Conservatives win first ever majority at Babergh District Council

Latest politics news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter
Latest politics news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

Conservative Party members were in high spirits at the Babergh District Council elections as they took 29 seats to claim a first majority in the district’s history.

The final total is yet to be announced as a recount has been organised for tomorrow morning for the Sudbury South seat.

Since its inception in 1974 no party had held overall control however this has now changed with the Tories gaining at least 12 seats to take them to 29.

The Conservative council leader Jennie Jenkins said the majority would allow the party to form an administration and work more efficiently both in Babergh and with Mid Suffolk.

In comparison it was a poor night for the other parties with Labour potentially losing two of their three seats, while the Liberal Democrats were reduced from 12 to three and the Green Party lost their only councillor.

Eight independent councillors were also elected.

The Brett Vale ward was the first to be announced with Conservative candidate Michael Creffield winning the seat with 693 votes, with a turn out of 75.39 per cent.

In the hotly contested Sudbury seats Sudbury East saw Conservative husband and wife pair Adrian Osborne, 952 votes, and Jan Osborne, 883 votes, oust Labour councillor Jack Owen, with Mr Osborne retaining his seat. Turn out was 61.05 per cent.

For Mrs Osborne it is her first time as a district councillor having narrowly missed out in the previous election in 2011.

“It’s great to be voted on this time,” she said. “There is lots of work to do. It’s fantastic news and as husband and wife it’s even better. I’m on a high.”

Turnout for Sudbury East was 61.05 per cent.

The Sudbury North vote saw Conservative duo Sue Ayres and Ray Smith elected. Mr Smith, who retained his seat, won 867 votes, with Sue Ayres, who replaced John Sayers (Con), winning 989 votes.

Turn out for the ward was 63.23 per cent.

In the Boxford ward Bryn Hurren kept his seat for the Liberal Democrats winning 654 votes ahead of David Talbot Clarke (Conservative) with 581 votes. The ward saw an impressive 80.58 per cent turn out.

In Bures St Mary the Conservative’s Lee Parker was elected with 760 votes replacing his Tory predecessor Desmond Keane. Turn out 74.08 per cent.

In Chadacre, where the turn out was 75.64 per cent, Independent James Long retained his seat winning with 917 votes.

UKIP’s parliamentary candidate Steven Whalley, 308 votes, had a disappointing night all round, failing to be elected as a district councillor as Tory pair John Hinton, 1,021 votes, and Stephen Williams, 784 votes, were voted in at Dodnash. Turn out there was 76.07 per cent.

The Glemsford and Stanstead ward, where independent pair Rex Thake and Len Young both stepped down, was won by Michael Holt (Con), 1,033 votes, and Stephen Plumb (Ind), 649 votes. Turn out was 68.8 per cent.

The Great Cornard North election was incredibly close, with two recounts ordered.

Labour’s Tony Bavington, 700 votes, held on to his seat by one vote, beating David Stenson (Con) into third place.

The leading candidate was Tory Tom Burrows, who took the other seat with 832 votes. Overall turn out was 60.29 per cent.

Both Conservative candidates retained their seats in Great Cornard South as Peter Beer, 1,095 votes, and Mark Newman, 996 votes, comfortably saw off the Labour challenge of Tom Keane and Mick Cornish. Turn out 62.93 per cent.

Mr Beer said his party’s hard work had paid off.

“I’m very pleased and I’m sure we will all work very hard for Babergh District Council,” he said.

“It’s now time to go forward and deliver some of the things people want.”

He admitted to being concerned before the election, coming up against old Labour foe Mick Cornish but was delighted with the result for both himself and his party.

In Hadleigh North ward Brian Riley, who now lives in the US, and Mary Munson both stood down from the council.

They were replaced by Conservative duo Christina Campbell and Sian Dawson. The pair receiving 818 and 927 votes respectively. Turnout in Hadleigh North was 64.17 per cent.

Hadleigh South saw a Liberal Democrat seat lost as David Grutchfield, who stepped down, was replaced by Sue Burgoyne (Con), 834 votes, with Kathryn Grandon (Con), 884 votes, retaining her seat. Turn out 67.98 per cent.

Babergh District Council leader Jennie Jenkins (Con) comfortably held onto her seat winning 841 votes in the Leavenheath ward. Turn out for the ward was 79.08 per cent.

In Lavenham Independent councillor Jack Norman, 353 votes, lost her seat to Tory William Shropshire who won 515 votes. Turn out was 72.9 per cent.

In Long Melford both independent incumbents Richard Kemp and John Nunn retained their seats winning 1,294 and 833 votes respectively. In third place was Paul Moreton (Con) with 733 votes. Turn out 71.19 per cent.

Lower Brett saw Conservative John Ward voted in, winning 753 votes. He replaced Sue Wigglesworth (Ind ) who stood down. Turn out was 77.38 per cent.

Nayland ward’s Richard Cave (Con) stepped down, being replaced by Melanie Barrett (Con) who won 599 votes. Turn out 73.35 per cent.

North Cosford saw Clive Arthey (Ind) retain his seat, gaining 854 votes. Turn out for the ward was 74.79 per cent.

In South Cosford the Green Party’s first ever Babergh District Councillor was ousted by Conservative Alan Ferguson who won 684 votes compared to Mr Lindsay’s 646.

Turnout 78.24 per cent.

The final ward alphabetically, Waldingfield continued the Tory trend, with Conservative candidates Frank Lawrenson and Margaret Maybury elected with 1,217 and 1,114 votes respectively.

Turn out was 71.2 per cent.