Winchester Conservatives comfortably retained control of the City Council today (Saturday) after all-out elections.
Every seat on the council was up for grabs after boundary changes reduced the total number of councillors from 57 to 45. It meant a new set of wards contested with many councillors standing down and new ones coming in.
With all votes counted, the Conservatives have 25 seats, the Liberal Democrats 20.
Council leader Stephen Godfrey, speaking to the Hampshire Chronicle moments after a celebratory photo on the steps of the Guildhall, said he had thought the result might have been closer after early returns on Friday.
He said: "People are recognising we are focussing on things that are important to residents, the local issues like parking and keeping areas tidy. Above all we want to see a strong economy in Winchester which provides jobs - locally - for people and produces income for the council which in-turn allows us to invest in services."
Local MP Steve Brine was present for part of the count and was there at its conclusion just before 5pm.
He added; "An all-out election is always tricky because there's so many candidates with every seat being contested. However, we put together credible teams in every new ward and people responded to that. Congratulations to all councillors elected today, I look forward to working with them in their respective areas for the benefit of constituents.
"I was sorry to see Labour disappear from the council altogether; they will be back I am sure."
The much heralded new dawn of the Winchester Independents petered out unnoticed with the best performer being Kezia Hoffman who polled 661 votes, to finish seven out of ten candidates in St Barnabas ward.
There were also elections to Eastleigh Borough Council which included all four wards across Chandler's Ford and Hiltingbury. Cllr Mike Hughes was comfortably re-elected to Hiltingbury West while Dan Hatfield replaced Godfrey Olson as the councillor for Hiltingbury East.
Finally, the Conservatives took back the Police & Crime Commissioner seat where Michael Lane beat incumbent Simon Hayes.
Pictured; Conservatives and Steve Brine celebrate after the count and (below) Steve with Cllr Dan Hatfield and Cllr Mike Hughes at the recent Fryern Funtasia.
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