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MELKSHAM has elected Wiltshire Council’s only UK Independence Party councillor in the local elections held last week.
UKIP made headlines for gaining seats around the country, but won just one seat in Wiltshire, with David Pollitt winning the Melksham Central Ward.
It was also a good night for the Liberal Democrats in Melksham where they became the largest party on the town council, although without an overall majority. They won seven seats, four more than in the last elections four years ago. The Conservatives won six seats (down one) with Independents winning two seats (no change).
The Liberal Democrats also won two Wiltshire Council seats, with Pat Aves winning in Melksham North and Jon Hubbard in Melksham South. Terry Chivers (Independent) was elected in Melksham Without North and Roy While (Conservative) in Melksham Without South.
Overall at County Hall the Conservatives have retained control of Wiltshire Council, with 58 seats; the Liberal Democrats have 27 seats, Independent councillors hold 8 seats, Labour holds 4 seats, while UKIP hold 1 seat.
UKIP’S David Pollitt said, “I’m very happy and excited to have won Melksham Central for UKIP. I would like to thank all those who voted for me. The public have shown how the majority of people in this country think; we don’t want to be told what to do by a political elite, be they in Westminster or Brussels.
“I look forward to starting work for the people of Melksham and Wilts and wish my fellow UKIP candidates all the best.”
In a dramatic twist in the town council elections, Melksham’s mayor, Chris Petty – who has served on Melksham Town Council for 10 years – was told he had not been re-elected when in fact, he had been re-elected with the highest number of votes in his ward.
Wiltshire Council’s published list of elected councillors contained the error and caused confusion and uncertainty over the bank holiday weekend.
It is understood that the results were recorded incorrectly at the count. Although the count took place on Friday 3rd May, the bank holiday weekend meant it was Tuesday 7th May before Wiltshire Council amended the results on their website after Melksham News informed them of the error.
Councillor Petty had not been able to attend the count and said that, although he had been surprised at the result when he checked the website, he accepted it.
He said, “I felt sad, but obviously with the best wishes for those who had been elected. Then I started getting a lot of phone calls congratulating me!”
A Wiltshire Council spokesperson said, “The result of the election in the Melksham Central division was properly declared by the Returning Officer on May 3. We apologise that this result was not correctly recorded on our website at the time but this has now been updated with the correct information.”
The councillors that will make up the new Melksham Town Council are:
Melksham Central: Alison Christy (Liberal Democrats), Paul Coward (Conservative), Claire Forgacs (Conservative), Christopher Petty (Independent) and Terri Welch (Liberal Democrats).
Melksham North: Ben Anderson (Conservative), Pat Aves (Liberal Democrats), Simon Hedley (Liberal Democrats), Geoff Mitcham (Independent) and Pamela Wiltshire (Conservative).
Melksham South: Andy Hinchcliffe (Liberal Democrats), Jon Hubbard (Liberal Democrats), Bruce Sanders (Conservative), Richard Wiltshire (Conservative) and Diane Wnek (Liberal Democrats).
There was no election for Melksham Without Parish Council as the number of nominations was less than the number of seats.
Three candidates come forward to fill the three seats on the Shaw and Whitley ward. Nine candidates came forward for the ten seats on the Beanacre and Bowerhill ward. The tenth seat will be filled by co-option.
The councillors that make up the Melksham Without Parish Council are:
Melksham Without Beanacre and Bowerhill: Alan Baines, Rolf Brindle, Terry Chivers, John Glover, Michael Mills, Pat Nicol, Steve Petty, Michael Sankey and Richard Wood.
Melksham Without Shaw and Whitley: Gregory Coombes, Trudy Fennell and Adam Nardell.