Havant election round-up

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UKIP won in the Leigh Park and Bedhampton division as the party scored successes across Hampshire.

Raymond Finch took one of two seats up for grabs, with the Tories narrowly beating the other UKIP candiate in the race for the second position.

UKIP candidate for Bedhampton Ray Finch (right) celebrates with his colleague Stephen Harris after winning at the local elections in Havant.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves

UKIP candidate for Bedhampton Ray Finch (right) celebrates with his colleague Stephen Harris after winning at the local elections in Havant.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Mr Finch, originally from Liverpool, has lived in the Havant area for almost 30 years.

He said: ‘This is the first but it won’t be the last in Havant.

‘We have another five across Hampshire which means we are a force at Hampshire County Council.

‘We are looking forward to doing what the electors want rather than what the party tells us.

‘I am delighted and I thank the people of Havant for putting their trust in me.’

There were huge cheers for Conservative Liz Fairhurst, who managed to hold on to her seat by just 26 votes.

She said: ‘I am ecstatic.

‘I have spent the whole evening thinking we had not done it.

‘I have had so much help and so much support from so many people.

‘We tried really hard and I’m relieved I’m back.’

Elsewhere, there were few surprises at the Public Service Plaza as the Conservatives maintained their dominance.

Cheers rang out across the count room as the results were announced.

But it was a close one for some Conservative stalwarts.

In Purbrook and Stakes South there were just 48 votes in it as Tory Robin McIntosh retained his seat ahead of Gary Kerrin of UKIP.

In Hayling, UKIP’s John Perry finished 303 votes behind sitting councillor Frank Pearce, who held the seat for the Conservatives with 1,921.

And in Waterloo and Stakes North Conservative Ann Briggs took 1,423 votes ahead of UKIP’s William Farnham with 1,085.

In Cowplain and Hart Plain ward Conservative David Keast held on to his seat with a comfortable majority after receiving 1,377 votes compared to UKIP’s Alex Bowers 938 votes.

It was the same story for Conservative Ray Bolton, who romped to victory in Emsworth and St Faith’s with a huge majority of 1,035.

One of the closest contests was on Hayling Island and Frank Pearce was relieved to hold on to his seat.

He told The News: ‘I am delighted as UKIP threw virtually everything possible on Hayling Island.

‘The Conservative vote held up very well.

‘I watched the count and it did go up and down.

‘I knew UKIP had a lot of support - not on local issues but government ones.

‘I was surprised how well the Labour vote did on Hayling Island.’

He said the sunny weather had helped at the polls as a lot of pensioners went out to vote.

John Perry said it had been a ‘good contest’.

He said: ‘I am pleased with the result.

‘I expected it to be close and it was.

‘It was a close call.

‘I am just very grateful to all the voters on Hayling for voting for me.

‘It was a good contest. We have got limited resources in UKIP for leafletting and distributing. We did the best we could.’

Commenting on the results Havant’s MP David Willetts said: ‘I am pleased that hard-working Conservatives have held on to their seats.

‘Clearly there’s a strong protest vote for UKIP.’

In the Catherington ward, Conservative Marge Harvey, the long-serving district councillor for Rowlands Castle, won the seat with 1,725 votes.

UKIP candidate David Alexander came second with 964 votes.

It was a similar story in Winchester southern parishes with Denmead’s Conservative candidate Patricia Stallard scoring a convincing victory with 1,618 votes over second-place Lib Dems who got 803 votes.

Tim Dawes, who stood for the Green Party, said he was pleased with the 778 votes in Emsworth and St Faith’s, placing the party in the third.

Robin McIntosh, who has been a county councillor for 12 years, said he was pleased he would get to serve his community for another four years.

He said: ‘You only need one (vote) to win – that’s the point.’

There was a kiss from Havant council leader Tony Briggs as his wife Ann sailed to victory in Waterloo and Stakes North.

It is Mrs Briggs’ first time as a councillor – and she said she can’t wait to get started.

She is a volunteer at The Rowans Hospice and it was helping people there that inspired her to enter politics.

She said: ‘I am absolutely thrilled.

‘I am really looking forward to doing my best for the people of Waterloo and Stakes.’

Seven seats were up for grabs across the Havant and Waterlooville area for Hampshire County Council.

The wards are: Bedhampton and Leigh Park, which has 10 candidates vying for two seats, Cowplain and Hart Plain (five candidates), Emsworth and St Faith’s (five candidates), Hayling Island (six candidates), Purbrook and Stakes South (four candidates) and Waterloo and Stakes North (five candidates).

Hampshire County Council handles a budget of more than £1.8 billion and looks after services such as education, road networks, social care, libraries and museums.

There are 75 divisions across the county - six of which are in the Havant borough.

Hampshire County Council holds its elections every four years.

The last elections for Hampshire County Council were held in 2009 when the turn out was 34.9 per cent.

One of the youngest candidates in the room was Labour’s Simon Vassallo, 23, who is standing for the Leigh Park and Bedhampton seat.

He is the former chairman of Hampshire County Youth Council.

He said: ‘Basically this is the next step up.

‘I think having a mixture of candidates is always good. It means the parties are going to be working better together.

‘It’s very Tory-ruled at the moment. It would be nice to have a bit of a shake-up.

‘People are not very happy with the way things are going.

‘Maybe it’s time for a change and a bit of fresh meat.’

Roisin Miller, 27, was standing for the Lib Dems for the Emsworth and St Faith’s and came last with 371 votes.

She said that the Lib Dems had struggled for votes as they were no longer seen as an alternative vote.

‘We are considered part of the establishment,’ she said.

‘But I think it’s a positive thing – I think we make a positive contribution to government.’

Havant’s Tory leader Tony Briggs was at the count overseeing proceedings.

He said the turnout was again disappointing – with just a 22 per cent turnout in places like Purbrook.

He told The News: ‘It’s massively important that people have the opportunity to vote.

‘But the vast majority in local elections do not bother.

‘They don’t seem to take an interest at all.

‘But in terms of supplying services it’s the county and district council that delivers those services.’

Havant’s Mayoress Elaine Shimbart was at the count to watch all the action.

She said: ‘It’s always a good evening. It’s an exciting time.

‘I wouldn’t miss it for the world.’

Green Party candidate Tim Dawes said many people had voted UKIP as a protest vote and not based on local issues.

He added: ‘The trouble with democracy is sometimes it works in mysterious ways.

‘But every dog has its day. That day does not last that long.’

David Keast made a joke in his victory speech, saying that his three dogs has missed out on walks while he had been hard at work canvassing.

‘I promise to make it up to them,’ he laughed.