Bideford gets a blue rinse
THERE were major swings to the right in Bideford today as the Conservatives won key seats in the region – and took control of Devon County Council. Bideford East, and Bideford South and Hartland - both Liberal Democrat strongholds before the polling stati
THERE were major swings to the right in Bideford today as the Conservatives won key seats in the region - and took control of Devon County Council.
Bideford East, and Bideford South and Hartland - both Liberal Democrat strongholds before the polling stations opened yesterday - have been swept up under a blue tide that has slowly swamped the region as results from today's count were announced around the county.
In Bideford East, Tory councillor Sam Robimson won the seat with 29.7 per cent of the vote, replacing Lib Dem Hugo Barton, who took 24.5 per cent.
Across the water, Conservative candidate Alison Boyle won the Bideford South and Hartland seat with 34 per cent of the vote. UKIP's Robin Julian took 26.2 per cent of the vote, while existing councillor Humphrey Temperley lost his seat with a 23.6 per cent minority.
Elsewhere in Torridge, the Tories also enjoyed majorities in Northam, Torrington Rural, Holsworthy Rural and Hatherleigh and Chagford.
In North Devon, there was more success for the Conservatives in Combe Martin Rural and Braunton Rural.
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In South Molton Rural, Tory candidate Jeremy Yabsley won a 40.2 per cent majority, closely followed by the Lib Dem's David Worden, who received 34.8 per cent of the vote.
But elsewhere in North Devon, the Lib Dems did manage to hold onto a number of key seats, notably in Barnstaple and Ilfracombe.
In Barnstaple North, sitting Devon County Council Leader Brian Greenslade retained the Lib Dem seat with 42.5 per cent of the vote against the Tories' Simon Harvey who won 33.1 per cent.
In Barnstaple South, Lib Dem Chris Haywood also held onto his seat with 36.4 per cent against the Conservatives' David Luggar, who won 29.1 per cent of the vote.
In Ilfracombe, there was similar success for the Lib Dems as Geoff Fowler retained his seat with 39 per cent of the vote.
In the last result of the day to be called, Conservative candidate Richard Edgell pipped current Lib Dem councillor Joe Tucker by the slimmest of margins in the Chulmleigh and Swimbridge poll. There were just 41 votes in it as the ward changed colour from yellow to blue.
And in one of the most interesting results of the day, deselected Tory candidate Rodney Cann stood as an Independent in the Fremington Rural election and won the second of only two Independent seats in the whole county. Cllr Cann won the seat by a massive 41.1 per cent majority, beating the Conservatives' new man John Gill by a sizeable 749-vote majority, one of the biggest of the day.
By the end of the day, Devon County Council – the South West’s biggest council - had fallen to an overwhelming Tory majority as the party took control for the first time in 20 years with 41 of the 62 seats.
As Devon went to the polls, the turnout was bigger than expected for a local election, with a 43.9 per cent of the electorate taking part.
Overall, more than 255,000 votes were cast, 41.9 per cent going to the Conservatives, 29.9 per cent to the Liberal Democrats, and 6.1 per cent to Labour. Of the smaller parties, the UK Independence Party polled 9 per cent of the vote, the Green Party received 6.8 per cent, and 4.6 per cent went to Independent candidates.
The Liberal Democrats won 14 seats; Labour retained four, two seats were taken by Independent candidates and the Green Party won its first ever seat in the county in Totnes.
A full round up of the results is available on Devon County Council’s website at: www.devon.gov.uk/electionsandvoting
The European election results will be announced on Sunday.
Northern Devon and Torridge Devon County Council results:
Barnstaple North: Liberal Democrat - Brian Greenslade
Barnstaple South: Liberal Democrat - Chis Haywood
Braunton Rural: Conservative - Caroline Chugg
Chulmleigh and Swimbridge:
Combe Martin Rural: Conservative - Andrea Davis
Fremington Rural: Independent - Rodney Cann
Ilfracombe: Liberal Democrat - Geoff Fowler
South Molton Rural: Conservative - Jeremy Yabsley
Bideford East: Conservative - Sam Robinson
Bideford South and Hartland: Conservative - Alison Boyle
Holsworthy Rural: Conservative - Barry Parsons
Northam: Conservative - Andrew Eastman
Torrington Rural: Conservative - Andy Boyd
Hatherleigh and Chagford: Conservative - James McInnes