Voters stick to what they know as councillors are re-elected

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Familiar faces were favoured on Thursday as voters chose to re-elect all the county councillors who stood again across the Sudbury area.

A low county-wide turnout saw 31 per cent of voters have their say. Conservatives won 39 divisions, 16 less than in 2009. Labour won 15 divisions, an improvement of 11 from four years ago, while UKIP gained eight areas for a total of nine.

Liberal Democrats won seven divisions, down from 11 in 2009, Independents gained one and the Green Party won two, as at the last election.

Colin Spence was re-elected as councillor for Sudbury East and Waldingfield with 874 votes, or 46 per cent.

Stuart Armstrong, representing UKIP, came second with 527 votes, 28 per cent, while Labour candidate Russell Smith got 21 per cent with 402 votes.

Green Party candidate Robert Whiting attracted 101 votes.

Mr Spence said: “I’m very pleased and honoured that the majority of people in my division have put their trust in me once again.”

He said the turnout of 28.4 per cent was concerning.

“People are very anxious about a lot of things and for some that translates into thinking ‘Can I make a difference?’ but actually they can and it’s important to have people working for them that can make a difference,” he said.

Conservative candidate John Sayers won in the Sudbury division with 44 per cent of the vote, 809 in total.

“It is a vote of confidence and recognition of the good work I have been doing to help Sudbury and the community,” said Mr Sayers.

“There’s a good mix on the council and we will have to watch our backs as we don’t have the majority we did.”

Luke Cresswell, for Labour, got 573 votes or 31 per cent, while Liberal Democrat Tony Platt got 223 votes, edging out Teresa Bishop of the Green Party by one vote. The turnout in Sudbury was marginally higher at 26.5 per cent.

The lowest turnout in the area came in Great Cornard, where Peter Beer retained the division as just 24.6 per cent of eligible voters had their say.

Mr Beer’s 728 votes beat Labour representative Tom Keane’s 536, Green Party candidate Dean Walton’s 320 votes and Liberal Democrat Andy Welsh’s 111.

Richard Kemp will remain as county councillor for Melford after amassing an impressive 53 per cent of the vote, nearly three times that of second-placed UKIP candidate Dave Reynolds.

Conservative Sarah Pugh came third, Labour candidate Mick Cornish was fourth with seven per cent and Graham Manning for the Green Party got 146 votes or six per cent.

Stour Valley had the highest turnout in the Sudbury area with 43.7 per cent voting.

Residents backed James Finch to continue as their councillor with 1,129 votes .

Bryn Hurren, for the Liberal Democrats, came second with 723 votes or 27 per cent and UKIP candidate James Carver attracted 585 votes.

Labour candidate Jack Owen managed 221 votes, around eight per cent.

Conservative Brian Riley wrested control of Hadleigh from the Liberal Democrats after councillor David Grutchfield stood down.

Mr Riley’s 584 votes saw off Trevor Sheldrick, who replaced Mr Grutchfield as Liberal Democrat candidate and managed 449 votes.

Barry Nutt, for UKIP, came a close third with 422 votes, Labour’s Angela Wiltshire got 308 and Michael Fosdike of the Green Party drew 90 votes as 28.8 per cent of those eligible made it to the polling stations.

Mr Riley said: “I’ve been nurturing and working for Hadleigh for six years as a district councillor and I think people have recognised that I work hard for their wellbeing.”

He said that he had finished second to Mr Grutchfield in 2009 by 90 votes and was pleased with his 135 vote winning margin.

“I’m very conscious of where my support lies and I want to work hard with our schools to see that they get a good share of resources so they can achieve what they need to,” he said.

Clare residents elected Mary Evans as their councillor after her Conservative colleague Jane Midwood retired.

Mrs Evans, a Conservative, won with 1,579 votes, equating to 46 per cent, leaving UKIP candidate Stuart Letten trailing on 1,077, while Gary Stroud, representing Labour, attracted 434 votes and Independent candidate Tony Gearing got 323 votes.

Jenny Antill pulled 1,450 votes for the Conservatives in Cosford, beating Robert Lindsay’s 1,128 for the Green Party and Tony Bavington’s 217 votes for Labour.

Gordon Jones retained the Samford division for the Conservatives following David Yorke-Edwards’ decision not to seek re-election.

He attracted 1,025 votes or 34 per cent as Liberal Democrat Michael Bamford came second with 773, a quarter of all votes, edging Stephen Laing, for UKIP, with 755 votes.

Sue Thomas, for the Labour and Co-operative Party, managed 10 per cent of the vote with 314 and Lois Hickey, Green Party, got 173 votes.