The Conservative group remains in strong overall control of Cherwell District Council but suffered the loss of two Banbury seats to Labour in yesterday’s (Thursday’s) local elections.
Claire Bell was elected for Labour in the Banbury Grimsbury & Castle Ward with 950 votes, pipping Conservative candidate Tony Mepham with 574 votes.
Banbury Neithrop saw Labour’s Matt Johnstone record 634 votes to push Tory candidate Alyas Ahmed, 433 votes, into second.
There was better news for the Conservatives in Kidlington South, however, with Carmen Griffiths polling 930 votes to take the seat from the Liberal Democrats.
Seventeen of Cherwell District Council’s 50 wards were up for election, although Conservative Timothy Hallchurch was elected unopposed to the Otmoor seat.
The UK Independence Party failed to take any seats, but made significant ground on previous elections by finishing second in nine out of the wards contested – Wroxton, Astons & Heyfords, Sibford, Fringford, Deddington, Bloxham & Bodicote, Ruscote, Banbury Easington and Banbury Hardwick.
Labour Group leader Sean Woodcock said he was very pleased with the results.
“We’re very pleased, we’ve got two seats we wee targeting and we held on to Ruscote.
“It’s very clear that Labour is the alternative to the Conservatives in Banbury and it gives us a good foundation for the General Election next year.”
The makeup of the council is now as follows: Conservatives 40, Greens 0, Independent 1, Labour 7, Lib Dem 2, UKIP, 0.
Click here for full results.
l A by-election for Banbury Town Council’s Ruscote ward was won by Barry Richards with 738 votes, ahead of UKIP’s Geordie Brown with 551 votes.
The seat became vacant when long-serving Labour councillor George Parish stepped down earlier this year.
The Conservatives also maintain a strong majority on Banbury Town Council.