UKIP has gained its first ever seat on Fareham Borough Council.
There was disappointment in the Lib Dem opposition group as long-standing councillor Jim Forrest lost his Stubbington seat after 12 years.
A visibly upset Mr Forrest said: ‘I would like to say thank you to the people of Stubbington for their friendship and support. I am grateful to those who voted and respect the choices of those who did not vote for me.’
A jubilant Christopher Wood took the seat with 1,227 votes, compared to the Tory candidate Pal Hayre’s 841 and Lib Dem Mr Forrest’s 646.
The ward had an impressive 50 per cent voter turnout, much more than the average 39 per cent.
Cllr Wood said: ‘Stubbington people came out in their droves once again – a 50 per cent turnout, it’s fantastic, it’s how it should be.
‘And quite frankly we have had two very good candidates, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives have worked extremely hard and we had a three-way fight in the end.
‘I am very pleased we came out on top but I tell you what, they deserve an awful lot of credit.
‘I would like to see what welcome I get.
‘I am looking forward to it, there’s things I want to do in Stubbington so to be able to combine the borough council and county council, practically full-time and get things done – that’s what I am elected to do.
‘Obviously it helps being on the same night of European elections but we outperformed anywhere else.
‘I like to thank anyone who has gone out to vote, I am very grateful to those who voted for me.
‘I know there’s voters who didn’t vote for me but they are very pleased that I stood and they were very happy to see a young person standing.’
Independent councillor Jack Englefield retained his seat in the Titchfield Common ward.
He was the first independent councillor to be elected on to the council in more than 20 years as previously he stood for the Lib Dems, although he left after disagreeing with the tuition fees.
Cllr Englefield said: ‘I beat the challenge between the party and the person. I have proved that if you work hard and love your area then people will still vote for you. I am over the moon. It’s great to be re-elected.’
Despite strong Ukip gains across nine wards, the Tories held on to all their seats including Cllr Pamela Bryant in Fareham North.
Cllr Bryant said: ‘I am very pleased to hold my seat and pleased that I can continue to look after the needs of residents.’
Fareham South Tory Cllr Steadman said: ‘I love the people and I am so grateful that they have trusted me and that they believe and trust me. I would never break that trust.’
In Sarisbury ward, Cllr Sean Woodward held on to his seat with 76 per cent of the vote.
Cllr Woodward said: ‘I am absolutely delighted after 28 years the people of Sarisbury are placing their trust in me again for another four years, it’s very good news indeed.’
Leader of the Lib Dems Cllr Paul Whittle also retained his seat in Fareham East.
Cllr Whittle said: ‘I feel marvellous, I’d like to thank everyone who has been so kind to me.’
The council is now made up of 23 Conservatives, five Lib Dems, one Ukip councillor and one independent. The Tories held 11 seats, the Lib Dems held three, independent Jack Englefield held his seat and Ukip took one seat from the Lib Dems.
A real buzz surrounded certain wards, with the hot topic of Welborne – a new town proposed for green fields north of Fareham – fresh in the minds of many voters.
Other election hot topics include the proposed building of a new estate on fields designated as strategic gap in the Stubbington ward, as well as a proposed Stubbington bypass and the subject of council support for bus services.
Click here to see the full results.