Conservatives have tightened their grip on Harrogate Borough Council, gaining four seats from the Lib Dems in the Harrogate 2014 local elections.
Harrogate and Knaresborough Lib Dems lost four seats to the Conservatives after residents took the polls yesterday, but managed to keep a hold on eight wards..
Harrogate’s youngest Councillor, 24-year-old Conservative Rebecca Burnett won the Rossett ward seat from Lib Dem David Siddans with 1157 votes to his 697.
The Rossett Acre School Governor said: “It is very much a win for good, honest, hard work because we haven’t stopped working at this seat since we lost it.
“The response from the voters is great and I am really pleased to have done it.”
Mr Siddans held the Rossett seat for less than two years after winning at a by-election.
He said: “I am not distressed about it. I am hoping to carry on with as much work in the community as I have done. Rossett was always a Conservative area, I was surprised to get in before but I have really enjoyed my time on the council.”
In Bilton Conservatives snatched the seat from the Lib Dem by just twelve votes, with Ukip coming in a close third.
Newly elected Coun Paul Haslam said: “It was very close, just a dozen votes in it, the Lib Dems have gone from 700 votes to 400 and odd, Ukip got a good result too.”
County Coun David Simister won 435 votes for Ukip in Bilton with the Lib Dem candidate Robert O’Neill taking 488 votes and Coun Haslam winning with 500 votes.
In High Harrogate Conservative Ben Johnson gained the seat with more than twice as many seats as the Lib Dem candidate and new Coun Graham Swift gained the Saltergate ward with 518 votes to the Lib Dem’s 397 and Ukip’s 355.
Coun Swift said: “When I have been out talking to people in Saltergate they are telling me it’s all the small things we have been doing that are popular, we have had positive things to tell people.”
Conservative MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, Andrew Jones said: “We have had a really good day today, four gains is fantastic.
“Each ward has been its own fight but the campaigns have focused on the positives.”
He added: “There is always the element of party politics in these votes but we have tried to emphasise the local issues and local work in the campaign.”
The Conservatives held five of the six seats which were up in this election, losing Ripon Minster to Independent Coun Sid Hawke.
Former Mayor of Ripon and Ripon City Coun Stuart Martin lost the seat by over 200 votes.
He said: “I think the Conservative party will do very well and continue to look after the Harrogate district.
“No one councillor is bigger than the council so the people of Ripon Minster ward have spoken. I look forward to reading about all the achievements of my successor.”
Current Ripon Mayor Mick Stanley came in third place in the Ripon Moorside ward with Ukip candidate Jeremy Banyard in second place behind Independent winner Coun Pauline McHardy.
The Lib Dems retained their seats in Knaresborough with Coun Anne Jones (Scriven Park) and Coun Christine Willoughby (Knaresborough East) holding their seats.
Knaresborough’s new Mayor Tony Handley lost out to Coun Anne Jones who praised him for all of his hard work on le Tour Knaresborough.
She said: “We work alongside each other for the people of Knaresborough and we are doing everything we can to help people celebrate the Tour de France in Knaresborough.”
Lib Dem County Coun Bill Hoult stood down from the Knaresborough King James seat he had held for almost 30 years.
Fellow Lib Dem David Goode held the seat by 11 votes, winning 614 votes to Conservative Mike Renton’s 603 votes.
Mr Renton said: “I think we have done well around here. It was a very interesting election through a lot of factors that made it unusual.
“Losing to the Lib Dems in the King James ward by 11 is a good sign. Bill has been hard to get rid of.”
Coun David Goode (Lib Dem) said: “It feels tremendous and I look forward to continuing the great work that Bill has done over many years in representing everyone in Knaresborough.
“It is facing a few challenges in terms of housing development and the local economy but the Lib Dems are working to develop a strategy to address these issues and create a more sustainable community.”
Harrogate and Knaresborough Lib Dem leader Coun Phillip Broadbank held his Starbeck seat. He said: “We had four losses, two in very close wards. It can’t be a reflection on the work done by the candidates who have been working very hard in their community, this must be a result of national issues.
“Next year we are looking to win back the ones we lost last time, we have got a lot of hard work and campaigning ahead of us.”
Although Ukip failed to secure a seat on Harrogate Borough Council Ukip agent Andrew Dennis, who took second place in New Park, said he is positive the party will see success next year.
He said: “I came second, which is a standing start. Overall we have got about 30 per cent of the votes cast in Harrogate and we have never started for the wards ever before, so we think that is great.
“We have come second in a few and third in a few more, but not only is Harrogate a Conservative town it is conservative with a small c.
“Overall we have had a good day. I understand we have got over 100 councillors nationally and we are looking to field another full field of candidates next year.”