Conservatives keep control with only slight fall in party’s 14-seat majority

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The Conservatives have retained control of Harrogate Borough Council.

In the elections there were 16 seats up for grabs, of which the Conservatives had previously held 14 and the Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Party controlled one each.

At Thursday’s elections the Conservatives gained Pateley Bridge from the Lib Dem candidate, there was one Lib Dem gain from the Conservatives in the Nidd Valley ward, while in the Ouseburn ward, the Independents gained the seat from the Conservatives.

In Pateley Bridge Conservative Stan Lumley unseated long-standing Lib Dem councillor Stan Beer.

In the Nidd Valley, Helen Flynn, took the seat previously held by Conservative Les Ellington, who did not stand this year and in Ouseburn, Independent Chris Lewis took the seat from Conservative Martin Leather.

Anthony Alton, deputy leader of council, held his Claro seat for the Conservatives and Caroline Bayliss, cabinet member for cultural services, held her Ribston seat.

Don Mackenize, the leader of the council leader last night said the results had seen his party’s overall majority reduced but he said in some wards the party’s share of the vote had increased.

“Overall and especially in the Harrogate and Knaresborough seats our share of the vote increased markedly,” Coun Mackenize said.

He said his party’s overall majority had fallen from 14 to 12 but he added: “Its still a perfectly workable majority and we are very happy at that.”

Seats that the conservatives held included: Wathvale, where Bernard Bateman was victorious after the previous councillor for the ward did not stand and Washburn where Conservative Christine Ryder was elected. The former holder of the council seat did not contest the ward in Thursday’s local elections.

The make-up of the council is now Conservatives 33, Lib Dems 17, Liberal Party 1, Independents 3. The Conservatives hold their majority, but it is reduced from 14 to 12.