Communities across Britain such as Henley-on-Thames are locked in fierce contests, with traditional party loyalties second only to immediate concerns about the economy, crumbling infrastructure and the National Health Service.

Although it has traditionally been a Conservative Party stronghold, the area could change stripes. The Tories have been beset by slow growth, crumbling public services and a series of scandals, making them easy targets for critics on the left and right.

“It’s a blue (conservative) town, always has been,” said restaurant manager Sam Wilkinson. “My generation doesn’t necessarily vote blue, not necessarily, but at the same time who else are you going to vote for? It’s really hard.”

Residents continued to flock to the polling station, including Patricia Mulcahy, who is retired.

“The younger generation is very interested in change,” he said. “So, I think whatever happens in Henley in the country, there will be a big change.”

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