BATTLE lines have been drawn as the parties across Colchester declared their runners and riders for the elections on May 2.

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

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 with 25 seats but is just one seat short of an overall majority, meaning it is the only party in opposition at the moment.

There are 17 seats which will be battled over in the forthcoming election and all incumbent councillors are standing again.

READ MORE: Full list of candidates

Of these seven seats are held by the Tories, five by the Lib Dems, four by Labour and one by the independents.

The Greens, Lib Dems, Labour and Conservative parties are fielding candidates in all contests.

There are four independent candidates and one UKIP contender.

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 for small change.

However, due to the current political make up, a swing of just one seat could make all the difference.

The Liberal Democrats will be hoping to hold on to key seats across the board.

Former mayor Helen Chuah will aim to keep her seat in St Anne’s and St John’s. History would dictate it is a safe seat, but as former Lib Dem leader Paul Smith found out last year to his cost, there is no room to be complacent.

Likewise Stanway Lib Dem Lesley Scott-Boutell will be hoping she doesn’t go the same way as daughter Jessica, who was ousted from her seat by the Tories 12 months ago.

The leaders of all the main three parties will also face re-election this year.

Lib Dem Mark Cory is standing again in Wivenhoe, Tim Young will contest the Greenstead seat for Labour and Tory Darius Laws is standing in Castle ward.

Mark Goacher will again contest the Castle ward for the Greens, having lost last year by 11 votes to the Conservatives.

The Mersea seat could be of interest with seven candidates - the most for any seat in the election. Tory incumbent councillor Patricia Moore will go up against independent candidate John Akker, who spearheads the Stop 350 campaign, the Green party’s Peter Banks, Labour’s Bry Mogrdige, Lib Dem Jenny Stevens and independent Carl Powling.

The seat also has the only UKIP candidate for the election with David Broise standing under the banner.