North Herts District Council elections 2018: Lib Dem and Labour gains as Conservatives lose five seats

PUBLISHED: 14:51 04 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:55 04 May 2018

The Liberal Democrats celebrate after Sam S Collins, Lisa Nash and Ruth Brown all gained seats from the Conservatives. Picture: JP Asher

The Liberal Democrats celebrate after Sam S Collins, Lisa Nash and Ruth Brown all gained seats from the Conservatives. Picture: JP Asher

Archant

The Liberal Democrats have doubled the size of their group on North Herts District Council, with Labour also making gains on a difficult election day for the controlling Conservatives.

District council chairman Alan Millard’s heavy defeat to Labour newcomer Mike Hughson in Hitchin Walsworth caused a major stir, with the authority’s unpopular £40 brown bin charge credited for swinging many votes away from the Tories.

In Letchworth South East, Labour won by just eight votes as former district council chairman John Booth lost to Kate Aspinwall.

But the big winners on the day were the Liberal Democrats, who went from three seats before the elections to six after – winning in Knebworth, Hitchin Highbury and Royston Heath wards.

The district council remains under Conservative control, albeit with a reduced majority. There are now 29 Tory councillors, 14 from Labour and six Lib Dems.

Sam S Collins, who won Hitchin Highbury decisively for the Lib Dems, told this paper: “With 47 per cent of the vote, I’m very aware that there’s more people who didn’t vote for me than people who did – and so I have to do a really good job. I’m here to work for everybody, not just the Lib Dem voters.

“Looking at the results across North Hertfordshire, it shows the people are thoroughly fed up with the Tories in North Herts. Three new Lib Dem councillors – we can make a big difference. We want to be the hardest-working councillors there are.”

Labour’s new group leader Martin Stears-Handscomb, who has replaced Frank Radcliffe, said the Conservatives largely had themselves to blame for the loss.

“The Tories locally got the double whammy of a government attacking local government and a fairly inept handling of one or two projects, including Hitchin Town Hall and the ongoing saga of Churchgate – which left them very vulnerable to local issues,” he said. “Like the ridiculous charge on the brown bins, which they didn’t need to introduce.”

Hitchin and Harpenden Conservative co-chairman David Leal-Bennett said North Herts Tories needed to “rethink how we interact with the voting public”.

“I think we have to listen to what the public have to say, and show them that actually we do listen – and we need to react to what their concerns are,” he said.

“When we have difficult decisions to make, I think we have to explain those decisions very clearly and very plainly. The fundamental thing is engagement with our electorate.”

The full results in North Hertfordshire are as follows:

Baldock Town:

• Alec Maguire, Lab – 579

• Jim McNally, Con – 970 (ELECTED)

• Heidi Shona Mollart-Griffin, Green – 106

• Richard William Winter, Lib Dem – 253

Turnout: 34.14 per cent

Codicote:

• Rosemary Bland, Green – 38

• Tom Brindley (Independent) – 172

• Luke William Devenish, Lib Dem – 49

• Richard Paul Downey, Lab – 136

• Ian Moody, Con – 524 (ELECTED)

Turnout: 43.62 per cent

Hitchin Bearton:

• Val Bryant, Lab – 1,212 (ELECTED)

• Jonathan Daniel Clayden, Lib Dem – 287

• William Barry Lavin, Green – 168

• John William Skeeles, Con – 474

Turnout: 35.55 per cent

Hitchin Highbury:

• Conor Brogan, Lab – 443

• Sam S Collins, Lib Dem – 1,266 (ELECTED)

• Dominic John Crean Griffiths, Con – 801

• Diana J Newson, Green – 148

Turnout: 45.02 per cent

Hitchin Oughton:

• Clare Helen Billing, Lab – 591 (ELECTED)

• Mary Karin Marshall, Green – 83

• Louise Jane Peace, Lib Dem – 100

• Rebecca Robyn Reidy, Con – 312

Turnout: 31.29 per cent

Hitchin Priory:

• Simon Mark Harwood, Con – 660 (ELECTED)

• George Edmund Osborn, Lib Dem – 512

• Des Stephen, Green – 123

• Dave Winstanley, Lab – 308

Turnout: 45.54 per cent

Hitchin Walsworth:

• Richard Alexander Cano, Green – 272

• Mike Hughson, Lab – 1,174 (ELECTED)

• Andrew Ircha, Lib Dem – 230

• Alan John Millard, Con – 693

Turnout: 39.98 per cent

Hitchwood, Offa & Hoo:

• David Geoffrey Ashton, Green – 200

• Faye Susan Frost, Con – 1,279 (ELECTED)

• Anton Jungreuthmayer, Lab – 369

• Marilyn Margaret Parkin, Lib Dem – 181

Turnout: 35.95 per cent

Kimpton:

• John Cyril Bishop, Con – 426 (ELECTED)

• Tom Hogan, Lab – 97

• Mike Lott, Lib Dem – 99

• Simon Wightman, Green – 52

Turnout: 39.01 per cent

Knebworth:

• Steve Hemingway, Con – 742

• Klazina Hofmann, Lab – 141

• Lisa Nash, Lib Dem – 957 (ELECTED)

• Nick Newson, Green – 29

Turnout: 46.99 per cent

Letchworth East:

• Andrew Clare, Con – 369

• Bernard Charles Michael Lee, Green – 71

• Liam McKenna, Lib Dem – 114

• Sue Ngwala, Lab – 763 (ELECTED)

• Paul Ross (Independent) – 160

Turnout: 34.89 per cent

Letchworth Grange (two seats):

• Daniel Peter Mark Allen, Lab – 917 (ELECTED)

• Matthew Frazer Berman, Con – 747

• Morgan William Derbyshire, Con – 798

• Amy Elizabeth Finch, Lib Dem – 240

• Elizabeth Susan Hancock, Green – 166

• Helen Caroline Oliver, Lab – 912 (ELECTED)

• Aidan Sparrowhawk, Lib Dem – 198

Turnout: 39.86 per cent

Letchworth South East:

• Kate Aspinwall, Lab – 758 (ELECTED)

• John Leo Dobson Booth, Con – 750

• Tim Lee, Green – 91

• Barry Peter Neale, Lib Dem – 229

• Sidney Arthur Start, UKIP – 109

Turnout: 36.53 per cent

Letchworth South West:

• Jean Andrews, Lab – 516

• Maryla Josephine Hart, Green – 182

• Sean Prendergast, Lib Dem – 642

• Mike Rice, Con – 1,045 (ELECTED)

Turnout: 40.70 per cent

Letchworth Wilbury:

• Ian Huw John Clayfield, Green – 141

• Brian John Evans, Lib Dem – 73

• Gary Grindal, Lab – 871 (ELECTED)

• John Peter Hamilton Merry, Con – 387

Turnout: 37.71 per cent

Royston Heath:

• Ruth Brown, Lib Dem – 864 (ELECTED)

• Ken Garland, Lab – 198

• Fiona Ronan Hill, Con – 786

• Katherine Marie Shann, Green – 74

Turnout: 44.88 per cent

Royston Meridian:

• Bill Davidson, Con – 789 (ELECTED)

• Jess Finn, Lab – 246

• Karen Harmel, Green – 253

• David Matthew Lambert, Lib Dem – 135

Turnout: 35.61 per cent

Royston Palace:

• Angela Clark, Green – 96

• Rob Inwood, Lab – 454

• Ben Lewis, Con – 585 (ELECTED)

• Peter Martin Rice, Lib Dem – 214

Turnout: 32.38 per cent

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