THE CONSERVATIVES have completed a near whitewash in the latest round of Stratford District Council elections.
Following a local governnment boundary review, the number of councillors on the authority has been slashed from 53 to just 36.
But the party were all smiles as they walked away having scooped 31 of the seats up for grabs.
The Conservatives’ success follows that of recently re-elected MP Nadhim Zahawi, who held his Stratford seat with an almost 23,000 majority.
However there were some big name casualties as long-time Lib Dem councillor Hazel Wright was ousted by Justin Kerridge in the new Studley with Mappleborough Green ward.
Stratford First Independent and former Mayor, Keith Lloyd was beaten in the Welcombe ward by Conservative Tony Jefferson while his colleague Juliet Short was also left disappointed after she lost the Avenue ward to Tory Maurice Howse.
Lib Dem Bill Dowling failed in his bid to win the Shottery seat, which was claimed by Tory newcomer Molly Giles while Peter Oakley – a former Tory councillor who defected to UKIP at the beginning of the year – was beaten in his former seat of Tanworth-in-Arden by Conservative candidate, George Atkinson who secured 1,308 votes to Mr Oakley’s 93.
And although Labour’s one district councillor Jeff Kenner could not hold off the challenge from Stratford District Council leader Chris Saint in the Shipston North ward, there was some consolation as the party won its first ever seat in Stratford through Jason Fojtik’s victory in the Clopton ward.
Lib Dem stalwarts Peter Moorse, Kate Rolfe and Jenny Fradgley won seats on the council to represent the Hathaway, Tiddington and Guildhall areas respectively, but Coun Fradgley’s husband Ian, who is currently Stratford’s, was unable to join them – as he was beaten in the Bridgetown ward to Conservative candidate, Lynda Organ.
The Lib Dem’s also lost their leader after Richard Cheney was narrowly beaten in the polls for the Shipston South seat by Tory newcomer Joanna Barker.
The last non-Tory seat on the council was taken by Independent councillor Peter Barnes, who struck victory in the Welford ward by just 11 votes.
For a full reaction to the elections see next week’s Observer.
Visit stratfordobserver.co.uk/2015/05/08/news-Stratford-District-Council-election-results-134103.html for a breakdown of results.