Tories fail to take Colchester
The Liberal Democrats have seen off a Conservative challenge to take control of Colchester Borough Council.
IT may not have been a great General Election night for the Liberal Democrats but locally the party was celebrating after it saw off a Conservative bid to wrestle away control of Colchester Borough Council.
A total of 20 out of the 60 seats were up for grabs going into Thursday’s local elections with the Tories, with their 27 members, needing to secure four more seats to take overall control of the authority.
The council has been run by an alliance of Liberal Democrats, Labour and the Highwoods group for the past two years and that looks set to continue after the Conservatives lost key target seats.
The Lib Dems picked up three more seats from the Tories, putting them on 27 which left them as the party with the most councillors.
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Labour and the Highwoods Independents came out of the election in the same position as before the polling stations opened with seven councillors and three councillors respectively.
The changes will also see some old faces of Colchester politics return to the fray with the election of former council leader Bill Frame for the Lib Dems after a closely fought battle in the Castle ward against the Conservatives.
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Also back on to the council was another former leader, Colin Sykes, for the Lib Dems who took the Stanway ward from sitting councillor Gaye Pyman – the only incumbent to lose a seat.
The overall turnout for the vote was more than 65% with the highest participation in the Pyefleet ward where former Lib Dem Terry Sutton won for the Conservative party.
Mr Sutton, himself a former mayor of the town, took 699 votes in a close contest with James Raven with 681 on a turnout of nearly 75%.
The close call led to a re-count of the ballot papers for the ward but the same result was returned second time round.
Colchester Borough Council elects 20 councillors each year for three years, with a break taken in the fourth year.