IN three out of every four years, there is borough council election in Colchester.

So our readers will be pretty familiar with what’s going on between now and May 3.

At the moment, Colchester Council is run by a coalition of the Liberal Democrats, Labour and the Highwoods Independents.

The Conservative Party is the largest single group but is three seats short of an overall majority, meaning it is the only party in opposition at the moment.

So what are the potential scenarios?

Firstly, because of election by thirds, the likelihood of large scale change is small, so the most likely outcome is ‘very little change’.

For that to happen, the Liberal Democrats will have to hold on to key seats in St Ann’s and St John’s, where current council leader Paul Smith is up for election, and in Stanway, where waste boss Jessica Scott-Boutell is facing the public.

Logic would dictate Mr Smith should be confident going into the poll, with the ward being a historic Lib Dem stronghold - not to mention his two colleagues - Mike Hogg and former mayor Helen Chuah - being well-regarded.

It is hard to see the result going any way other than Mr Smith’s.

It appears to be no secret the Conservatives are targeting Miss Scott-Boutell’s Stanway seat, so expect to see Tory candidate Paul Dundas stomping the streets hard over the next three weeks.

The Lib Dems will also be expected to put extra resources into canvassing in Mile End and New Town and Christ Church.

In the former, previous cabinet member Dominic Graham is standing down, to be replaced by Myland community councillor David King, while stalwart Annie Feltham has opted not to stand in the latter.

In her place will be Catherine Spindler.

Change would appear extremely unlikely in 11 of the 17 wards.

It will be worth keeping an eye on Castle, Wivenhoe and Mersea and Pyefleet.

Castle could almost go any way.

It will be an interesting match up with two new candidates being fielded by the Conservatives and Labour against the well-respected Green Party leader Mark Goacher and former Lib Dem councillor Jo Hayes.

Mr Goacher could be the king maker here, if he doesn’t become the king himself.

John Akker’s profile has risen in the Mersea ward and he will challenge sitting member, Robert Davidson.