Highs and lows of East Cambridgeshire elections 2019 where turnout rose to almost 40 per cent in some places but dropped to 22 per cent in Littleport

Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.

Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.

Archant

With an average turnout of 32.1 per cent - with the lowest at 22 per cent and the highest just under 40 per cent - East Cambridgeshire District Council Liberal Democrats came within a whisker of taking control.

Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.

With an average turnout of 32.1 per cent - with the lowest at 22 per cent and the highest just under 40 per cent - East Cambridgeshire District Council Liberal Democrats came within a whisker of taking control.

The council down-sized from 39 to 28 and at one moment during Friday's count it looked possible the Tories could lose control with six of the seven Ely seats falling to the Lib Dems.

Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.

But it was the villages that rescued the Conservatives and shortly after their control was ensured Mayor James Palmer and his political assistant Tom Hunt arrived at the Ross Peers Centre, Soham, to join the celebrations.

It will, however, be a different landscape for the Conservatives who lost a number of long serving councillors as they take control with 15 seats and 13 for the Liberal Democrats.

Cllr Anna Bailey, deputy leader, said: "I am extremely sad and disappointed to have lost some hardworking councillors."

Those defeated include Mark Goldsack at Soham who took his seat in a by election two years ago when James Palmer became mayor. He felt national issues such as Brexit "clouded local concerns and I can assure you that no one is more upset at the current Brexit position than am I".

Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.

He added: "But I believe in democracy and therefore accept that in this ward this means two seats for Liberal Democrat candidates. With my tongue in my cheek I won't say that I do not accept the decision and would like the vote again on this occasion."

Also no longer on the council is Richard Hobbs, who has been mayor of Ely four times and who lost both his Ely seat on the district council and the city council

Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.

Mayor Mike Rouse, who lost his district seat but retained his city council seat, felt anguish over the departure of Mr Hobbs.

"Richard will be sorely missed on the city council; he has been one of hardest working councillors, bringing great experience and dedication to everything he has done."

Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.

Cllr Rouse said his former colleague's greatest legacy would be the leisure village and "without his drive and determination it would never have gone ahead.

"I know it has been a great source of pleasure to him to see how successful and popular it is. I will certainly miss him as a friend and someone who could always be relied upon to contribute to debates and help take decisions."

Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.

Cllr Lorna Dupre, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: "We are back and not going anywhere..

"We will continue to hold the Conservative administration to account and challenge them; which we can do much more now we have a larger group.

Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.

"I am delighted to have come from just three councillors to this - it is a huge achievement and I am incredibly proud of all the hard work my team have put in."

It was a tightly-fought battle for East Cambridgeshire District Council to remain under Conservatives rule after a surge in votes for the Liberal Democrats saw a nail biting finish.

Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.

Early on into the results the Lib Dems appeared to have stormed ahead, but it was the Conservatives who eventually claimed the most seats with 15 - only just two ahead of the Lib Dems at 13. Boundary changes saw the number of seats available drop from 39 to 28.

It meant that long-standing Tory councillors lost their seats in various wards.

Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.Conservatives cling on in East Cambridgeshire after Liberal Democrat surge. Picture: CLARE BUTLER.

Deputy leader of the Conservative group Cllr Anna Bailey, who was re-elected in the Downham ward, blamed issues nationally for the group taking a blow in the area.

She said: "I am extremely sad and disappointed to have lost some hardworking councillors.

Lorna Dupre saw a resurgence of support for the Lib Dems in East Cambs. They now have 13 of the 28 seats on the council.Lorna Dupre saw a resurgence of support for the Lib Dems in East Cambs. They now have 13 of the 28 seats on the council.

"There is no doubt that what is happening nationally has caused this and we have suffered because of it.

"It was clear on the doorsteps that national issues were the main concerns for people.

"However, I am pleased that we have retained control.

"We have set out a very clear manifesto and are united as a group to make sure we deliver it.

"We have projects across the district from the last four years that we will continue to focus on and move forward with."

Turnout was highest in the Bottisham Ward, with 43 per cent of people coming out to vote.

The Liberal Democrats took a significant lead there with Charlotte Cane claiming 900 votes and John Trapp, 838 ahead of the Conservatives Matthew Shuter with 648.

The Lib Dems gained both seats in Ely North - one of the wards affected by this year's boundary changes.

It meant Mayor of Ely Mike Rouse lost his seat after several years on the council.

Other results followed in a similar vein as Tory councillors Mike Bradley, Richard Hobbs, Carol Sennitt and Mark Goldsack all lost their seats.

The ward with the lowest turnout was Littleport, with 22 per cent.

Here it was a clear win for Christine Ambrose Smith, with 790 votes and her husband David with 754 votes.

Another two seats in Littleport went to David Ambrose Smith, with 754 votes, and Jo Webber with 782.

Lorna Dupre, leader of the Liberal Democrats was jubilant with her members, as she said the results reflected that they were here to stay.

"We are back and not going anywhere," she said.

"We will continue to hold the Conservative administration to account and challenge them; which we can do much more now we have a larger group.

"I am delighted to have come from just three councillors to this - it is a huge achievement and I am incredibly proud of all the hard work my team have put in.

"We have so many ideas for the district."

Youngest councillor for the district, 23-year-old Lib Dem Matthew Downey was elected for Ely East.

He said: "I am shocked but elated.

"I am really looking forward to bringing youth and vibrancy to the council.

"I was quite fed up with the world and wanted to do something to change the way things were run - so here I am now."

In the end it was Burwell that took the Conservatives over line to remain in power, with David Brown and Lavinia Edwards winning comfortably.

BOTTISHAM

Cane, Charlotte (Lib Dem) 900 *

Goodland, Jane (Lab) 336

McGrady, Steve (Green) 194

O'Dell, Steven (Lab) 252

Shuter, Matthew (Con) 648

Thurston, Bradley (Con) 571

Trapp, John (Lib Dem) 838 *

Turnout: 43 pc

BURWELL

Brown, David (Con) 726 *

Cubitt, Martin (UKIP) 172

Edwards, Lavinia (Con) 642 *

Safe, Hilary (Lab) 215

Swift, Liz (Lab) 243

Waterhouse, Floramy (Green) 314

Wrench, Catherine (Lib Dem) 456

Wrench, Hebe (Lib Dem) 350

Turnout: 33.7 pc

DOWNHAM

Bailey, Anna (Con) 493 *

Brenke, (Lib Dem) 352

Winters, Owen (Ind) 113

Turnout: 39.8 pc

ELY EAST

Downey, Mathew (Lib Dem) 777 *

Every, Lis (Con) 727 *

Hobbs, Richard (Con) 642

Morris, Isobel (Lab) 152

Moschetta, Louise (Lab) 151

Semmens, Clive (Green) 267

Wilkins, Kevin (Lib Dem) 690

Turnout: 39.3 pc

ELY NORTH

Bellow, Sarah (Con) 409

Carlsson Browne, Edward (Lab) 168

Denness, Rebecca (Lab) 178

Harries, Simon (Lib Dem) 540 *

Rouse, Mike (Con) 410

Whelan, Alison (Lib Dem) 591 *

Turnout: 38.2 pc

ELY WEST

Austen, Sue (Lib Dem) 1380 *

Borland, John (Ind) 354

Bristow, Gemma (Green) 511

Fraser, Sarah (Lab) 386

Hucker, Mark (Lab) 299

Merrick, Helen (Con) 890

Miller, David (Con) 868

Page, Charlie (Con) 692

Perkins, Sarah (Lab) 297

Primarco, Paola (Lib Dem) 1330 *

Whelan, Christine (Lib Dem) 1308 *

Turnout: 38.9pc

FORDHAM & ISLEHAM

Beckett, Derrick (Ind) 381

Crickmark, Chris (Lab) 131

Docwra, Connor (Lib Dem) 307

Goodland, Jamie (Lab) 127

Huffer, Julia (Con) 743 *

Moss-Eccardt, Rupert (Lib Dem) 185

Schumann, Joshua (Con) 647 *

Turnout: 29.39pc

HADDENHAM

Hill, Lydia (Lab) 67

Juneau, Carly (Green) 80

Smith, Stuart (Con) 358

Wilson, Gareth (Lib Dem) 524 *

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Turnout: 38.6pc

LITTLEPORT

Ambrose Smith, Christine (Con) 790 *

Ambrose Smith, David (Con) 754 *

Double, Martyn (Lib Dem) 403

Double, Siobhan (Lib Dem) 476

Harris, Lindsay (Lib Dem) 440

Phillips, Lee (Green) 475

Webber, Jo (Con) 782 *

Turnout: 22.1 pc

SOHAM NORTH

Abbott, Chris (Lab) 124

Charlesworth, Victoria (Lib Dem) 599 *

Foley, Eileen (Lab) 107

Goldsack (Con) 528

Jones, Alec (Lib Dem) 558 *

Sennitt, Carol (Con) 465

Turnout: 24.9 pc

SOHAM SOUTH

Bovingdon, Ian (Con) 507 *

Burnett, Joanna (Lib Dem) 335

Frost, Lucy (Lab) 194

Schumann, Dan (Con) 487 *

Tyson, Peter (Lab) 143

Warner, Charles (Lib Dem) 353

Turnout: 23.6 pc

STRETHAM

Allen, Ian (Lab) 357

Hunt, Hill (Con) 964 *

Spencer, Gill (Lab) 225

Stubbs, Lisa (Con) 929 *

Westwell, Rosemary (Lib Dem) 724

Wilson, Pauline (Lib Dem) 676

Turnout: 39.8pc

SUTTON

Bradley, Mike (Con) 536

Dupre, Lorna (Lib Dem) 925 *

Inskip, Mark (Lib Dem) 1199 *

Skelham, Beth (Con) 466

Turnout: 39.1 pc

WOODDITTON

Crickmark Teresa (Lab) 190

Fullerton, Richard (UKIP) 229

Ross, Christopher (Lib Dem) 287

Sharp, Alan (Con) 840 *

Smith, Susan (Lab) 170

Starkey, Amy (Con) 814 *

Whelan, Zoe (Lib Dem) 305

Turnout: 30.8 pc

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