The Conservatives look certain to keep a strong majority in Wealden, one of the most rural districts in Sussex. They have a headstart on opponents with four of the 55 council seats being taken up uncontested.

Roy Galley, Sylvia Martin, Jan Dunk and Jonica Fox will all be spared nervous moments when the votes are counted.

The Conservatives are also guaranteed seats in other wards where they have two of three candidates competing for two available seats.

The key battles will take place in the district's towns Crowborough, Uckfield, Heathfield and especially in Polegate, Hailsham and Willingdon in the far south.

Major issues include a legal loophole in the area's development plan which has been exploited by housing developers.

The Liberal Democrats made gains in the 2003 elections, picking up 14 seats against the Conservatives' 34, and hope to score more this time around. Independents hold seven of the seats, mostly around Hailsham and Polegate.

A total of 117 candidates will fight for the seats including 51 Conservatives, 36 Lib Dems, 15 independents, twelve Greens, two from Labour and one from UKIP.