THERE may have been little change in Harrogate Council’s power base, but this week’s elections in the rural wards threw up some fascinating results.
Pateley Bridge turned blue, as Lib Dem Stan Beer’s 12-year tenure was ended, but Nidd Valley went the other way and the Conservatives lost Ouseburn to an independent candidate, reducing their overall majority to 13.
That last result means defeated candidate Martin Leather will not be this year’s deputy mayor, though Coun Robert Windass will still take the role of mayor, after a resounding victory in Boroughbridge.
Labour fielded 15 candidates across the 16 wards, but failed to win a seat, while the Lib Dems ended the day with the same number of councillors.
We tweeted live from the count this morning – and a very good time was had by all. If you want to read the results interspersed with jokes and observations about biscuits, just click here and then scroll down a bit.
Helen Flynn, who took Nidd Valley for the Lib Dems, said she was “absolutely thrilled” by her result.
“It was a significant win because the Tories were absolutely out for me: they put an awful lot of resource into the ward, with phone banking,” she said.
“All I did, me and my husband knocked on over 1,000 of the 1,226 households, and we had two leaflets printed on a duplicating machine.”
She said the only issues she had addressed were local ones, as they were the most meaningful to people, and that the priority in her ward was clear.
“The main priority is clearly roads, because the condition of our roads is diabolical there,” she said.
“There clearly hasn’t been the level of investment that there needed to be.”
Mrs Flynn, who contested the Skipton and Ripon seat in the 2010 General Election, said windfarms were another important local issue, but added that different parts of the ward had specific issues to deal with.
“It should be fantastic,” she added.
“One of the things I’m really looking forward to seeing is how the council works and where we can get efficiencies.”
In Pateley Bridge, town councillor and current mayor Stan Lumley beat standing councillor Stan Beer by 70 votes.
“I’m chuffed to bits, it’s a fantastic result,” he told the Advertiser.
“I had a lot of good responses as I was walking around in the sleet and the rain, but you never know until the votes are in.
“Stan’s been in the seat for the last 12 years and done some good work, but I think it’s time for a change.
“I will be supporting people in the upper Dale – basically it’s an area I’m passionate about.”
Coun Lumley said he had been on Pateley Bridge Town Council for 13 years and the next step up was to have “a strong voice in Harrogate”.
“I just think change is good: I will bring new eyes and ears, and try to do the best I can for the Pateley Bridge area.”
Defeated candidate Stan Beer said the decision had not been down to party politics. “In the Dale you choose people because you know them,” he said.
He added that while he was disappointed by the results, he did have other interests besides politics.
“I’m really busy with How Stean Gorge, which has taken off over the last five years,” he said.
“We’re putting more staff in and I’ve got more than enough to do.
“While I’m disappointed that more people didn’t vote for me, 333 people did – it took them 10 minutes of their time and I’m grateful to them.
“But I’m quite happy to let go.”
He said town politics “isn’t a nice animal”.
“I met some nice people on both sides, but sometimes the behaviour – I didn’t enjoy it,” he said.
Coun Bernard Bateman, a familiar face on North Yorkshire County Council and Ripon City Council, completed the hat-trick by becoming the new member for Wathvale.
“I’ve been involved with the borough council through other groups and I look forward to going in there particularly for the parish councils to really help them put forward their local residents’ point of view, a view sometimes they’ve overlooked,” he said.
The results in full:
Bishop Monkton – Conservative hold
IAN GALLOWAY (CON) 709
Nick Murray (Lab) 186
Boroughbridge – Conservative hold
ROBERT WINDASS (CON) 654
Alec Hendry (Lab) 207
Claro – Conservative hold
ANTHONY ALTON (CON) 742
Keith Rothwell (Lib Dem) 296
Jan Williams (Lab) 134
Killinghall – Conservative hold
MICHAEL HARRISON (CON) 667
Hugh Whiteside (UKIP) 101
Robert Darlington (Lab) 98
Andrew Kempston-Parkes 73
Kirkby Malzeard – Conservative hold
MARGARET ATKINSON (CON) 794
Angela Hosie (Lib Dem) 201
Benjamin Pickett (Lab) 106
Lower Nidderdale – Conservative hold
CHRISTINE HILL (CON) 661
Neil Wilson (Lib Dem) 107
Ian Crabbe (Lab) 82
Marston Moor – Liberal Party hold
JOHN SAVAGE (LIB) 626
Norman Waller (Con) 480
Paul Terry (Lab) 86
Mashamshire – Conservative hold
NIGEL SIMMS (CON) 536
Christine Brackley (Lab) 119
Newby – Conservative hold
NICK BROWN (CON) 645
Matthew Forth (Lab) 182
Nidd Valley – Liberal Democrat gain (Les Ellington (Con) stood down)
HELEN FLYNN (LIB DEM) 477
Veronica Hawkesworth (Con) 402
Andrew Murday (Lab) 90
Ouseburn – Independent gain
CHRIS LEWIS (IND) 556
Martin Leather (Con) 522
John Fisher (Lab) 97
Pateley Bridge – Conservative gain
STAN LUMLEY (CON) 403
Stan Beer (Lib Dem) 333
Stephen Boyden (Lab) 123
Ribston – Conservative hold
CAROLINE BAYLISS (CON) 548
Simon Oldroyd (Lib Dem) 267
Alan Beatham (Lab) 137
Spofforth with Lower Wharfedale – Conservative hold
SHIRLEY FAWCETT (CON) 585
Carol Walker (Lab) 98
John Upex (UKIP) 93
Christopher Knight (Lib Dem) 62
Washburn – Conservative hold (Richard Grange (Con) stood down)
CHRISTINE RYDER (CON) 830
Peter Flynn (Lib Dem) 155
Harvey Alexander (UKIP) 123
Wathvale – Conservative hold (Chris Brown (Con) stood down)
BERNARD BATEMAN (CON) 620
Jessica Roy (Lab) 203
Harrogate Council has not yet confirmed the turnout figures.