Tories take control of St Edmundsbury
By Liz HearnshawTWO senior Labour members on St Edmundsbury Borough council lost their seats last night as the Conservative group stormed to a resounding victory in this years local elections.
By Liz Hearnshaw
TWO senior Labour members on St Edmundsbury Borough council lost their seats last night as the Conservative group stormed to a resounding victory in this years local elections.
Council leader Ray Novak and his deputy Mark Ereira-Guyer were left reeling with shock as they were voted out of their coalition administration lost its grip on power.
The Conservative group claimed 28 of the council's 45 seats – a result group leader John Griffiths described as "tremendous" – in the election, which was a total postal vote.
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He added: "I am delighted by the results and it shows a fairly tremendous vote of confidence by the people of St Edmundsbury in the Conservative group.
"It is fairly devastating for the Labour party. We fielded an extremely good group of candidates, who were standing for the right reasons – to serve the people of the Borough. We look forward to doing that to the best of our ability."
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Mr Novak, who mastermined a takeover coup last year when a coalition group snatched control of the council from the Tories, lost his seat by just two votes.
"Obviously I am disappointed as no-one likes losing, more so for the efforts the Labour candidates put in, to try to put St Edmundsbury back on a good footing," he said.
"The previous Conservative administration has run the council into the ground – we have got it back and running and are now rejected by the electorate."
The running of the council will now be overseen by chief executive Devorah Cadman until a new leader is officially elected during an annual meeting on May 15.
The victorious Tory group have now pledged to push through the cattle market development, while reaffirming their commitment to bringing a multiplex cinema to Bury St Edmunds.
The Tories recorded a seven-seat gain from 21 seats to 28, while Labour dropped five seats from 17 to 12, the Independents gained a seat rising from two to three, and the Liberal Democrats retained two seats.
In Bury's first town council election, only one result was announced before midnight, with the Northgate ward claimed by Alan Turner of the Labour party.