A LIBERAL Democrat councillor has expressed his joy after he was re-elected at a by-election last night.
Jim Forrest, beat nearest competitor and Tory county councillor Pal Hayre to the Stubbington seat on Fareham Borough Council by over 400 votes.
The former councillor previously led the Fareham Liberal Democrats during his time on the council, representing the seat between 2002 and 2004 and later between 2006 and 2014.
Speaking after his victory, Cllr Forrest said: 'I am really pleased. This has come about due to a lot of hard work from a lot of people over the last few weeks and it was great to see a high turnout for a local election, which is more surprising given the bomb scare we had yesterday!'
The newly-elected councillor pins his victory on 'complacency' among the leading Conservative administration and a lack of communication with the village's residents over changes to the Local Plan.
He added: 'I think a lot of people are unhappy with the way the Tory council are running Fareham. When you are in power for a number of years, you get complacent and that is what has happened here.
'In the public consultation event they held here, there was poor communication with residents and very few turned up on what was an important issue.'
He added that his priority would be to fight against housing developments between Fareham and Stubbington in order to 'protect the green gap.'
Cllr Hayre, who represents Fareham Crofton on Hampshire County Council said: 'The campaign went well and we worked very hard in Stubbington to spread our message.
'I feel that national politics played a role in people's thinking as there was a lot going on in the media that may have contributed.
'The UKIP vote also sharply fell and people decided to vote Lib Dem as a form of a protest vote.'
She added that she would continue to support the people of Stubbington in her role as county councillor.
The by-election took place following the resignation of former ward councillor Chris Wood, who departed following a complaint to the council from a taxi company.
He had been elected for the ward in 2014 as a Ukip member before defecting to the Conservatives last year.
Ukip candidate Andy Annear came third in the by-election with 117 votes with Labour candidate and former MP hopeful Matthew Randall finishing last with 76 votes.
ANNEAR, Andy (Ukip) - 117 votes
FORREST, Jim (Lib Dems) - 1185 votes
HAYRE, Pal (Cons) - 769
RANDALL, Matthew (Lab) - 76
Turnout: 39 per cent.