SOUTH Lakeland's political scales tipped further in favour of the Liberal Democrats, when the district's voters headed to the polls yesterday (May 3) in the latest round of local elections.

The party, which stormed to victory in 2006, maintained its grip on the district and stole three more seats from the Conservatives.

Long-standing Windermere Tory Jennifer Borer (333 votes) was elbowed out of the Applethwaite Ward by Lib Dem newcomer Maggie Bridge (488). And in the wards of Crooklands and Arnside & Beetham, the Lib Dems took advantage of the vacancies left by two outgoing Tories - Pru Jupe taking the seat in Arnside & Beetham and Sheila Eccles replacing John Galbraith in Crooklands, where he had represented the Conservatives for more than 10 years.

Coun Brendan Jameson, leader of the Lib Dems on SLDC, said a "huge" number had voted for his party.

"We were expecting to gain between one and four seats but what we didn't expect were the huge majorities that we had in some areas and the huge number of voters we had voting in our favour. Even where we didn't win we successfully reduced the Conservative's majorities in a number of wards."

One third of the district's seats were up for grabs this year, but elsewhere there was little change.

For more analysis of the results see next Friday's Westmorland Gazette.