It was a clean sweep for the Conservatives in the elections for the four Ribble Valley electoral wards of Lancashire County Council.
The battle for the Clitheroe ward was the most close run race, but following a recount, the Conservative’s Coun. Ian Brown, of Chatburn Road, Clitheroe, took poll position winning 1,061 votes, just 45 more than Independent Steve Rush, of Mearley Syke, Clitheroe, who polled 1,016.
Speaking to a jubilant Coun. Brown after the count, he said: “I would like to thank everyone who gave me their support both the voters and my team, but it appears from the closeness of the vote that the excessive housing developments proposed are an important issue and I will carry on trying to oppose these developments.”
He added: “I want to let residents know that I’m on their side and I’m approachable and that they can ring me at any time and I will do my absolute best for them at Lancashire County Council as I try to do on Ribble Valley Borough Council.”
Coun. Michael Ranson, of the Ribble Valley Conservatives, said: “This vote reflects local people making local choices and I’m really delighted with the result.”
Liberal Democrat Coun. Allan Knox, of Woone Lane, Clitheroe, lost his seat on the county council polling 932 votes.
“I would like to thank all the people who have helped me over the past four years.
“There’s been a lot of talk about housing during this election, but the main work of the county council has nothing to do with housing. The county council deals with social care, highways and education. I hope that work on these issues will continue.”
The fourth candidate in the Clitheroe ward, the Labour and Co-Operative Party’s David Hinder, of The Grange, Wilpshire, polled 378 votes.
In the Ribble Valley North East ward, the Conservative’s Albert Atkinson, of Crowtrees Road, Sabden, won a landslide victory polling 1,970 votes, with UKIP’s Simon Kerins, of Cottam Close, Whalley, polling 845 votes, Labour’s Mike Rose, of Victoria Court, Chatburn, polling 574 and Liberal Democrat Simon O’Rourke, of Black Lane Croft, Clitheroe, polling 231,
Speaking after the count, a relieved Coun. Atkinson, who has been a councillor for 20 years, said: “I would like to thank my team. I have a huge area to cover which includes 19 villages and the foot soldiers in the Ribble Valley have done a great job as has my agent Michael Ranson.”
For this ward, which includes the village of Whalley, 109 ballot paper were spoiled, the highest number of any of the Ribble Valley wards. It is believed many were spoiled by local residents protesting against housing developments proposed for Whalley.
For the Ribble Valley South West ward, there was another landslide victory for the Conservative’s Alan Schofield, who won 2,129 votes.
Coun. Schofield, of Ribchester Road, Clayton-le-Dale, said: “I’m very grateful for the hard working team that helped me, especially those who helped to deliver my communications to the electors throughout Ribble Valley South West.
“I must also say a big thank you to the voters who have given me the opportunity to serve as a county councillor following the 24 years of dedicated service by the retiring councillor Chris Holtom. Their confidence in me will not be misplaced.”
Labour’s Paul Atkinson, of Knowle Top Farm, Pendleton, polled 565 votes, while the Liberal Democrat’s Valerie Cooper, of John Wall Court, Clitheroe, polled 236,
In another impressive victory for the Conservative Party in the Longridge with Bowland ward, Coun. David Smith, of Cumeragh Lane, Whittington, was elected winning 1,932 votes.
Labour’s Gill Rose, of Victoria Court, Chatburn, polled 626 votes, while the Liberal Democrats James Shervey, of Faraday Avenue, Clitheroe polled 207.
Coun. David Smith said after winning the seat: “I’m absolutely delighted with this result especially in the current climate. I can only hope that I can join other colleagues at County Hall to carry on the excellent work that the county council has done in the last four years. I have a wonderful division, full of wonderful people and communities and I’m very grateful to all of them for supporting me.
“I’m very much a parish man, I’ve got 13 parishes that I’ve targeted over the last four years. I’ve been around to the parish meetings and taken their concerns to County Hall and I know that has been appreciated.”
For the past four years, Coun. Smith has been lead member for Community Services at the council and he is keen to continue his work on issues such as library services and community safety.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to my team of volunteers who have contributed so much to my success.”
The overall turnout for the Ribble Valley was around 28.2%.
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