VOTES are being counted today following yesterday’s election and referendum.
THE Conservatives have taken control of Harrogate Borough Council, winning a majority of 14.
They gained a total of nine seats in the election, of which five came from Liberal Democrats and three from Independents.
Now, the Conservatives have 34 seats to the Lib Dems’ 17 and three ‘others’.
Our council reporter, Rick Burin, was live at the count all day, and posted the latest news via our Twitter feed, @HarrogateHound. The details were also posted in the blog below.
Full results, interviews and analysis will be in next Friday’s Advertiser, along with details of the AV referendum in our area. The results were due to be announced from 4pm onwards and will be on our Twitter feed as soon as they are available.
3.48pm The results for the AV referendum are expected to be announced from 4pm. Keep checking @HarrogateHound for the latest.
3.44pm Conservative overall majority now stands at 14. The party has gained eight seats in Harrogate - three from Independents, five from Lib Dems - plus an extra one which was vacant, but previously held by Conservative Bob Nash. The make-up of the council is now 34 Conservatives, 17 Lib Dems and three ‘others’.
3.39pm Bilton ward has been won by Conservative Alec Brown, beating Lib Dem Andrew Kempston-Parkes by 175 votes.
3.34pm Knaresborough Scriven Park taken by Conservative Ivor Fox, from Lib Dem Kevin Hawkins who stepped down. Just one ward left to declare - Bilton, previously held by Lib Dem Andrew Kempston-Parkes.
3.25pm Lib Dems hold Granby ward with Jennifer Travena, who takes the place of former Harorgate group leader Margaret-Ann de Courcey Bayley, who stepped down.
Harlow Moor is held by Conservative Simon Theakston.
3.22pm Prominent Lib Dem Geoff Webber has lost his Saltergate seat to Conservative Steven Jackson. That will extend the Conservatives’ majority on the council. Just a few results remaining.
3.13pm Conservatives have taken overall control of Harrogate Borough Council. Both Rossett seats were held by the Conservatives - Jim Clark kept his seat, while Michelle Woolley replaced Bob Nash, who resigned earlier this year.
3.02pm Hornblower George Pickles has taken Ripon Minster from Independent Sid Hawke. It looks very likely now the Conservatives have regained control of the council, barring a swing back the other way in the remaining handful of seats.
3pm Newly-elected Coun Richard Cooper, the Conservative for High Harrogate, is already causing a stir by criticising the Lib Dems. Hookstone’s Reg Marsh has responded by calling him “Mr Nasty”. The gloves are off.
2.55pm Apologies for the slow drip of updates - taking some time for the stories to load. For immediate results and up-to-date news, follow @HarrogateHound on Twitter.
2.54pm Former Conservative council leader Mike Gardner has lost his Pannal seat. Now standing as an Independent, he has been beaten by Conservative Matt Hill. Because Coun Gardner has been an Independent for a few months, technically that’s a Conservative gain.
2.50pm A handful of changes so far:
Knaresborough King James - Conservative Philip Ireland takes the seat from the Lib Dems, with former councillor Jean Burdett stepping down.
Ripon Spa - Mike Chambers takes the seat for the Conservatives from Independent Peter Horton.
2.44pm Results have been coming in thick and fast. Latest are:
Hookstone - Lib Dem hold for Reg Marsh
High Harrogate - Conservative hold as Richard Cooper takes over from Andrew Jones. Coun Cooper calls the Lib Dem campaign “disreputable and dirty” in his acceptance speech.
New Park - Trevor Chapman holds for Lib Dems
Ripon Moorside - Charlie Powell holds his Independent seat
2.02pm Woodfield declares a Lib Dem hold for Greta Knight, with Labour’s Daniel Maguire in second place.
1.59pm Janet Law holds her Starbeck seat, taking more than twice the votes of her nearest rival.
1.56pm Another Conservative hold - Jean Butterfield in Low Harrogate.
1.50pm First result in - Pat Jones has held the Stray ward for the Conservatives. Another within a few minutes.
12.52pm Counting is about to get underway at Harrogate International Centre. First results hopefully within about half an hour, but it always depends on turnout - lots of people voting means lots of papers to count! Keep following us on Twitter, where Rick has the very latest.