IT WAS a good day for the Conservative Party as they claimed six of the eight Malvern Hills seats up for grabs in the Worcestershire County Council elections.
A total of 22,160 votes had been made by residents across the eight wards which converted into a turn out of 37.5 per cent – up by almost five per cent from the 2013 election.
The wards of Croome, Hallow, Malvern Chase, Malvern Langland, Malvern Link and Tenbury were won by the Conservatives while the Green Party and Liberal Democrats retained Malvern Trinity and Powick respectively.
Phil Grove (Cons) increased his majority in Hallow by 146 after retaining his seat with 1,991 votes – 1,654 ahead of closest rival Colin Bexley (Lab).
And the leader of Malvern Hills District Council was relieved to have secured his seat for a further four years.
“I’m absolutely delighted as the majority has gone up considerably,” he said. “A lot of hard work has gone into it [the campaign] and it shows the support for the Conservative Party is there.
“There was some nerves as nothing is final until the count is done and the returning officer gives the verdict but I’m happy with the result.”
Tom Wells (Lib Dems) extended his reign as county councillor for Powick to 24 years after picking up 2,407 votes in a three horse race against David Barrie (Lab) and Justin Chieffo (Cons).
The result also extended Mr Wells’ majority in the ward to 1,600 and he expressed his thanks to those voted for him.
“My enormous gratitude goes to those who took time out of their busy days to pop down to the polling stations yesterday (Thursday),” he said.
“Democracy is alive and kicking in my division. The turn-out was higher and I’m pleased the other candidates made a battle of it – well done to them.”
With only a majority of three in Langlands, the Conservatives were in for a tough battle to claim the seat off Ian Hopwood who this year stood as an independent.
And the vote proved to be close but it was James O’Donnell (Cons) who went on to increase his party’s majority to 44 after picking up 767 votes while Mr Hopwood received 723.
Mr O’Donnell said: “It’s been a very positive campaign on local issues by local people and I’m delighted with the result.
“I leafleted as many houses as possible and my thanks goes out to all those residents who voted for me.”
John Raine (Greens) held on to Trinity, increasing his majority from five to 174, after holding off stiff competition from Tony Baker (Cons).
Mr Raine received 930 votes while his Conservative opponent picked up 756.
“I’m very pleased as I genuinely had no idea how well I would do,” Mr Raine said. “It was possible I could lose this seat with the UKIP decline and swing to Conservative but the voters have once again put their trust in me.
“I’m proud to have retained my seat and look forward to working very hard again for the next four years.”
Lucy Hodgson (Cons) increased her majority in Chase ward from a close 27 to a dominating 673 after receiving 1,372 votes.
The Liberal Democrats were hoping to take the seat off the Conservatives but they fell short as representative William Chaundy only received 699 votes.
“My hard work starts now and I’m very grateful the residents had the confidence to re-elect me,” Mrs Hodgson said.
“To have have increased my majority by more than 650 certainly shows the support the residents have in me.
“It’s time to make sure the views of those resident are made at County Hall – yes it’s going to be hard but I’m ready for the next stage.”
Roger Sutton (Ind) was left disappointed as he his 71 majority in Croome disappeared after Paul Middlebrough (Cons) gained the seat with 1,091 votes, 81 more than his rival candidate.
Mr Middlebrough said; “I was quite thrilled to get the seat in Croome but I always knew it was going to be a hard fight because Roger was a good councillor.
“However, it is all about politics and I feel I can put the people in Croome at the top table at County Hall.”
There was good news for Paul Tuthill (Cons) as he increased his majority in Link ward from 173 to 533.
Mr Tuthill expressed his delight after picking up 1,327 votes and is looking forward to serving his residents for a further four years.
“It’s a good result which has come from a lot of and effort and hopefully reflects the work over the last four years,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ken Pollock (Cons) was left all smiles as he held on to his Tenbury seat as well as increasing his majority from 740 to 1,221.
“It’s tremendously encouraging to see a large number of people coming out to vote for me again,” he said.
“It’s good there are four parties representing the area as it gives people chance to air their views but there’s something of an endorsement for the Conservative Party.”
Croome (2,537 votes cast, 37% turn out)
Paul Middlebrough (Cons) – 1,091
Roger Sutton (Ind) – 970
Irene Stickley (Lab) – 163
Doug Guest (UKIP) – 158
John Lambeth (Green) – 146
Hallow (2,799 votes cast, 37% turn out)
Phil Grove (Cons) – 1,991
Colin Bexley (Lab) – 337
John Drage (Lib Dem) – 320
Danny Young (UKIP) – 143
Malvern Chase (2,902 votes cast, 40% turn out)
Lucy Hodgson (Cons) – 1,372
William Chaundy (Lib Dem) – 699
John Gallagher (Lab) – 417
Jackie Smethurst (Green) – 260
Jeanette Sheen (UKIP) – 151
Malvern Langland (2,271 votes cast, 30% turn out)
James O’Donnell (Cons) – 767
Caroline Bovey (Lib Dem) – 723
Lynne Lambeth (Lab) – 384
Ian Hopwood (Ind) – 155
Dinah Sage (Green) – 137
Richard Spencer (UKIP) – 99
Malvern Link (2,898 votes cast, 38% turn out)
Paul Tuthill (Cons) – 1,327
Kwai Chan (Lib Dem) – 794
Martin Willis (Lab) – 408
William Jenkins (Green) – 208
Mike Savage (UKIP) – 155
Malvern Trinity (2,445 votes cast, 37% turn out)
John Raine (Green) – 930
Tony Baker (Cons) – 756
Kaleem Askar (Lib Dem) – 365
Samantha Charles (Lab) – 262
Len Marhsall (UKIP) – 123
Powick (3,349 votes cast, 44% turn out)
Tom Wells (Lib Dem) – 2,407
Justin Chieffo (Cons) – 807
David Barrie (UKIP) – 120
Tenbury (2,959 votes cast, 37% turn out)
Ken Pollock (Cons) – 1,772
Jonathan Morgan (Lab) – 551
Elaine Drage (Lib Dem) – 255
Stephen Main (Green) – 192
Malcolm Delingpole (UKIP) – 118