The Independent Community Group (ICG) has announced it will run again in this May's local elections, ending months of speculation.

The group won six seats on Hounslow Council in 2006 and formed a coalition with the Conservatives, but lost all six councillors at the 2010 elections.

However, it believes its chances were hit by local polling taking place on the same night as the general election four years ago and are confident of doing better this time around.

ICG campaigns manager and former Isleworth councillor Phil Andrews said the group would field candidates in the wards of Isleworth and Syon, where it held all six seats from 2006-10. It also expects to either field its own candidates or endorse others in different wards.

He added that it had considered staying out of the electoral fray and acting as a 'critical friend' to existing councillors, but those councillors had not been interested in that offer.

"It really was a case of if you can't join them, beat them. Although we would have been happy to have worked in a different way, it was not to be and thankfully we have kept ourselves in a state of readiness throughout the inter-election period," said Mr Andrews.

"The group intends to make community empowerment a cornerstone of its programme, and will use the election period to campaign against closures of community facilities and cuts to essential services."

Dave Cox, former chairman of the Hounslow Federation of Tenants and Residents Associations (HFTRA), is among the ICG's new members.

Former HFTRA chairman Dave Cox, who has joined the Independent Community Group
 

Mr Cox, of Brentford, resigned from HFTRA, the borough's largest residents group, last year after a public row with council bosses. The group, which claimed to represent 24,000 households across the borough, was dissolved shortly after.

ICG chairman Ian Speed said: "Dave will be a tremendous asset in the ICG's work to empower tenants and residents."