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Lib Dem victory in town council elections; Tories retain County Hall

THELiberal Democrats are celebrating after winning the majority of seats on the town council at the elections last week.

Of the 15 seats available for Melksham Town Council, nine were won by the Liberal Democrats, two more than in the last elections four years ago. They are now the largest party on the town council. The Conservatives won three seats (down three), Independents won two seats (no change) and Melksham First won one seat.

The Liberal Democrats also won three of the five Wiltshire Council seats in Melksham, with Pat Aves and Jon Hubbard retaining their seats in Melksham North and Melksham South, and Hayley Spencer taking UKIP’s David Pollitt’s seat in Melksham Central. Roy While (Conservative) was also re-elected in Melksham Without South.

In a dramatic twist, Phil Alford (Conservative) won in Melksham Without North, beating Terry Chivers who has been a county councillor for 25 years as an Independent.

Overall, the Conservatives have retained control of Wiltshire Council, with 68 seats; the Liberal Democrats have 20 seats, Independent councillors hold 7 seats and Labour hold 3 seats.

In the Melksham Without Parish Council elections, just one seat was contested with Richard Wood and Steve Petty, both Independent beating Paul Carter (UKIP). In the other two wards, there were not enough candidates to fill all the available seats, so there was no parish election.

Cllr Jon Hubbard of the Liberal Democrats said, “I am delighted that the wonderful people of Melksham South have again entrusted me to represent them on Wiltshire Council and the town council and so fight for our community.

“Today has been an outstanding day for my Party in Melksham, with Pat Aves retaining her seat in Melksham North and the magnificent victory in Melksham Central for Hayley Spencer for Wiltshire Council.

“We now have a great team of nine Liberal Democrat councillors on Melksham Town Council, who are determined to deliver on the promises we made, and will regularly report back on the work we have done.

“It is a privilege to represent your community, and I am so honoured to be able to do so again. Thank you to everyone who supported me and who voted for me.

“However, now the election is over and it is my job to ensure that the voice of every resident in my patch is heard and I look forward to hearing from people again about issues that I can help and assist with over the coming months and years.”

Cllr Hayley Spencer said, “I’m so pleased to have been elected. Talking to residents on a regular basis I get to hear that my frustrations are also theirs and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in at both Town and County, and keeping strong lines of communication open between both councils and passing that back to our residents. It’s a very exciting and interesting time to be in politics,  and as one of the youngest councillors at County Hall,  I’m hoping to inject a fresh, new, modern voice in the chamber, so watch this space!”

Cllr Pat Aves said, “I am honoured to once again be the Wiltshire Councillor representing Melksham North, and I will continue to do my very best at Wiltshire Council for the people that I represent.”

Cllr Phil Alford said, “Melksham Without North is a really diverse community. It encompasses everything from Broughton Gifford  sweeping north around Melksham to Sandridge Lane. It is a huge privilege to be able to represent everyone at Wiltshire Council.

“In the 18 months leading up to the campaign, I was able to work with many people on a range of local issues. I am really looking forward now to taking these priorities to Wiltshire Council and to start solving problems for the benefit of our residents.

“In the run up to the campaign I really enjoyed helping people with their problems. I am looking forward now to being able to do this as a councillor at Wiltshire Council.

“I am also looking forward to working on the committees to scrutinise council activity and working with staff to improve the way they deliver our services.”

Cllr Roy While said, “It was a very close shave at the 2013 election and therefore I did not know what to expect this time round. I was very pleased to meet and talk to people when I was out and about. I was surprised and relieved to see the votes mounting up for me at the Count. Now I can concentrate on my councillor duties and positively supporting the Conservative administration at County Hall.”

The councillors that will make up the new Melksham Town Council are: Andy Hinchcliffe (Liberal Democrats), Jon Hubbard (Liberal Democrats), Mike Sankey (Conservative), Adrienne Westbrook (Liberal Democrats), Tony Watts (Liberal Democrats), Caroline Andrewes (Conservative), Pat Aves (Liberal Democrats), Kathy Iles (Liberal Democrats), Martin Pain (Independent), Simon Hedley (Liberal Democrats), Geoff Mitcham (Independent), Hayley Spencer (Liberal Democrats), Mike Swanton (Conservative), Richard Wiltshire (Melksham First) and Terri Welch (Liberal Democrats).

Wiltshire Council election results were as follows:

• Melksham North, Pat Aves (Liberal Democrats) (elected) 590, Nick Holder (Conservative) 519, Geoff Mitcham (Independent) 104 and Richard Wiltshire (Independent) 85.

Melksham Central, Hayley Spencer (Liberal Democrats) (elected) 481, Mike Swanton (Conservative) 379, David Politt (UKIP) 152, Martin Pain (Independent) 150, Paul Grainger (Labour) 108.

• Melksham South, Jon Hubbard (Liberal Democrats) (elected) 1045; Mike Sankey (Conservative) 484.

• Melksham Without North, Phil Alford (Conservative) (elected) 1019, Terry Chivers (Independent) 838.

• Melksham Without South, Roy While (Conservative) (elected) 709, Ryan Clarke (Liberal Democrats) 232, Paul Carter (UKIP) 178, Steve Petty (Independent) 163.

Results of the town and parish council elections – candidates in bold have been elected to council.

Melksham South Ward: Jon Hubbard (Liberal Democrats) 1170, Adrienne Westbrook (Liberal Democrats) 776, Andy Hinchcliffe (Liberal Democrats) 723, Mike Sankey (Conservative) 707, Tony Watts (Liberal Democrats) 640, Bruce Petty (Melksham First) 532, Anna Inns (Melksham First) 464.

Melksham North Ward: Pat Aves (Liberal Democrats) 743, Caroline Andrewes (Conservative) 565, Simon Hedley (Liberal Democrats) 452, Richard Wiltshire (Melksham First) 433, Geoff Mitcham (Independent) 430, Ryan Clarke (Liberal Democrats) 397.

Melksham Central Ward: Hayley Spencer (Liberal Democrats) 614, Mike Swanton (Conservative) 559, Terri Welch (Liberal Democrats) 479, Martin Pain (Independent) 423, Kathy Iles (Liberal Democrats) 420, Chris Petty (Independent) 308, Lisa Ellis (Liberal Democrats) 409.

Melksham Without Berryfield Ward: Richard Wood (Independent), Steve Petty (Independent), Paul Carter (UKIP).