West Suffolk Council election mirrors national picture with Conservatives losing seats
- Credit: MARIAM GHAEMI
The Conservative Party has suffered losses in the election to the new West Suffolk Council, but has managed to hold onto overall political control.
This was the first ever election to the new authority that was formed to replace St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Forest Heath District Council.
In total, 64 councillors have been elected - down from 72 following a boundary review.
At the count today at Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre, the results delivered blows to the Conservative Party, which saw some highly-regarded candidates fail to be re-elected, and independent candidates celebrated gains.
The political make-up of the new council will be as follows: 36 Conservatives, 15 independent/unaligned, seven West Suffolk Independents, five Labour and one Green councillor. Eight of the seats were uncontested.
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Ten Conservative candidates, previously councillors on the former St Edmundsbury Borough Council or Forest Heath District Council, were unsuccessful in being elected onto the new West Suffolk Council.
Conservative John Griffiths, former council leader of St Edmundsbury and whose Ixworth seat was uncontested, said: “We have lost some very good councillors across the political spectrum. On the other hand I’m delighted there’s an overall majority.
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“We will always work in the interests of west Suffolk and put politics second and that’s the important thing.”
Some well-known former Conservative figures who were not re-elected included couple Ruth and David Bowman in Mildenhall, Andrew Speed, an incumbent for Abbeygate in Bury St Edmunds and most recent chairman of Bury St Edmunds Town Council, James Waters, an incumbent for The Rows and last leader of Forest Heath District Council and Colin Noble, an incumbent for Lakenheath.
Conservative Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill said she was pleased with the overall majority on West Suffolk Council, but “saddened” by some of the losses her party had sustained.
“I suppose bittersweet is how it’s feeling at the moment,” she said.
She added there was always a range of issues that mattered to people both locally and nationally and there now needed to be a period of reflection.
The winning candidate for Eastgate in Bury St Edmunds, Cliff Waterman (Labour), said people were “sick to death of the Conservatives.”
“What we are seeing today is the Conservative vote is collapsing,” he said.
He added people were keen to see an end to austerity and a good Labour campaign, focusing on issues like social housing, proved successful for him.
First-time candidate Lisa Ingwall King, who stood for the Green Party in Abbeygate in Bury St Edmunds, will be the only Green councillor on West Suffolk Council.
She gained 628 votes, more than any other candidate battling for an Abbeygate seat.
She said her win had been a “team effort”, with support from her party locally and regionally, and gave particular mention to former Green councillor for Risbygate Julia Wakelam.
She said: “I’m hoping to be able to continue her brilliant work.”
She said she will be putting pressure on West Suffolk Council in terms of climate change.
Overall, in the West Suffolk Council election turnout was 31.79% with more than 33,000 ballot papers issued.
Chief Executive Ian Gallin, said: “I would like to thank everyone who took part in and worked on the election. Welcome to all our councillors and we look forward to working with you.”
The first meeting of the new council will take place on May 22 when a leader and a chair are elected.
Abbeygate (two seats): Lisa Ingwall King (G) 628, Joanna Rayner (C)* 523, Nicola Iannelli-Popham (Lab) 385, Andrew Speed (C)* 484, Chris Lale (LD) 392. Turnout 37%.
Bardwell: Andrew Smith (C)* 518, Julian Flood (UKIP) 190. Turnout 36.93%.
Barningham: Carol Bull (C)* (Uncontested)
Barrow: Ian Houlder (C)* (Uncontested)
Brandon Central: Victor Lukaniuk (WSI)* 292, Frank Hart (C) 91, Susan Smith (Ind) 68, Susan Dean (Lab) 50. Turnout 22.65%.
Brandon East: Phil Wittam (WSI) 179, Reg Silvester (C)* 173, Peter Ridgwell (Ind)* 111, Andy Erlam (Lab) 59, Peter Callaghan (Ind) 50. Turnout 26.41%.
Brandon West: David Palmer (WSI)* 267, Eddie Stewart (Ind) 177, Christine Mason (C)* 128. Turnout 26.14%.
Chedburgh and Chevington: Mike Chester (C)* 628, Gary Dillon (Lab) 227. Turnout 41.85.
Clare, Hundon and Kedington (three seats): Marion Rushbrook (C) 1,134, Jim Meikle (Ind) 1,025, Karen Richardson (C)* 1019, Robin Pilley (C)* 822, Stuart Letten (UKIP) 558. Turnout 38.44%.
Eastgate: Cliff Waterman (Lab) 228, Patsy Warby (Ind)* 225, Frankie Wright (C) 225. Turnout 38.01%.
Exning: Simon Cole (C)* (Uncontested)
Haverhill Central: Aaron Luccarini (Ind) 239, Susan Roach (C) 195, Roger Andre (Lab) 159. Turnout 25.88%.
Haverhill East (two seats): John Burns (Ind)* 246, Pat Hanlon (Lab) 226, Bryan Hawes (C) 207, Lora Miller-Jones (Lab) 182, Tatiana Chernyavskaya (C) 156. Turnout 22.05%.
Haverhill North (two seats): Elaine McManus (C)* 404, Joe Mason (C) 373, Ian Hirst (UKIP) 248, Donald Allwright (G) 240, Damian Page (Lab) 221. Turnout 29.29%.
Haverhill South (two seats): Jason Crooks (Ind)* 310, David Smith (Lab) 274, Liz Smith (Lab) 267, Denis Lynch (C) 207, Heike Sowa (C) 168, Ken Rolph (LD) 136. Turnout 18.8%.
Haverhill South East: Tony Brown (Ind)* 346, Liam Collins (C) 172, Alan Stinchcombe (Lab) 100. Turnout 32.55%.
Haverhill West (two seats): Margaret Marks (C)* 487, David Roach (C)* 458, Becca Smith (Lab) 396, Stuart Dillon (Lab) 334, Paula Fox (Ind)* 302. Turnout 25.55%.
Horringer: Terry Clements (C)* 524, Robin Davies (Lab) 237. Turnout 39.29%.
Iceni (two seats): Dawn Dicker (WSI) 373, Michael Bradshaw (WSI) 259, Jordon Millward (C) 228, Douglas Hall (C) 219, Simon Morse (G) 179, Claire Unwin (Lab) 104, Gaelle Kemp (Lab) 95. Turnout 24.69%.
Ixworth: John Griffiths (C)* (Uncontested)
Kentford and Moulton: Roger Dicker (WSI)* 518, Tom Kerby (C) 248, Hilary Appleton (Lab) 126. Turnout 42.37%.
Lakenheath (two seats): Stephen Frost (C) 537, David Gathercole (Ind) 717, Colin Noble (C)* 438. Turnout 30.71%.
Manor: Brian Harvey (C)* (Uncontested)
Mildenhall Great Heath: Dickie Alecock (Ind) 432, Russell Leaman (C) 115. Turnout 27.1%.
Mildenhall Kingsway & Market: Ian Shipp (Ind) 399, David Bowman (C)* 179, Patrick Finn (Lab) 62. Turnout 31.21%.
Mildenhall Queensway: Andrew Neal (Ind) 379, Ruth Bowman (C)* 283. Turnout 41.56%.
Minden (two seats): Robert Everitt (C)* 622, Clive Springett (C)* 546, Donna Higgins (Lab) 488, Richard O’Driscoll (Lab) 460, Edward Allen (LD) 425, Helen Korfanty (LD) 394. Turnout 36.6%.
Moreton Hall (three seats): Trevor Beckwith (Ind)* 1,200, Frank Warby (Ind)* 1,058, Peter Thompson (C)* 738, Tony Whittingham (C) 492, Cyrille Bouche (Lab) 380. Turnout 32.52%.
Newmarket East (two seats): Rachel Hood (C) 353, Robert Nobbs (C)* 337, Andrew Appleby (WSI)* 260, Chris O’Neill (WSI) 233, Robert Yarrow (Lab) 196, Susan Perry (Lab) 187, Andrew Gillett (LD) 115, John Derry (LD) 87. Turnout 24.55%.
Newmarket North (two seats): Michael Anderson (WSI)* 404, Robin Millar (C)* 331, Ruth Allen (WSI)* 289, Stephen Edwards (C)* 220, Oliver Bowen (Lab) 195, Duncan Russell (Lab) 182. Turnout 25.47%.
Newmarket West (two seats): Andy Drummond (C)* 482, James Lay (C) 376, Michael Jefferys (Lab) 350, Yasemin Fitzgerald (Lab) 319, Dave Hudson (UKIP) 223. Turnout 27.55%.
Pakenham & Troston: Simon Brown (C)* (Uncontested)
Risby: Susan Glossop (C)* 565, Sheila Rowell (Lab) 209. Turnout 36.11%.
Rougham: Sara Mildmay-White (C)* 491, Quentin Cornish (Lab) 171. Turnout 36.88%.
Southgate (two seats): Patrick Chung (C)* 902, Ann Williamson (C) 720, Ian Cullen (Lab) 406. Turnout 38.96%.
St Olaves (two seats): Paul Hopfensperger (Ind)* 680, Max Clarke (Lab)* 341, Karen Soons (C) 314. Turnout 30.40%.
Stanton: Jim Thorndyke (C)* (Uncontested)
The Fornhams & Great Barton (two seats): Rebecca Hopfensperger (C)* 942, Sarah Broughton (C)* 890, Darren Turner (Lab) 352. Turnout 41.07%.
The Rows (two seats): John Smith (Ind) 636, Don Waldron (Ind) 467, James Waters (C)* 402, Lance Stanbury (C)* 306. Turnout 31.89%.
Tollgate (two seats): David Nettleton (Ind)* 793, Diane Hind (Lab)* 484, John Levantis (C) 361. Turnout 28.33%.
Westgate (two seats): Richard Rout (C)* 933, John Augustine (C) 848, Marilyn Sayer (Lab) 554. Turnout 38.65%.
Whepstead & Wickhambrook: Mary Evans (C)* 620, Mike McConnell (Lab) 153. Turnout 39.73%.
Withersfield: Peter Stevens (C)* (Uncontested)
Key: C – Conservative, Lab – Labour, LD – Liberal Democrats, Ind – Independent, UKIP – UK Independence Party, G – Green Party, WSI - West Suffolk Independent
The asterisk denotes a sitting councillor in that authority or its predecessor.
Current councillors not standing again for West Suffolk Council:
Barry Robbins (UKIP) Haverhill North
Rona Burt (C) Iceni
Sarah Stamp (C) Southgate
Carol Lynch (C) Red Lodge
Louise Marston (C) Lakenheath
Jane Midwood (C) Withersfield
Clive Pollington (C) Wickhambrook
Alaric Pugh (C) Clare
Nigel Roman (C) Great Heath
Julia Wakelam (G) Risbygate