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Archive - Friday, 2 May 2003
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Election: No change of power at South Lakeland District Council
TOWN hall control remained unchanged as votes cast for one third of South Lakeland District Council's seats failed to tip the political scales.
The Liberal Democrats had the most to celebrate as they moved two votes closer to the 26 needed to hold the town hall reigns upping their council cache from 21 to 23 seats of the 53 that were up for grabs.
Labour remained unchanged holding tight to its nine seats, while Independents dropped one to two and the Conservatives also endured one loss ending the May 1 election with 18 seats.
As a result SLDC, which has been a hung' council since its inception in 1974, remained that way with no political party gaining overall control.
The Conservatives suffered a blow as the Liberal Democrats seized control of the party's strongholds in Low Furness and Swarthmoor and Cartmel. Long timer Bill Tyson was elbowed out of his seat by Sonjie Marshall and Leslie Hadwin lost to Howard Martin.
Liberal Democrats also made another gain as first timer Peter Thornton toppled Independent candidate Bill Robinson by 100 votes from his Whinfell seat.
Mr Thornton, who is looking forward to his new role, said his priorities as new politician on the block would be to unite the sprawling parishes.
"I feel quite humbled to be following Mr Robinson who has done tremendous work over the years. Whinfell is a massive ward and the main thing I want to do is work hard to knit it together and work out issues that are common in all of its parishes."
But the Conservative camp exacted their revenge as their candidate Richard Rollins stole the former Liberal Democrat seat in Arnside and Beetham with 906 votes while lone Labour candidate Jocelyn Innes trailed with 198 votes.
SLDC Liberal Democrat group leader Brendan Jameson declared the night a success, claiming even the losses had been a win.
" We believed we were capable of winning the Cartmel seat and we did, but the highlight of the night was Sheila Eccles coming within an inch of victory at Crooklands. Although she lost to Conservative John Galbraith by 17 votes what she achieved was incredible a 20 per cent swing. We also have to be pleased with the gains at Swarthmoor and Whinfell but I'm bitterly disappointed by the loss at Arnside and Beetham."
Chairman of South Lakeland District Council Conservative Roger Bingham reflected on the night: "It's been a very good night. We have won a major victory in Arnside and Beetham by a notable majority which is by far the largest ward in terms of population. I am also sorry Les Hadwin has gone.
"Because no party has overall control the council can continue to be balanced and independent minded and make up its mind on issues as they occur."
May 2, 2003 10:30