THE newly-elected councillor in Gosport Borough Council has promised to be more open with members of the general public.
Liberal Democrat candidate Steve Hammond won the seat for the Bridgemary North ward last night, earning more votes than the Conservative candidate Richard Dickson and Labour candidate James Fox combined.
Mr Hammond won with a total of 644 votes – with Labour getting 255 votes and the Conservatives getting 212, in a by-election with a turnout of 1,111 people (31.72 per cent).
The election was called following the death of Labour Cllr Jill Wright in October.
Steve Hammond vows to get members of the public more involved with politics in Gosport.
He said: ‘I want to bring openness – to let people know what goes on inside these walls.
‘For so long people haven’t been informed of what is going on and what is going to happen in the future.
‘We are here because of the public, so we need to keep them informed about what is happening.
‘I am looking forward to really making a difference. Whenever I end up leaving office, as long as I have made a difference to the people of Bridgemary and Gosport, I will have done a good job.’
Mr Hammond promised to get straight to work, and already has some goals laid out.
He said: ‘Although there isn’t one specific thing that I will be focusing on, I think the main topic for residents in Bridgemary at the moment is the new houses that Fareham Borough Council want to build off Newgate Lane.
‘There is also the issues of speeding in certain areas – where there have already been accidents – and the general condition of the area.’
Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Peter Chegwyn said: ‘It feels absolutely fantastic – this is the best win since we’ve had in Gosport for more than 25 years.
‘This is a major by-election upset. We have never fielded a by-election candidate before in Bridgemary and yet we’ve come from nowhere and won almost 60 per cent of the votes.
‘I think this is a sign of the times – people in Gosport want change and the Liberal Democrats will provide it and I think we will win even more seats in the local elections next May.
‘We are absolutely delighted and have a top-class new councillor. He works hard and the public are clearly fed up with the way Gosport is being run. They now have the chance to vote for change – in fact, they are crying out for change – and they have shown that through the ballot box.’