Harrogate District Election Results: Lib Dems hold on as just one seat changes hands

NADV 1505081AM1 Harrogate election results. (1505081AM1)
NADV 1505081AM1 Harrogate election results. (1505081AM1)

Lib Dems managed to hold onto their seats on Harrogate Borough Council, despite facing a landslip fall in support in the general election.

Just one seat out of the 19 up for grabs changed hands after voters went to the polls on May 7.

The centre area of Harrogate.  091109M1s.

The centre area of Harrogate. 091109M1s.

The Conservatives further tightened their grip on Harrogate Borough Council, gaining Ripon Moorside from independent Andrew Williams, taking their majority to 35 out of 54 seats.

The Lib Dems are still the largest opposition group with 15 seats.

Former Ripon Mayor, Andrew Williams who was found guilty of theft in 2014 lost his seat in Ripon Moorside. Another Former City Mayor Stuart Martin took the seat for the Tories with 790 votes to Mr Williams 698

Coun Bernard Bateman (Con, Wathvale), representing Stuart Martin said: “It was a good campaign fought with honesty and integrity.

“I must admit I thought Andrew Wiliams might have won Ripon Moorside but I’m glad that honesty and integrity won through.”

Mr Williams said: “Can I thank the 698 people that were brave enough to come out and vote for me. It’s not been a good day or night for those people trying to stand against the Conservatives and we’ve been swimming against the tide.”

Conservative Council leader Richard Cooper has been returned at ward councillor for High Harrogate, taking 1517 votes.

He said: “As someone who puts his name on the ballot paper I am always a bit worried but with Andrew Jones’s result last night we knew we were on course for something special.

“We have run the Lib Dems very close in their safest wards. If you look back to five years ago, we have done quite amazing locally. We put out a very positive campaign and that has been endorsed.”

He added: “What I think we should do now the election is over and usher in a new style of politics on HBC and concentrate on that what is bringing people together. I make an offer to Lib Dems that we join together on things we can join together on, like the office accommodation project, rather than things that separate us.

“’Your are better than that, you have a history of being better than that.”

Lib Dem agent Peter Flynn said the party had done very well to keep a hold of their six seats in light of the national picture.

“It is because we have worked very hard. I am delighted to maintain what we have when the party has been trounced nationally. It has been hard, we believe we have done a lot of good in the coalition and stopped the Tories doing terrible things so it is a massive blow.”

Lib Dems held the Woodfield ward by just 40 votes. Bob O’Neil has taken on the seat as Greta Knight has stood down after five years on the council. She said: “I have absolutely loved it, I truly have but family circumstances mean that I won’t be able to be here all the time as an elected member. I am ecstatic that Bob has won, he will work just as hard for Woodfield as I did I am sure.” Conservative

Coun O’Neill said: “Bob O’Neil is back and here to stay I was on from 1987 to 1995, those who can remember I exactly the same as I was then so be careful and watch out.”

UKIP candidate David Simister came in third place with 501 votes. He said: “We have come in second and third in a lot of wards, we have got the support out there and we need to build on that for the county council election in two years.

“There is a lot of voter fatigue in Harrogate, people are out at the polls every year, the council seats should all go up in one go.”

In Ripon Minster retired hornblower George Pickles (Conservative) stood down after four years on the Borough Council. The Tories held the seat and Coun Zoe Metcalfe took the seat with 783 votes.

“It’s absolutely fantastic, one of the best results we have ever had in Ripon and it’s all down to the work that the candidates have put in.

“Our most amazing result was Zoe Metcalfe who was standing for the first time. She worked her guts out and called on every house.

In New Park Coun Trevor Chapman (Lib Dem) held his seat with 995 votes to Conservative Neil Bentley’s 795. He has already served a decade on the district council and said: “I was worried with the national picture, but on a local level I think we get personal votes for the work we do.”

In Bilton Lib Dem Coun Val Rodgers held her seat with 1239 votes. UKIP came in third with 454 votes. He said: “Hopefully we will win one, one day.”

Green candidate Greig Sharman took just 174 votes but took the opportunity to raise the issue of inequality in Harrogate.

He said: “There is a massive inequality on our doorstep here in Harrogate, here is my challenge to all our elected councillors and Andrew Jones is to work tirelessly to end equality in Harrogate and to work tirelessly for everyone including the disabled and the poor.”

Starbeck Coun Janet Law held onto the council seat she has had since 2009 with 992 votes to Conservative Phillip Dixon’s 801, UKIP’s Bob Frendt came in third place with 418 votes. Coun Law said that her fellow councillor were her friends as well as colleagues and thanked her husband, “He is my rock I couldn’t do it without him.”

Mayor of Harrogate Coun Jim Clark held the Rossett seat for the Conservatives with 2268 votes the highest number of votes for any one councillor.

Coun Clark has served 15 years on the council. He said: “We pounded the streets delivering leaflet after leaflet. I would like to thank the people of Rosset for this enormous vote of confidence both for myself and for MP Andrew Jones.”

Lib Dem runner up, Donald Frazer took 798 warned the Conservatives that Lib Dems were watching and demanded they delivered on housing promises.

“There is no more room for millionaires houses near the water tower.”

In Saltergate Coun Steven Jackson (Conservative) was returned beating Lib Dem Allan Reynold by 675 votes. UKIP candidate Ray Kidd was in third place with 422 votes. He said: “Sorry for not doing too well, all I can say is that UKIP will be back”

The Conservatives retained Low Harrogate, Jean Butterfield took 1,484 votes to the Lib Dem Jeanette Marshall’s 694. Coun Butterfield said:”It a real pleasure to be re-elected when you work so hard for the council.”

Coun Pat Jones (Conservative) who has represented the Stray ward for 13 years held the seat with 1782 votes. Chairman of the Oatlands Traders business association, Toni Medri had challenged the seat for the Lib Dems but took just 976 votes.

In Hookstone Coun Clare Skargen retained her seat and thanked voters for voting for her ‘despite the national trend.’

Coun Ivor Fox (Con) increased his majority to 49 per cent in Knaresborough Scriven Park. He said this was down to positive campaigning, “You tell the people what you are doing for them and they will vote for you.”