Tories retain District control

THE Tories maintained control of Waveney District Council in an “as you were” election result which saw no overall change in the make-up of the council.

THE Tories maintained control of Waveney District Council in an “as you were” election result which saw no overall change in the make-up of the council.

Conservatives gained Whitton and Beccles South from Labour, defeating former town mayor Jack Walmsley at Beccles in the process, but lost Pakefield and Harbour.

The result maintained their firm hold on the council with 30 seats, while Labour now holds 12 seats, the Liberal Democrats have three, Independents two and the Green Party has one.

Mark Bee, Conservative leader, said he was delighted with the results, particularly the success in Beccles where there was strong competition from both Labour and the Greens.

“This is a vindication of the Conservative policies on the council and we are very pleased with our share of the vote. I'm also pleased with the turnout of voters, which at 34pc matches the national average,” he said.

He said while they were pleased to have won another Labour seat he was saddened the council had lost Jack Walmsley, but Chris Punt had retained his seat with a majority close to 100.

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“We have stopped the Greens in their tracks - the chain has come off the Green bicycle,” he said.

Sally Spore, Labour's campaign co-ordinator, said that the party had done well to hold on to its position in the council against the national trend.

“We have done better than the Labour groups in Norwich and Yarmouth and we've gone against the national trend, so we should be proud of that,” she said.

Andrew Shepherd, Liberal Democrat spokesman, said: “We have held Kirkley (vacated by former leader David Young, who has left Lowestoft) strongly now for ten years and I think the people appreciate that. We're delighted to have kept it and by such a large majority.”

Meanwhile the Green Party claimed it came close to a dramatic double victory in the two Beccles wards in Thursday's poll. Netta Swallow came within 88 votes of ousting Chris Punt in Beccles North whilst Nicky Elliott was only 63 votes behind the winning Conservative candidate in Beccles South.

Graham Elliott, who remains the lone Green on Waveney District Council said: “It was disappointing to get so close in both Beccles wards but not come away with any more seats on the Council. In Beccles North the Tories pulled out all the stops to fight a challenge by Netta Swallow and the people of Beccles came down narrowly in favour of the well respected Conservative candidate Chris Punt. We congratulate Chris on his hard earned victory. I will be working closely with him over the next few years to represent the people of Beccles.

“In Beccles South a mysterious Conservative paper candidate from Lowestoft narrowly won a close three-way contest.”

Mr Bee said Gary Ruickbie was not mysterious and was not a paper candidate - he was pleased to represent Beccles.

Simon Woods comfortably held on to his Bungay seat for the Conservatives with a majority of 340 and at Halesworth Paddy Flegg's majority for the Conservatives was a massive 645.