SWINDON Council’s elections were a mirror image of the national voting pattern with the Liberal Democrats failing to make an impact on the Tories’ stranglehold on the council.
Of the 19 seats up for grabs, the Conservative group held onto 13 of the seats they were defending, Labour held onto the three seats it was defending and took one off the Tories while the Liberal
Democrats successfully defended their Eastcott stronghold and took a seat in Penhill.
But in grand scheme of things as a whole, the Tories are down one seat with a new majority of 41 councillors, Labour are up one to 14 councillors and Lib Dems are also up one to four councillors.
Former Mayor Steve Wakefield remains the only independent councillor, as his ward of Toothill and Westlea was
not up for re-election this year.
Graham Cherry was the only Conservative to lose his seat when he conceded to Labour’s Mark Dempsey in Parks who won
with a majority of 591 votes.
In one of the most significant seats, Conservative Brian Mattock held off a bid from the Liberal Democrats’ Shirley Burnham in the Old Town and Lawn ward.
Ms Burnham is well-known in the ward after being at the forefront of a campaign to save Old Town library. Despite her high profile, she finished second behind Mr Mattock who polled 3,144 votes to
her 1,501 votes.
The Lib Dems celebrated a success in Penhill when Andy Harrison took the seat previously held by David Glaholm as an independent. Mr Harrison won a
narrow 116 vote majority over Labour’s Laura Baker.
Swindon Mayor David Wren, who was defending his Moredon seat, held on for the Conservatives, along with three Cabinet
members, David Renard for Haydon Wick, Keith Williams in Shaw and
Nine Elms and Mark Edwards in St Margaret.
For Labour, despite the loss of their two parliamentary seats, Kevin Small triumphed in Western ward, Rochelle Russell won in Gorse Hill and Pinehurst, Bob Wright took Central and Mark Dempsey won in Parks.
One of the biggest wins was Swindon Conservatives campaign director and agent for the two new Tory MPs, Peter Heaton-Jones who secured an impressive 2,655 lead over the Lib Dem’s Catherine Smith
with a massive total of 4,377 votes in the Abbey Meads ward – the seat formerly held by North Swindon’s new MP Justin Tomlinson.
The minority parties failed to make an impression in Swindon with the British National Party fielding five candidates but failing to pick up much support, along with the seven Green Party
representatives and six UKIP challengers.
Out of all of the votes cast for the local elections, a whopping 563 were rejected for various reasons, but they would not have changed any of the outcomes in any of the wards.