Look back: The 2014 election count in South Lakeland as it happened

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  • Farron hails stunning result as Lib Dems lock down SLDC and Kendal Town Council
  • Conservatives gain Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale and hold Mid Furness
  • Labour, Greens and UKIP fail to win any seats

5:32pm

THE Liberal Democrats have cemented their position as the unstoppable force of local politics after triumphing at the South Lakeland District Council elections.

Of 17 seats up for grabs across the 51-member council chamber, the team in Yellow held 14, won one and lost one.

The Tories took Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale from the Lib Dems and held onto Mid Furness.

Labour, the Kendal Green Party and UKIP did not take a single seat in the council chamber.

But the Greens said afterwards they were 'over the moon' having gone from fifth place to second on three wards, and to third in others - all on a £500 budget.

The powerbalance on SLDC is now 34 Lib Dems to 14 Tories and three Labour.

Furthermore, the Liberal Democrats seized control again of Kendal Town Council where their only opponents were Labour and the Greens, who did not win a place round the table.

The results are undoubtedly a major endorsement of the Lib Dems' homes and jobs policy and its stance on protecting Westmorland General Hospital.

It's also a massive vote of confidence in Lib Dem president Tim Farron too who has been following proceedings closely to detect any scent of drop-off in support ahead of next year’s General Election when he runs again.

Turnout was 47.6 per cent in SLDC's election this time (which is well above the national average) and the ward with the largest turnout was Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale where 53.4 per cent went to the polls.

The lowest turnout was in Kendal Kirkland where just 39.46% turned out to vote.

Lib Dem SLDC leader, Coun Peter Thornton said: "To win 15 out of 17 seats in South Lakeland is a recognition that our voters appreciate a positive agenda. Our message has been: targets of 1,000 new jobs, 1,000 affordable homes to rent, recycling to every doorstep, regeneration of town centres and a five-year council tax freeze.

"This is a local district council delivering local services to local people and we've gone out very much on that agenda. The opposition put all kind of accusations about county council and national issues.

"This Liberal Democrat-run council has a vision for the future of South Lakleland in which every young person has the opportunity of working here and having a home here."

The opposition Conservatives, who started the day as the second largest party on the council with 13 seats in the council chamber, must now be wondering what they have to do to break the Liberals’ grip on power - despite cheering a major gain in the rural heartland of Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale.

New Tory councillor Kevin Lancaster - no stranger to the SLDC chamber - described it as the happiest day of his life.

Andrew Gardiner, for the Tories, added: "It's been a good night. We've made a gain and increased our majority in Mid Furness. It's a building block for us to look forward to the next 12 months.

"The team has worked very hard - it's not easy to win a seat, the effort that has been put in has been phenomenal."

Thirteen of the 17 SLDC seats contested were across wards of Kendal which is regarded as Tim Farron’s ‘California’ - a Liberal-voting stronghold.

Having painted the town yellow, I asked Mr Farron if tonight, his party might be painting the town red...by decamping to Kendal's Liberal Club?

The answer was they will.

Mr Farron said: "It's a great result - we had 17 wards up today and won 15 of them. We almost certainly would have won the 16th (Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale) if it wasn't for the Greens standing. Kevin (Lancaster) is a lovely guy but he's a climate change denier.

"The Greens' sole contribution to this election is to get a climate change denier elected to the council, but there you go, they have every right to stand and god bless them."

"It's a stunning result to win 15 out of 17 - it's a real ringing endorsement and quite humbling. We haven't checked but we're guessing we have more than 60 per cent of the popular vote. We take nothing for granted though."

The Tories had been confident of making at least a couple of gains with specifically Oxenholme and Natland on their radar, and optimistic of a strong showing from its grassroots in Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale.

Newcomers the Kendal Green Party worked hard to field 17 candidates in all of the wards and Labour, long the third party in Westmorland, could not add to their three members in the council chamber.

Karen Mitchell, for the Greens denied they had split the vote in Kirkby Lonsdale, saying: "Some of the people that came out for us wouldn't have voted at all."

She added: "This is just the start, we've seen a huge increase in our membership and supporter base and we have seen people coming out to vote who wouldn't have because of disilluisonment with the main parties, we have a momentum now for 2015."

Nigel Farage has launched a UKIP earthquake nationally, but there were no sign of aftershocks this far up the country in Tim Farron's Westmorland and Lonsdale.

 

5:10pm

SEDBERGH PARISH COUNCIL RESULTS

11 seats, 12 candidates. The following people were elected

Allan, Ann Louise Mary - 488

Atkins, Jim - 370

Brooks, Margaret Helena - 508

Capstick, John Thomas - 464

Dawson, Martyn John - 558

Hodge, Hilary Carolyn - 413

Lancaster, Kevin John - 638

Longlands, Steven - 581

MacPherson, Mary Katharine - 297

McPherson, Ian - 339

Sedgwick, Roger - 511

Thomson, Douglas - 293

 

5:04pm

KENDAL TOWN COUNCIL RESULTS

Kendal Underley: 2 seats

LAB: Braithwaite, Paul Michael - 167

LD: Bramham, Paul - 354 (ELECTED)

LAB: Lynch, Thomas - 108

LD: Severn, Matt - 426 (ELECTED)

GREEN: Towers, Angela - 137

 

5:02pm

KENDAL TOWN COUNCIL RESULTS

Kendal Strickland: 2 seats

LD: Coleman, Stephen John - 438 (ELECTED)

LAB: Magne, Jo - 107

LD: McCreesh, John - 346 (ELECTED)

LAB: Ring, Jim - 94

GRN: Willshaw, Kate - 164

5:00pm

KENDAL TOWN COUNCIL RESULTS

Kendal Parks: 2 seats

LD: Brook. Jonathan Richard - 510 (ELECTED)

CONS: Byrom, Nigel - 283

LD: Hurst-Jones, Keith - 292 (ELECTED)

 

 

4:59pm

KENDAL TOWN COUNCIL RESULTS

Kendal Oxenholme: 1 seat

LAB: Bateson, John Anthony - 101

LD: Tirvengadum, Guy - 322 (ELECTED)

 

4:58pm

KENDAL TOWN COUNCIL RESULTS

Kendal Nether: 2 seats

LD: Feeney-Johnson, Clare - 610 (ELECTED)

LAB: Gilchrist, Alison - 125 

LD: Hogg, Rachael - 439 (ELECTED)

 

4:56pm

KENDAL TOWN COUNCIL RESULTS

Kendal Natland: 1 seat

LAB: Cope, Dave - 61

LD: Vincent, Graham - 280 (ELECTED)

 

 

4:54pm

KENDAL TOWN COUNCIL RESULTS

Kendal Mintsfeet: 2 seats

LAB: Barker, Jim - 143

LAB: Downes, Mick - 125 

LD: Evans, David - 497 (ELECTED)

LD: Oldham, Lynne - 477 (ELECTED)

 

4:52pm

KENDAL TOWN COUNCIL RESULTS

Kendal Kirkland: 2 SEATS

LAB: Evans, Simon David - 53

LD: Finch, Alvin - 531 (ELECTED)

LAB: Rothwell, Tony - 110

LD: Teasdale, Kath - 302 (ELECTED)

 

4:50pm

KENDAL TOWN COUNCIL RESULTS

Kendal Highgate

LD: Bracey, Keith - 421 (ELECTED)

LD: Cook, Geoff - 435 (ELECTED)

LAB: Molloy, Marilyn - 289

LAB: Prendiville, Vivien Helen - 137

 

4:48pm

KENDAL TOWN COUNCIL RESULTS

Kendal Heron Hill: 2 seats

LD: Blackman, Andy - 411 (ELECTED)

LAB: Law, Judith - 83

CONS: Rodman, Paul Jonathan - 214

LD: Walker, Phil - 471 (ELECTED

 

4:43pm

KENDAL TOWN COUNCIL:

Kendal Fell Ward: 2 seats contested

LD: Archibald, Giles Charles - 559 (ELECTED)

LAB: Branney, Virginia Elizabeth - 162

GRN: Harrison, Gwen - 271

LD: Robinson, Jon - 371 (ELECTED)

LAB: Stow, Bob - 101

 

4:40pm

KENDAL TOWN COUNCIL RESULTS

Kendal Far Cross: 2 seats contested

LD: Evans, Shirley - 557 - ELECTED

LD: Hardy, Carol - 435 - ELECTED

LAB: Law, Ian Geoffrey - 93

 

3:13pm

Lib Dem Matt Severn is congratulated by South Lakes MP Tim Farron after winning Kendal Underley Ward.

The Westmorland Gazette:

3:09pm

Conservative Kevin Lancaster celebrating after winning Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale seat.

The Westmorland Gazette:

2:53pm

AMBLESIDE/GRASMERE
CONS: Jessie Alston - 293
LAB: Rebecca Costello - 84
LIB: Heidi Halliday -828
GRN: Angela Towers - 83
RESULT: LIB DEMS HOLD

2:49pm

SEDBERGH/ KIRKBY LONSDALE
CONS: Kevin Lancaster - 1202
LAB: Martin Holborn - 112
LIB: Ron Bulman - 1075
GRN: Andi Chapple - 143
* RESULT: CON GAIN*

2:47pm

KENDAL FAR CROSS
CONS: Lyndsay Slater - 92
LAB: Ian Law - 39
LIB: Shirley Evans -479
GRN: Daphne Jackson - 59
RESULT: LIB DEM HOLD

2:45pm

MID FURNESS
CONS: Caroline Airey - 643
LAB: David Webster -195
LIB: Loraine Birchall - 462
GRN: Chris Loynes - 98
RESULT: CON HOLD

2:43pm

KENDAL STONECROSS
CONS: Mel Mackie - 137
LAB: Lois Sparling - 46
LIB: Sylvia Emmott - 540
GRN: Rory Black - 45
UKIP: Stephen Wilmot - 78
RESULT: LIB DEM HOLD

2:41pm

KENDAL UNDERLEY
CONS: Karen Dawson - 56
LAB: Paul Braithwaite - 114
LIB: Matt Severn - 368
GRN: Vanessa Moss - 54
UKIP: Susan Bownass - 77
IND: Rob Boden - 125
*RESULT LIB DEM GAIN*

2:39pm

KENDAL STRICKLAND
CONS: Stephen Chambers - 76
LAB: Jim Ring - 73
LIB: Stephen Coleman - 405
GRN: Kate Willshaw - 87
UKIP: Malcolm Nightingale - 65
RESULT: LIB DEM HOLD

2:37pm

KENDAL NETHER
CONS: Derrick Wade - 99
LAB: Alison Gilchrist - 51
LIB: Clare Feeney-Johnson - 538
GRN: Andy Mason - 58
RESULT: LIB DEM HOLD

2:35pm

KENDAL FELL
CONS: Micky Pierson - 66
LAB: Virginia Branney - 111
LIB: Giles Archibald - 527
GRN: Gwen Harrison - 175
RESULT: LIB DEMS HOLD

2:26pm

OXENHOLME/ NATLAND
CONS: Patrick Birchall - 281
LAB: John Bateson - 62
LIB DEM: Brenda Gray - 477
GRN: Jocelyn Gaskell - 58
RESULT LIB DEM HELD

2:23pm

KENDAL ROMNEY
CONS: Mike Nicholson - 120
LAB: Dave Cope - 70
LIB: Graham Vincent - 423
GRN: Adam Sandell - 66
RESULT: LIB DEM HOLD

2:21pm

KENDAL PARKS
CONS: Nigel Byrom - 230
LAB: Flo Scullard - 42
LIB: Jonathan Brook - 425
GRN: Mandy Barnett - 67
RESULT: LIB DEM HOLD

2:20pm

KENDAL MINTSFEET
CONS: Ian Keeling - 80
LAB: Jim Barker - 78
LIB: David Evans - 431
GRN: Karen Mitchell - 96
RESULT: LIB DEM HOLD

2:18pm

KENDAL KIRKLAND
CONS: Elizabeth Cartmell - 69
LAB: Tony Rothwell - 69
LIB DEM: Alvin Finch - 483
GRN: Chris Rowley - 45
RESULT: LIB DEM HOLD

2:17pm

KENDAL HIGHGATE
CONS: Bill Wearing - 87
LAB: Marilyn Molloy - 153
LIB: Philip Dixon - 413
GRN: Rachael Passant-Coy -107
RESULT: LIB DEM HOLD

2:17pm

The Conservatives' James Airey keeps a watch on counting for the Mid Furness ward.

The Westmorland Gazette:

2:16pm

KENDAL HERON HILL
CONS: Paul Rodman - 186
LAB: Judith Law - 40
LIB: Phil Walker - 489
GRN: Claire Wickham  - 57
RESULT: LIB DEM HOLD

2:15pm

KENDAL CASTLE
CONS: Eric Hookway - 159
LIB: Chris Hogg - 442
GRN: Liz Ashburn - 58
UKIP: Paul Martin - 46
RESULT: LIB DEM HOLD

 

2:03pm

The hall has erupted with Tory cheers and claps having crowded around the Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale table...

It's clear, alhough not formally official, that Kevin Lancaster has taken the ward back into blue control.

The Liberal candidate there was Ron Bulman.

 

1:58pm

Lib Dem official believes Ambleside and Grasmere has been held by Coun Heidi Halliday (although no results have yet been formally announced)

 

 

1:46pm

UNCONFIRMED...a Lib Dem official has just told me that he believes that the party has retained all 13 seats it was contesting in Kendal and gained one...Underley from sitting councillor Rob Boden, an Independent, who defected from the Lib Dems last December.

I stress that no wards have formally been declared, this is a hunch from those watching the tables.

We will soon see.

BREAKING: The European turnout in South Lakeland was 44.75 per cent. 35,868 voted from a possible 80,154.

1:34pm

The smallest ward is Kendal Castle with around 1489 people eligible to vote. It could be declared first..but who knows

Kendal Strickland has around 1500 voters and could be second to be declared..but we'll see.

 

1:33pm

Counting is now officially under way after a morning of vote verification at Kendal Leisure Centre.

There is barely any noise across the large hall; save for the flick of papers...similar to the sound a kite makes when fluttering in the wind.

 

1:15pm

Kendal Green Party candidates Gwen Harrison and Chris Rowley say they are hopeful of winning one or two seats from the 17 being contested on the Lib-Dem controlled SLDC.

Gwen said: "We are starting from a standing start but the reaction was very positive and on the doorstep people were fed-up with the status quo and want change for the better."

I asked if there was a perception problem with the wider non-political public that the Greens only stood for 'grass and trees' when their agenda is actually far broader.

Gwen explained: "We want to push for greater social equality, helping small businesses rather than large corporations and pushing for things to improve the whole district."

Chris added: "Our main focus is social equality, it's above the environment on the leaflets..social equality, the economy and the environment are all part of the threesome, as it were."

Both believe there has been a chronic under-investment in cycling opportunities in Kendal with cycle-ways disconnected across the town.

The pair are hopeful for the future. Green Party membership has rocketed in the last few months, they say; having grown from a very small base.

The clear message being that whatever today's outcome, the Greens are here to stay in this area and see a role for their policies in local democracy.

Neither used the easy analogy, but it's clear that the Greens sense a groundswell of potential support in South Lakeland...they have taken root here, they are growing and can only blossom. 

12:56pm

The hall has virtually emptied now for lunch...although Tim Farron is sitting back from the Lib Dem table in conversation on the phone.

A few Liberals are chatting in one corner and across the hall, a group of Tories have pulled up chairs and are having sandwiches and drinks.

Now that the people have cleared, I can see that there are around 23 official tables, while the far wall is lined with large black ballot boxes.

The police are also in attendance in the far corner behind a metal barricade. 

Two Green candidates have also arrived...

 

 

12:46pm

Rob Boden, the Independent candidate standing in the Underley Ward of Kendal, has just been over with a copy of his election leaflet.)

He wanted to address council leader Peter Thornton's earlier reference on here to positive/negative campaigning.

Rob, chairman of Hallgarth Community Centre in Kendal, points out that he conducted a positive campaign and pointed dismissively to some negative references contained in some Lib Dem pamphlets.

Rob explains he campaigned on the platform of supporting a low income policy to help families and others struggling to make ends meet...opposing the Bedroom Tax...keeping social rents down...fund-raising for a play area and exploring more opportunities for youth activities.

"Can you get any more positive than that," he asks.

He also provides his leaflet which showed 'what he actually did'...

* I've been told the Kendal Green Party are not actually in attendance this morning as they are likely to arrive for the formal results being announced, where the official timing was given as 12.30pm.

 

 

12:39pm

Notes from behind-the-scenes last night...some SLDC staff were here until 1.10am this morning before getting up early to do it all again. I suspect many are looking forward to this Bank Holiday weekend...

The ballot boxes were driven in from polling stations across the district with Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale, and Mid-Furness (being the furthest wards from Kendal Leisure Centre, being the last to arrive.

The police also played a role - having to check the building...with chains put on the doors to impound your votes overnight.

The political system and councils may well not do everything we want all of the time but it cannot be denied that much blood and sweat is expended on upholding and safeguarding the democratic process.

A string of counting assistants have just departed the hall for a well-earned break after hours sitting on hard chairs sifting through thousands of papers...

12:17pm

No results have yet been declared...but two significant Liberal Democrat statesmen with an intuitive feel for these things (who have been table-watching all morning) are starting to approach me with whispered forecasts of successes in some wards.

This is not unexpected, but I repeat, no results have formally been declared.

However, positivity across the Lib Dems is certainly more tangible across the hall as time ticks on.

Ties are a little looser..the odd laugh here and there...smiles a little quicker to find their faces than they were this morning when the natural pensiveness that goes with being judged by an unseen electorate, was writ large across the collective Lib Dem face.

I still haven't managed to find any Greens - nor have they approached the press bank - so I'm off now to find some...

12:09pm

One of SLDC's staff has very kindly brought me a coffee...as I hunch, crooked and bent over the press table thrashing these bulletins out on my Acer Chromebook before the ink has had time to dry in my notebook.

I appreciate this kind of update will be low in your priorities of what you want to read about from the Gazette's coverage of the local elections...but I say it to formally record my grateful appreciation..

 

 

12:04pm

 

Boxes being emptied at Lakes Leisure, Kendal, as counting nears.

The Westmorland Gazette:

12:03pm

LABOUR'S Paul Braithwaite - standing amid a ring of red rosettes on the polished courts of Westmorland Hall - tells me that a good result for the party locally would be gaining one seat on South Lakeland District Council.

The party currently has no seats at all in Kendal. 

A victory in just one ward would only mean Labour growing its sphere of influence in the council chamber from three councillors to four.

Although this would not rock the political boat, it would provide a long overdue shot of confidence for its faithful band of local activists who have wrecked shoes by the amount of walking they have done on this campaign.

Asked what it was like emotionally, waiting for the results to come in, Paul laughed: "Personally, it's horrible. Like watching your life drain away...the die has been cast, you have no control, people have voted and you just have to wait and see how it goes."

Nationally, there are panic bells ringing that Labour has not made the huge strides of resurgence that some would be anticipating as the clock ticks down to the General Election.

Particularly with the threat of UKIP corroding the Tory vote, the party would have been expecting big popularity spikes this time after four years of a punishing austerity agenda...

But Kendal's Paul Braithwaite remains a fan of Ed Miliband. Asked what the Labour leader needs to do to up his game, Paul said: "I think he needs to be getting his policies across more - we're 12 months from a General Election we need policies the Labour Party can be trumpeting."

Of how Labour will fare locally - they stood 16 candidates in 17 seats (their largest for years), he said: "We've done as well as we can. We've targeted wards and it's now about how it unfolds."
"Until the results start coming through, it's difficult to know how it will pan out."

 

11:05am

Lib Dem president Tim Farron came along to the press table and my first question to him was: "Are the Lib Dems as popular today as they were in 2010?"

His immediate answer, without hesitation, was: "They are not nationally, but locally we've been immensely resilient if you look at our local scores over the last three or four years."

As results still come in, I asked him if, tonight, may be at 11pm, when all the results are in, and a national Lib Dem annihilation was on the cards, whether Nick Clegg's position would be in doubt...

Mr Farron, who has the Deputy Prime Minister's number on his mobile, said Nick deserved the support of the party: "It's the first time in four years nationally that we have had a mixed night and Nick has shown incredible courageousness in taking on UKIP who stand for a very nasty un-British view of British politics..for example telling Lenny Henry he should move to Africa."

"I think it would be really wrong now to turn our back on him (Nick Clegg)."

Mr Farron explained that the cycle of politics meant that the Lib Dems were bound to get shot at - four years into the coalition.

Of local performance, he said: "Our aim is to retain control of the council and increase our vote share. We need to win nine seats to retain control of the council."

It was then he stared up at the roof of the Westmorland Hall - almost to the heavens - as he did the maths.

Of voter apathy, he said: "If people are disillusioned by politics all you have to do is engage them, get our there; get your hands dirty and talk to them... I've always hammered our lot and been insistent that they don't just show up at election time."

Mr Farron said, with the Lib Dems being in Coalition and making tough decisions, there was lots for people to 'prick at'.

He insisted it was right - despite some pockets of protests - for the Lib Dems to pursue its local homes plan in South Lakeland and said those opposed to it should not be regarded as Nimbys.

"They will only be built if there is demand, so we will see what the demand is."

He cited 3,500 people on SLDC council house waiting list and said there were 'heart-breaking' stories of the housing problem at his surgeries.

However, he said if the council had not put its plan in place, it could have led to a free-for-all development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10:23am

Prospective Conservative candidate for Westmorland and Lonsdale, Dr Ann Myatt, who has remained relatively 'below radar' in the media since her selection was officially announced, has been watching the verification closely.

In a blue dress, she is right up to the counting tables and surrounded by a bank of her supporters and local campaigners including Coun James Airey, leader of the Conservatives on Cumbria County Council, and Ben Berry - son of the Lake District hotelier Simon Berry.

Of national results, Dr Myatt says there's a difference between being 'effective in Government and popular in Government'.

"It has fallen on our shoulders three times since the Second World War to fix the economic mess which has unfortunately been left by others.

"We've had to make tough, hard decisions but responsible decisions does not always translate into glorious election results."

Asked if she can genuinely beat Lib Dem President Tim Farron in 348 days (around 8300 hours, if you're counting), she said: "Of course we can. Any politician can be defeated at any election. But it's important at every election at every level that there has to be choice."

And therein lies her next point. The one-rule party of the Lib Dems in SLDC and previously on Kendal Town Council (where all 28 seats were held by those in yellow), needs to be diluted for democracy, she says.

"At the moment, it's too weighted to one party which I believe affects decision-making."

Of local Tory hopes for today, she says: "We are very positive, we have tried really hard and worked really hard and the team has been wonderful. We are hopeful of a good result."

10:02am

A very helpful SLDC IT man has just helped sort out my wifi connection. They have also laid on tables, chairs, plugs and special admission tickets allowing the media to move freely. 

This is a mammoth and important event for SLDC and democracy, with independent election observers prowling the courts.

To me at least, it seems incredibly well-organised...

9:58am

SLDC's Lib Dem leader, Peter Thornton - wearing a spectacular yellow tie and a smart dark blue suit, has just told me: "You can't predict anything."

"But we had a good day yesterday and got lots and lots of voters out. We didn't see much sign of UKIP which doesn't mean they are not there."

"I don't think UKIP will be a factor here in local politics, but more in the Europeans."

He added: "We had a positive agenda in this campaign - on jobs, affordable homes, town centre improvements...all the other parties just seemed to oppose what we've been doing. I didn't see one positive idea.

"So it will be interesting to see if they go for a positive agenda or a negative one."

 

9:51am

No voting papers are being counted at the moment - that comes later. What is taking now is the verification process.

The count is not expected to get under way until 12.30-12.45pm with the first results expected around 40 minutes later...although this could change.

In 2010, across 18 seats the Liberal Democrats polled 15,877 votes and the Tories 8,586 votes.

In 2010 from 13 seats it contested, Labour polled 1882. Four years ago the Greens only had one candidate who polled around 200 votes in Mid Furness - this time they have 17 candidates.

Cllr Ian Stewart, one of the Lib Dems' longest-servers and a keen strategy man, has been over to the media table to declare that he expects 'no change', before waltzing away.

(And by that he cheekily means the Liberals will still be in the driving seat of town hall politics locally) which they almost certainly should be with their majority.

However, it remains to be seen whether the Tories, Greens, Labour or even UKIP, can eat into that majority by nicking a couple of seats from the yellow side of the chamber.

 

9:43am

In the 'echo chamber' of the main hall, the Returning Officer and SLDC deputy chief executive Debbie Storr, welcomed everyone - candidates, agents, observers and the media.

She appealed for patience and stressed the importance that papers are accurately verified.

The rustle of paper being unfolded and sorted and the quiet murmur of hopeful voices is all that can be heard.

9:36am

Many candidates are keeping a close eye on counting as council staff, counting supervisors and counting assistants take out the voting papers and arrange them into huge heaps in the centre of the tables.

 

9:34am

Westmorland Hall is buzzing with people and the first black and sealed ballot boxes are beginning to be distributed to several long tables laid out across the squeaky badminton courts.

 

 

8:54am

It's been a big night of counting for many areas - the biggest night of the year for politicians, activists and town hall staff.

Lib Dem party president Tim Farron last night thanked its campaigners for knocking on what he said was 78,000 doors.

But with big Lib Dem losses recorded - the party beaten into 6th place in the Wetheral ward on Carlisle City Council - it will be interesting to see whether the Westmorland Lib Dems have maintained their stronghold.

Can the local Conservatives, who have spoken of being more organised and better prepared this time, make any gains into the SLDC chamber?

Will Labour  - traditionally the third party of Westmorland and Lonsdale - see any payback from those jaded by the Tory-Lib Dem Coalition and grow their three seats on SLDC?

The new kids on the block in the SLDC elections this time are the Kendal Green Party - fielding 17 candidates in all 17 seats for the first time ever. Will voters opposed to housing development on greenfield sites use their presence in the elections as an opportunity to protest against the Lib Dem plans?

And what of UKIP in Westmorland? They had four candidates standing but played a low-key game (not issuing a single press release nor putting forward anything resembling a local manifesto).

It was a windy night in Kendal last night and Nigel Farage's political earthquake is shaking-up politics nationally, but at a local level will it only serve to blow voters away from the Tories and erode the blue vote?

It's all to play for..

 

Comments (3)

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3:00pm Fri 23 May 14

PropMeUpWithTeabags says...

Well Done to Alvin for Kendal Kirkland. Hes a top bloke~~!
Well Done to Alvin for Kendal Kirkland. Hes a top bloke~~! PropMeUpWithTeabags
  • Score: -10

7:01pm Fri 23 May 14

Red Doc says...

So.Longsleddale's answer to Kim Jong Un thinks it was a good result. The one party state rules in Kendal. One day the people who voted in these cretins will live to regret it, when they've destroyed all our accessible countryside & local people are still unable to afford the majority of the houses covering it & nobody can move for all the extra traffic trying to get to the nonexistent new schools.
So.Longsleddale's answer to Kim Jong Un thinks it was a good result. The one party state rules in Kendal. One day the people who voted in these cretins will live to regret it, when they've destroyed all our accessible countryside & local people are still unable to afford the majority of the houses covering it & nobody can move for all the extra traffic trying to get to the nonexistent new schools. Red Doc
  • Score: 9

6:18pm Sat 24 May 14

jazzactivist says...

Well, that really is a surprise. The only region where the Lib Dems have dramatically increased their seats and power! At least we haven't got too many Tories, although with this coalition government the Lib Dems are now almost Tory anyway... I'm pleased to see the Greens getting going and fielding more candidates - it's only a matter of time. Why does Labour have such a low profile in South Lakes? And thank goodness we don't have any UKIPs.
Well, that really is a surprise. The only region where the Lib Dems have dramatically increased their seats and power! At least we haven't got too many Tories, although with this coalition government the Lib Dems are now almost Tory anyway... I'm pleased to see the Greens getting going and fielding more candidates - it's only a matter of time. Why does Labour have such a low profile in South Lakes? And thank goodness we don't have any UKIPs. jazzactivist
  • Score: -8

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