THE Tories have maintained their grip on the majority of council seats in Winchester district – despite the Lib Dems putting up a convincing fight.
It was all to play for as every seat in Winchester’s 16 wards – re-designed following a boundary review in 2015 – was up for grabs in the latest local election.
In the end the Tories were left with 25 seats with the Lib Dems on 20; so power has not changed hands and the Tories remain in control.
Both parties bagged positions in new wards; including Southwick and Wickham where the Lib Dems won three seats in convincing fashion.
Lib Dem Angela Clear topped the polls in the ward with 1,002 votes, followed by Therese Evans with 890 and Neil Cutler with 826.
The Lib Dems picked up another two seats in the new Whiteley and Shedfield ward; with Lib Dem Vivian Achwal gaining the most votes with 801. While Tory Roger Huxstep secured a seat there with 751.
The Conservatives seized total control of the newly established Central Meon Valley ward, after candidates Elizabeth Gemmell, Frank Pearson and Vicki Weston comfortably secured seats with each getting more than 1,400 votes.
And the party held onto Bishop’s Waltham as sitting councillors Steve Miller – with 1,146 – and David McLean – with 1,165 – held on and Rob Humby secured 1,169 votes.
The Tories also romped to victory in Denmead, where councillor and Tory cabinet member Patricia Stallard clinched 1,400 votes. Cllr Mike Read was also re-elected with 1,429 and new candidate Caroline Brook took 1,188 votes from the electorate.
Every seat was contested for the first time since 2002 and only the second time since 1976.
The all-out election was caused by boundary changes and the reduction of the number of seats from 57 to 45.
The total turnout at the polls in the district was 42 per cent.
Cllr Stephen Godfrey, Tory leader of Winchester City Council, who retained his seat in Wonston and Micheldever ward after securing 1,719 votes, said it had been an ‘odd’ election given that every seat was available.
Cllr Godfrey said: ‘This was always going to be an odd election, with new wards, larger wards, and fewer councillors to elect, as the number of councillors has gone from 57 to 45. We expected some odd voting patterns.
‘Local government rarely attracts party loyalty, so we have seen some interesting variations. But to come out with a very clear majority, is very good news.’