'East Devon District Council elections: Independents deliver blow to the Conservatives'
PUBLISHED: 19:06 03 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:47 08 May 2019
Tory defector and council leader Ian Thomas amongst the winners
It was 'independents' day as the East Devon District Council election results were announced today (Friday, May 3).
Candidates not affiliated to any of the main stream Parties recorded some significant victories, topping the poll in several wards.
Both pure independents and members of the Independent East Devon Alliance (IEDA) did well.
Hre's how the seats were allocated:
Independent (including Independent East Devon Alliance) : 31
Lib Dem: 8
Paul Arnott, chairman of the IEDA said: " "We would like to thank the voters of East Devon for electing all 11 of our candidates. We will now spend the next week seeking to forge alliances with other councillors willing to work with us to continue our fight for reform of local governance. We believe that in East Devon this result was not about Brexit but an expression of a hope for positive change to how things are done in our villages, towns and district. Our mission now will be to deliver that change with complete determination in the interests of all local people."
Jenny Brown was one of the Conservative Party casualties - losing her bid to win a Honiton St Paul's ward seat, after switching from the St Michael's ward which she presented for four years. She ended just one vote behind fellow Tory and sitting member Dean Barrow - the voting was 385-384. Independent Tony McCollum topped the poll with 632.
EDDC leader Ian Thomas retained his Trinity Ward seat - despite his shock resignation from the Conservative Party shortly before the elections.
He defeated his Labour Party rival Sarah Birnie by 635 votes to 249.
Although still listed on the ballot paper as a Tory, Cllr Thomas said he had personally written to more than 2,000 electors in the ward to make it clear he would be serving as a independent councillor if elected.
"I have done my best not to mislead anyone," he stressed.
Councillor Thomas will remain leader of the council until the annual meeting on May 22.
Cllr Iain Chubb, from Axminster, retained his seat on the Newbridges Ward for the Conservatives, defeating the Labour Party candidate George Neate by 617 votes to 216. There was a 42.6 per cent turnout.
Cllr Chubb said: "I am pleased to be re-elected after serving for 12 years and working positively for the people in East Devon as a whole, helping to provide a good service efficiently."
Independent Geoff Pook won the Beer and Branscombe seat, beating Labour Party candidate John Gregory by 601 votes to 106.
He said: "I would like to thank everyone who voted and to John Gregory for making it a competition. I look forward to representing everyone in this extended ward now including West Seaton and hope that the people of West Seaton don't hesitate to contact me if they have any issues."
Conservative Phil Twiss topped the poll in the Honiton St Michael's ward with 790 votes. Fellow Tory Mike Allen was second with 763 and Liberal Democrat Luke Jeffery took the third seat with 700 votes.
Cllr Allen said: "I am delighted Phil Twiss and I have been re-elected so we can continue to serve well as we have done for the past eight years or more.
"But clearly there has been a very strong protest vote nationally with the number of Conservative votes down. We will make sure the district council remains strongly orientated towards economic growth and good housing whilst protecting the environment."
At Ottery St Mary Independents took all three seats.
Vicky Johns topped the poll with 1,501 votes, with Geoff Pratt in second place with 1,044, followed by Peter Faithfull with 878. The turnout was 37.8 per cent
Vicky Johns put her victory down to asking people what they wanted and listening to their answers.
She also praised her campaign manager Roger Giles.
At Axminster Sarah Jackson, standing for the first time as an Independent East Devon Alliance candidate, topped the poll with 1,001 votes.
Both sitting Conservatives, district council chairman Andrew Moulding and Ian Hall, with 818 and 740 votes respectively, were returned, but veteran Liberal Democrat Douglas Hull lost his long-held seat.
Speaking after her win Sarah Jackson, standing as the only independent candidate in the Axminster election, said: "I am absolutely elated and looking forward to it.
"I believe your local elected representatives should answer to the public, not their party. Axminster has so much to offer and potentially a great future…we can unlock Axminster's potential without destroying its unique charm."
Another Independent East Devon Alliance candidate - Axminster town councillor and former mayor Paul Hayward - won the Yarty ward with 492 votes, ahead of Tory Alasdair Bruce on 296.
And at Seaton East Devon Independent Alliance candidates Dan Ledger and former mayor Jack Rowland were elected with 1,561 votes and 1,392 votes respectively The third seat was retained by Conservative Marcus Hartnell. Former mayor and sitting member Liberal Democrat Peter Burrows lost his seat.
Full list of results:
Axminster - 3 seats
Conservative Party 818 Elected
Conservative Party - 640
Douglas R Hull
Liberal Democrat - 560
Sarah Louise Jackson
Independent East Devon Alliance - 1001 Elected
Susan Patricia Kerr
Liberal Democrat - 429
Andrew Timothy Moulding
Conservative Party - 740 Elected
Labour Party - 262
Labour Party - 306
Martin David George Spurway
Liberal Democrat - 357
Jeremy William Walden
Labour Party - 403
Rejected votes: 15 Turnout: 35%
Beer & Branscombe - 1 seat
Labour Party - 106
Independent - 601 Elected
Rejected votes: 17 Turnout: 32.99%
Broadclyst - 3 seats
Sarah Louise Chamberlain
Liberal Democrats - 612 Elected
Conservative Party - 319
Henry Frederick Gent
Green Party - 426
Liberal Democrats - 397
Conservative Party - 345
Conservative Party - 506 Elected
Liberal Democrats - 555 Elected
Rejected votes: 30 Turnout: 29%
Budleigh & Raleigh - 3 seats
Conservative Party - 1112 Elected
Green Party - 971
Brigitte Lesley Graham
Independence Party - 518
Conservative Party - 982
Paul Michael Jarvis
Independent - 1187 Elected
Liberal Democrats - 907
Thomas D Wright
Conservative Party - 999 Elected
Rejected papers: 11 Turnout: 41.03%
Clyst Valley - 1 seat UNCONTESTED
Conservative Party Candidate
Coly Valley - 2 seats
Independent East Devon Alliance - 938 Elected
Labour Party - 382
Helen Elizabeth Parr
Conservative Party - 851 Elected
Conservative Party - 625
Rejected votes: 17 Turnout: 43.5%
Cranbrook - 3 seats
Kevin Arthur John Blakey
Independent - 427 Elected
Independent - 506 Elected
Liberal Democrats- 153
Independent - 392 Elected
Labour Party - 144
Matthew John Osborn
Conservative Party - 228
Conservative Party - 221
Rejected votes: 7 Turnout: 25.45%
Dunkeswell & Otterhead - 2 seats
Conservative Party - 817 Elected
Liberal Democrats - 537
Conservative Party - 842 Elected
Stephen Robert Kolek
Labour Party - 310
Rejected votes 40 Turnout: 33.70%
Feniton - 1 seat
Independent- 638 Elected
Adam Michael Powell
Labour Party - 37
Conservative Party - 97
Rejected votes: 6 Turnout: 39.83%
Honiton St Michael`s - 3 seats
Conservative Party - 763 Elected
Luke Edward Jeffery
Liberal Democrats - 700 Elected
Conservative Party- 790 Elected
John Zigmunt Zarczynski
Conservative Party - 530
Rejected votes: 41 Turnout: 25%
Honiton St Paul`s - 2 seats
Conservative Party - 385 Elected
Honiton - 226
Conservative Party - 384
Liberal Democrats - 300
Independent - 632 Elected
Rejected votes: 22 Turnout: 30%
Newbridges - 1 seat
Conservative Party - 617 Elected
George Thomas Robert Neate
Labour Party Candidate - 216
Rejected votes: 41 Turnout: 42.6%
Ottery St Mary - 3 seats
Paul Richard Carter
Conservative Party -Candidate - 477
Conservative Party - 428
Peter Hamilton Faithfull
Independent - 878 Elected
Labour Party Candidate - 381
Independent - 1,501 Elected
Margaret Anne Piper
Conservative Party - 245
Independent - 1,044 Elected
Independent - 422
Rejected votes: 21 Turnout: 37.8%
Seaton - 3 seats
Peter Warwick Burrows
Liberal Democrat - 515
Liberal Democrat - 257
Conservative Party Candidate - 1,095 Elected
Labour Party - 298
Independent East Devon Alliance
Seaton - 1,561 Elected
Jack Leslie Eric Rowland
Independent East Devon Alliance - 1,392 Elected
Conservative Party Candidate - 504
Juliette Amanda Williams
Liberal Democrat - 300
Rejected votes: 8 Turnout: 40%
Trinity - 1 seat
Sarah Caroline Birnie
Labour Party - 249
Ian Michael Thomas
Independent - 635 Elected
Rejected votes: 46 Turnout: 42.4%
West Hill & Aylesbeare - 1 seat
Independent - 956 Elected
Conservative Party Candidate - 285
Rejected votes: 5 Turnout: 57.13%
Whimple & Rockbeare - 1 seat
Mark Lloyd Evans-Martin
Conservative Party Candidate - 234
Independent - 702 Elected
Rejected votes: 5 Turnout: 42.88%
Yarty - 1 seat
Alasdair Sutherland Bruce
Conservative Party Candidate - 296
Diane Susan Cheshire
Labour Party - 53
Paul Graham Hayward
Independent East Devon Alliance - 492 Elected
Gillian Mary Jordan
Liberal Democrat - 99
Rejected votes: 11 Turnout: 44.9%