THE Conservatives made large gains on both sides of the Wye in last week’s county council elections.
In Gloucestershire the Tories took seven of the eight divisions in the Forest, winning one each from Labour and UKIP and taking the vacant seat in Drybrook and Lydbrook created by a UKIP resignation last year.
UKIP, who won three seats in 2013, lost their last county councillor, Richard Leppington who was beaten in Blakeney and Bream by Conservative Richard Boyles.
Labour lost one of their two Forest seats on the county council with Shaun Stammers, the party’s General Election candidate, unable to retain Coleford for the party against the challenge of Conservative Carole Allaway-Martin.
Long-serving county councillor Graham Morgan retained Cinderford for Labour although he announced he would not be standing again.
Patrick Molyneux retained Sedbury for the Conservatives with the Greens’ Chris McFarling coming second.
Tories Will Windsor-Clive in Newent, Alan Preest in Lydney and Brian Robinson in Mitcheldean were all returned to Shire Hall.
Terry Hale took Drybrook and Lydbrook for the Conservatives, beating Independent Andrew Gardiner by 36 votes.
Mark Harper, who is defending the Forest of Dean seat for the Conservatives at the General Election, said he was pleased with the council results but they would be taking nothing for granted on June 8.
The Conservatives made large gains in Monmouthshire to become the controlling party after five years of ruling with the support of the Liberal Democrats.
Among the casualties was Phil Hobson, the Lib Dem deputy leader of the council, who lost his Larkfield seat to the Conservative Paul Pavia who has been Mayor of Chepstow for the last year.
The Liberal Democrats retain three seats on the council after gaining the Caldicot Castle ward.
Jo Watkins polled 271 votes, 18 ahead of Labour’s Jeff Williams and 24 more than Tim Fawcitt for the Conservatives.
There were also town and parish council elections across the area with big changes in Monmouth in particular.
The largest single group is newly-formed INDY Monmouth which won seven seats on Monmouth Town Council.
The seven successful INDY Monmouth candidates were Anna Antebi, Claudia Blair, Ken Breeze, Felicity Cotton, Kelly Jackson-Graham, Alice Legg and Jess Stephens – none of who were previously involved in politics.
Among those to lose their seats were Chris Munslow in the town ward who has served as Mayor of Monmouth for the last 12 months.
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