Torridge local elections: Independents double their seats as Torridge is left with a hung council

Torridge candidates

Torridge candidates - Credit: Archant

It was a shocking results day in Torridge today (Friday, May 3) for the district election count as the former Tory hot-spot is now facing a largely independent hung council.

The independents lost out on the majority by one seat, but managed to more than double the amount of seats they hold, gaining nine.

This now puts the council make-up as: 17 independents, 11 Conservatives, three Labour, two Lib Dems, two Greens and one non-aligned.

READ MORE: All the results from the Torridge count LIVEThe Conservatives lost seven seats, with some long-standing Conservative councillors ousted by fresh-faced independents.

In many wards, the independents took hundreds more votes than the other party candidates, proving there is a call for change in the district.

It reflects the national picture – where support for Conservative and Labour has dropped – and over the boundary in North Devon where the Lib Dems took control.But in Torridge, the Lib Dems bucked the national trend and didn’t see a change in numbers.

Long-standing Lib Dem Trevor Johns lost his seat in Bideford North, but new Lib Dem Chris Bright was elected in Great Torrington.

UKIP also lost their only three candidates, leaving them entirely unrepresented on the council this time round.

Some of the big surprises of the day came from long-standing Conservative councillors who were unsuccessful in holding onto their seats.

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Torridge stalwarts Andrew Eastman (Appledore) and Simon Inch (Bideford South) both lost their seats, replaced by independent candidates.

And former Conservative councillors Philip Hackett and Peter Watson both retained their seats, but as independents – hitting the Tories even harder.

But there were some long-standing councillors who will see another term representing the people of Torridge.

Green councillor Peter Christie took almost half the votes in the Bideford North ward, in what was his 10th election.

And long-standing Labour councillor David Brenton saw and unsurprising victory in Bideford South, coming neck-and-neck with new Labour Councillor Shirley Langford.

The parish and town counts were expected to start at 2pm but were delayed due to the district votes taking longer than expected. They are ongoing.

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