Mildenhall: Conservatives beat UKIP by just three votes in by-election

UKIP's David Chandler lost by just three votes

UKIP's David Chandler lost by just three votes - Credit: Archant

A nail-bitingly close election between parish council colleagues saw one pip the other by just three votes.

Conservative John Bloodworth fended off the challenge of UK Independence Party’s David Chandler to claim the seat in Market ward on Forest Heath District Council in a by-election on Thursday last week.

Mr Bloodworth, the chairman of Mildenhall Parish Council, got 266 votes to Mr Chandler’s 263. Five ballot papers had to be marked as void.

Mr Chandler missed out on election to the county council by just nine votes earlier this year. There was a 16.88% turnout for the election, which just two candidates contested.

Mr Bloodworth said: “I’m very pleased, obviously. I was surprised it was such a close call. It was a low turnout, but you can blame that on a combination of things, maybe the weather and it being so close to Christmas.

“I want to help keep residents up to date with facilities around the town. I’d like to help the industrialists in the town as well, because I was one myself until I recently retired.

“I had a quiet Christmas and hopefully will be raring to go to take up office in the new year.”

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Mr Bloodworth wants to work with the county council to install another crossing along Kingsway in Mildenhall.

The by-election was held to replace long-serving district councillor Malcolm Smith, who died in October.

Mr Smith served with both men on Mildenhall Parish Council, and both candidates had special ties to the former chairman of Forest Heath’s development control committee.

Mr Bloodworth was first co-opted onto the parish council by Mr Smith 12 years ago, while one of Mr Chandler’s election pledges was to rejuvenate the St Johns Close recreation area and rename it the Malcolm Smith Memorial Ground.