - may turn out may be best to look elsewhere.

In 2023, the party bucked the national trend which saw Labour make significant gains elsewhere, including in Broadland in Norfolk.

The Liberal Democrats are likely to hold on to their Eaton seat, which has been comfortably yellow for decades.

But the party is also unlikely to expand beyond the boundaries of the ward, having failed to secure another seat since 2008 when they claimed Lakenham.

City Hall is currently made up of 19 Labour members, 13 Green, four independents and three Liberal Democrats. 

Polling day will be May 2.

Candidates standing in the election will be published ahead of the election.

Norwich City Council is the only council in Norfolk which will be up for election in 2024 but on the same day there will be a vote held to elect the police and crime commissioner for the county.