IT was a day of triumph at the Abbey Stadium today as the Conservative Party held on to all of its seats in the Redditch Borough Council elections and increased its majority.
The Tories bucked the national trend – which saw it lose 600 seats and 26 councils – by gaining one seat in Church Hill, by just 17 votes, and holding on to eight others out of a possible ten. Labour retained Greenlands.
The overall turnout was down from last year’s election which saw 32 per cent of people vote, while this year 31 per cent registered their support.
One of the biggest twists was Batchley and Brockhill where Nyear Nazir held on to the ward with 583 votes compared to Phil Berry’s 579 (Lab) – winning by just four votes.
In Abbey ward, Conservatives held on with Michael Chalk receiving 668 votes compared to Labour’s Nayab Patel who secured 517.
Tories also held on to West ward with 706 votes (David Thain), Astwood Bank with 813 (Brandon Clayton), Matchborough with 562 (Juliet Brunner), Crabbs Cross with 567 (Gareth Prosser), Winyates with 791 (Peter Fleming) and Headless Cross and Oakenshaw with 846 (Tom Baker-Price).
They gained a seat in Church Hill with Ann Isherwood’s 573 votes – beating Labour candidate Hannah Cartwright to the post by 17 votes.
Labour at least will be pleased that Coun Jenny Wheeler held on to Greenlands with 602 votes compared to Conservatives’ Luke Court with 561.
Conservative Leader Matt Dormer said: “I am chuffed. I’m the cat who got the cream.
“It’s brilliant, what an absolutely fantastic result. It just goes to show what hard work and dedication will do.
“I woke up this morning and saw the TV and I wasn’t feeling so good but now I’m so pleased. It’s going to give us stability.
“Labour will be defending next year and then we have a year off for the county elections.
“Hopefully we will have three years to make a difference and show people that the trust they placed in us will be repaid.”
Labour’s Batchley and Brockhill candidate Phil Berry was disappointed with losing out by four votes but said he still has optimism for the future.
He said: “To lose by such a low number is a bit sickening but it’s been a good campaign and I think Nazir will make a good councillor.
“We knocked on every door and walked every street but unfortunately we missed out.
“Hopefully we can all work together now and do well for the community because there is still lots of work to do.”
Labour Leader Bill Hartnett said: “We suffered this time around because I think it was all about national issues not local issues but it was a close race and it’s important to carry on with our good work.”
Mayor of Redditch Juliet Brunner was pleased to be re-elected by the people of Matchborough which is a ward that has faced many issues over the last year.
The re-development of the Matchborough and Winyates centres was thought to be a hot topic but Mrs Brunner says only three people raised their concerns during her campaign.
UKIP did well in Church Hill and Winyates with 348 and 413 votes respectively, but otherwise didn’t come close.
The same could be said about the Green Party which took away 388 votes in Crabbs Cross.
Redditch MP Rachel Maclean said: “Every single candidate has gone above and beyond expectations – and people appreciate we have more women candidates, more young people, and more people from black, Asian minority ethnic backgrounds – we are a diverse group and people see this and think we look like the town.
“This enabled us to cut through some of the negativity surrounding the national scene – we also really believe in team work by supporting each other.
“UKIP sent a very strong message and the fragility of Labour in trying to face both ways over Brexit has damaged them.”
SEE BELOW FOR THE FULL RESULTS:
(CON) David Thain – 706
(LAB) Lisa King – 288
(UKIP) Paul Swansborough – 246
(GREEN) Simon Venables – 232
(CON) Brandon Clayton – 813
(LAB) Benjamin Gibbs – 263
(UkIP) Bernard Pritchard – 207
(GREEN) Lea Room – 141
(LIB) John Marsh – 173
(CON) Ann Isherwood – 573
(LAB) Hannah Cartwright – 556
(UKIP) Kathy Haslam -348
(GREEN) Bob Wardell – 107
(LIB) David Gee – 108
(CON) Juliet Brunner – 562
(LAB) Andrew Bevan – 425
(UKIP) Jim Swansborough – 268
(GREEN) Victoria Lees – 121
(CON) Michael Chalk – 668
(LAB) Nayab Patel – 517
(UKIP) Sandra Swansborough – 191
(GREEN) Gabby Hemming – 126
(LIB) Russel Taylor- 141
(CON) Gareth Prosser – 567
(LAB) Monica Fry – 197
(UKIP) Chris Harrison – 249
(GREEN) Claire Davies – 388
(LIB) Pamela Gee- 77
(CON) Peter Fleming – 791
(LAB) Jim Heaney – 527
(UKIP) Scott Preston – 413
(GREEN) Steve Sergent – 139
(LIB) Diane Thomas – 116
Headless Cross & Oakenshaw
(CON) Tom Baker Price – 846
(LAB) John Witherspoon – 441
(GREEN) Alistair Waugh 211
(LIB) Andy Thompson – 148
(UKIP) Trevor Magner – 374
Batchley and Brockhill
(CON) Nyear Nazir – 583
(LAB) Phil Berry – 579
(GREEN) Steve Pound – 120
(LIB) Ian Webster – 93
(UKIP) Melvyn Haigh – 307