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Independents draw first blood in Fenland District Council elections




The results are in - there is now a substantial opposition on Fenland District Council for the first time in many years with the election of 10 independents, two Lib Dems and one Green councillor.

The Conservatives retain overall control of the authority winning 26 seats.

The final result declared was March East Ward which saw the final independent win in the shape of yet another long-term former Conservative Fred Yeulett.

He was elected alongside former Fenland Council leader John Clark and newcomer Mark Purser, who has served on the town council for many years but has taken on the district council for the first time.

There were eight candidates vying for votes in the ward and the full result is as follows: Katharine Bultitude (Lab) 400, John Clark (Con) 581, Andrew Crawford (Green) 408, Martin Field (Lab) 403, Ray Jack (Con) 483, Andrew Pugh (ind) 455, Mark Purser (Con) 520 and Fred Yeulett (ind) 514.

The turn out was 25.27 per cent and there were 15 rejected papers.

Fred Yeulett independent for March East. (9594659)
Fred Yeulett independent for March East. (9594659)
John Clark (Con) March East. (9594661)
John Clark (Con) March East. (9594661)
Mark Purser (Con) March East. (9594663)
Mark Purser (Con) March East. (9594663)

The Green party is celebrating their first ever district councillor with the election of Simon Wilkes in the March West Ward.

He served up one of the biggest shocks of the day ousting long-term Tory Kit Owen from the seat.

The other two ward representatives will however, be Conservatives with stalwart Jan French keeping her seat, and new Conservative member, but former independent councillor Rob Skoulding also being elected.

Mr Wilkes, who is visually impaired, was not present to hear of his momentous victory.

The full result is: Jan French (Con) 847, Kit Owen (Con) 510, Matthew Routledge (Lab) 369, Rob Skoulding (Con) 1008 and Simon Wilkes (Green) 524. There were 29 spoilt papers and the turn out was 27.47.

Jan French and Rob Skoulding elected to March East alongside Fenland's first ever Green councillor Simon Wilkes. (9592641)
Jan French and Rob Skoulding elected to March East alongside Fenland's first ever Green councillor Simon Wilkes. (9592641)

The independent count is now at nine with two former Conservatives retaining their seats in Elm and Christchurch.

Michelle Tanfield and Will Sutton, both de-selected by the Tories were returned under the independents banner.

The full result was Victoria Bunting (Green) 213, Will Sutton (ind) 451, Michelle Tanfield (ind) 444, Phil Webb (Con) 291, and Peter Wheeler (Con) 282. The turn out was 26.2 per cent.

Will Sutton and Michelle Tanfield elected to Elm and Christchurch (9591944)
Will Sutton and Michelle Tanfield elected to Elm and Christchurch (9591944)

March North Ward served up another seat for the independents this time it was former Conservative cabinet member Mike Cornwell, who upset his former Tory colleagues.

He was elected alongside two Conservatives. Kim French, who has been a town councillor for a number of years but has stood for the district for the first time and another long-serving Tory Steve Count.

The full result was: Mike Cornwell (ind) 524, Steve Count (Con) 471, Stephen Court (Lib Dem) 365, Kim French (con) 449, Silke Ibbotson (Lib Dem) 295, Ruth Johnson (Green) 389, Peter Thompson (Con), 379.

The turn out was 22.27 per cent.

Kim French Conservative March North. (9592645)
Kim French Conservative March North. (9592645)
Steve Count March North. (9592639)
Steve Count March North. (9592639)
Independent Mike Cornwell elected to March North. (9592643)
Independent Mike Cornwell elected to March North. (9592643)

Benwick, Coates and Eastrea was the first ward to have no spoilt ballot papers with voters returning on Conservative and one independent to represent them for the next four years.

Tory Alex Miscandlon, was re-elected for a third term, while Bob Wicks took the other of the ward's two seats for the independents.

The full vote was: Graham Costello (con) 372,, Maria Goldspink (ind), 291, Stephen Goldspink (ind) 274, Alex Miscandlon (Con) 395, Bob Wicks (ind) 381. The turn out was 28.71 per cent.

BobWicks elected to Benwick, Coates and Eastrea ward. (9591916)
BobWicks elected to Benwick, Coates and Eastrea ward. (9591916)
Alex Miscandlon elected to Benwick, Coates and Eastrea Ward, (9591923)
Alex Miscandlon elected to Benwick, Coates and Eastrea Ward, (9591923)

The Liberal Democrats have retained their two seats at Wisbech St Mary with Gavin Booth and Sarah Bligh winning.

It was a straight fight between the two Lib Dems and Conservatives.

The full result was: Sarah Bligh (Lib Dem) 722, Gavin Booth (Lib Dem) 815, Rita Drinkwater (Con) 350 and Dean Rogers (Con) 268.

There were 31 spoilt ballot papers and turn out was 29.2 per cent.

Mr Booth thanked everyone who voted and said the result was down to the continued hardwork of the pair. He also pointed out the number of people spoiling their voting papers in protest at what is happening at a national level and said politicians of all parties need to get their act together.

Mrs Bligh paid tribute to Mr Booth for taking her under his wing after her defection from the Conservative party and described him as "fabulous person".

Lib Dems Sarah Bligh and Gavin Booth retained the Wisbech St Mary ward. (9590112)
Lib Dems Sarah Bligh and Gavin Booth retained the Wisbech St Mary ward. (9590112)

There were muted cheers from the Conservatives as they took the two Octavia Hill Ward seats.

Tories Samantha Hoy and Susan Wallwork beat Labour's Clayton Payne and independent Peter Freeman.

The full result was Peter Freeman (ind) 420, Samantha Hoy (Con) 639, Clayton Payne (Lab) 175 and Susan Wallwork (Con) 487.

Susan Wallwork (left) and Sam Hoty thank the electorate after winning the Octavia Hill Ward in Wisbech. (9589502)
Susan Wallwork (left) and Sam Hoty thank the electorate after winning the Octavia Hill Ward in Wisbech. (9589502)

Waterlees Village Ward has seen one independent and one Conservative returned as their representatives on the district council.

Andy Maul, a former Conservative, who joined the newly formed independents took one of the seats vacated by husband and wife team Mike and Virginia Bucknor, with the other going to Conservative Billy Rackley.

The full result was: Aigars Balsevics (Con) 384, Andy Maul (ind) 440, Ray Pearson (ind) 266 and Billy Rackley (con) 449.

There were 20 spoilt papers and the turn out was 22.4 per cent.

Billy Rackley (con) and left Andy Maul (ind) thank everyone who voted for them. (9589428)
Billy Rackley (con) and left Andy Maul (ind) thank everyone who voted for them. (9589428)

The shocks just keep coming as the Fenland District Council election results continue to be announced with the independents taking yet another seat.

Having already won three seats they have now taken Peckover Ward in Wisbech from another long-serving Conservative.

David Oliver was beaten by a former Tory colleague - Nick Meekins who was standing under the newly formed independents' umbrella.

Mr Meekins was not in the hall to hear the result which saw him take 292 votes compared to Mr Oliver's 218.

There were nine spoilt papers and the turn out was 28.19 per cent.

David Oliver walks away after hearing he has lost his Peckover seat. (9589025)
David Oliver walks away after hearing he has lost his Peckover seat. (9589025)

There was a gasp around the Hudson Leisure Centre as the result for Chatteris Slade Lode was announced seeing long term council stalwart Florence Newell ousted by independent Daniel Divine.

Newly elected councillor Divine was not in the room to hear of his victory polling 248 votes to Mrs Newell's 165.

There were nine spoilt papers and the turn out was 20.57 percent.

Afterwards Mrs Newell said: "To say this is a disappointment is an understatement. I have worked extremely hard helping people and spent a lot my time and effort to have this result. It is going to take me a lot to get over this."

Florence Newell is comforted by Alan Melton after losing the Chatteris Slade Lode seat. (9588573)
Florence Newell is comforted by Alan Melton after losing the Chatteris Slade Lode seat. (9588573)

The Conservatives hung on to all three seats in Roman Bank Ward with all three of the wards serving councillors, Michael Humphrey, Sam Clark and Fenland's current leader Chris Seaton, being safely returned.

The full result was: Sam Clark (Con) 927, Diane Cutler (Lib Dem), 465, Michael Humphrey (Con) 885 and Chris Seaton (Con) 794. There were 75 rejected papers - the most of any ward, and the turn out was 27.48 per cent.

Michael Humphrey, Chris Seaton and Sam Clark elected to Roman Bank. (9591929)
Michael Humphrey, Chris Seaton and Sam Clark elected to Roman Bank. (9591929)

The newly formed independents have taken the first seat of the day at the local elections count at the Hudson Leisure Centre in Wisbech.

Dave Patrickelected to Kirkgate ward. (9586629)
Dave Patrickelected to Kirkgate ward. (9586629)

Taxi driver David Patrick won Kirkgate ward beating rival Conservative Garry Tibbs with 230 votes to 179.

The turn out was 22.44 per cent and there were six spoilt papers.

After the announcement new Councillor Patrick thanked everyone for putting their faith in him.

Second out of the trap saw a Conservative win with Alan Bristow winning the Lattersey Ward,Whittlesey, beating Labour's Jes Hibbert by 200 votes - 407 votes to 207 votes.

There were 16 spoilt papers and the turn out was 29 per cent.

Independent Charlie Marks has won Manea. (9587881)
Independent Charlie Marks has won Manea. (9587881)

A second independent has taken a seat on Fenland Council with Manea being lost by the Conservatives.

Independent Charlie Marks scooped the seat beating Tory candidate Emma Kujat and Green party's Robert White.

He took 404 votes, with Mrs Kujat polling 258 and Mr White 84.

Manea saw the highest turn out of the day with 37.55 per cent of the electorate casting their votes. There were 14 rejected papers.



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