Lib Dems triumph in local elections

THE Liberal Democrats have won a second term running Bath and North East Somerset Council, taking over two thirds of the seats, while the Conservatives were almost wiped out.

Winning a consecutive term running the council — which has tended to flip between the Conservatives and Lib Dems — was the ambition of council leader Kevin Guy, who said before the election: “Democracy delivers short term vision-ism, and you can’t make fundamental changes to people’s lives unless you are given the opportunity to have two, three terms.”

In Keynsham East, Andy Wait and Hal MacFie retained their seats for the Lib Dems.

Alex Beaumont and George Leach were elected for the Lib Dems in Keynsham North, where Conservative councillor Brian Simmons lost his seat and fellow Tory member Vic Clarke did not stand.

In Keynsham South, Tory Alan Hale was re-elected and Labour’s Dave Biddleston won the seat that previous Tory councillor Lisa O’Brien was not defending.

The Lib Dems retained their Saltford seats, where Duncan Hounsell was re-elected and new councillor Alison Streatfeild-James replaced Alastair Singleton, who had stepped down.

In all, 41 seats out of the 59 on B&NES Council went to the Lib Dems, up from 36. The Conservatives went from 10 seats to three.

In a final blow for the Tories, the leader of their group on the council, Vic Pritchard, lost his seat in Chew Valley ward.

With five councillors, Labour are now the official opposition.

The makeup of the council is: Lib Dems 41, Labour 5, Independents 5, Conservatives 3, Greens 3.

The election for the two seats in Paulton ward has been postponed following the death of Green candidate Tim Morgan.

Keynsham Town Council held elections to fill five seats in each of its three wards.

In Keynsham East, the winners were Andy Wait, Hal MacFie, Clive Fricker, Caitlin Brennan and Caroline Leonard (all Lib Dem).

Elected in Keynsham North were Alex Beaumont, David Brassington, Souzan Alenshasy and Martin Woodward (all Lib) and Edmund Cannon (Green).

The winners in Keynsham South were Dave Biddleston, Martin Burton and Chris Davis (all Labour), and Alan Greenfield and Andy Halliday (both Lib Dem).

Saltford Parish Council’s election was uncontested. The candidates, who all stood as Independents, were Julie Austwick, Dudley Bartlett, Jon Godfrey, David Halton, Emma Hughes, Gary Graveling, Phil Harding, Andy Rice, Paul Smith and Sally Turner. The council still has one more seat to fill.

B&NES Council election reporting by John Wimperis, of Local Democracy Reporting Service

Pictured, Lib Dems celebrate at the B&NES Council election count – photo by Clive Dellard