Labour make history at elections

Counting at Chorley Town Hall for the local elections
Counting at Chorley Town Hall for the local elections
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Labour strengthened its grip on Chorley Council, winning 13 of the 17 seats available.

The party, led by Alistair Bradley took seven seats from the Conservative party, winning Astley and Buckshaw, Chisnall, Pennine, Clayton-le-Woods North, Euxton North, Euxton South and Wheelton and Withnell.

One Independent seat was taken from the Coppull ward by Labour.

Chorley Council now has 32 Labour councillors, with 13 Conservatives and two Independents.

The overall turnout was 39.75 percent.

Coun Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, said: “I’m delighted with the results, it’s a testament to the hard work that all the standing and current councillors have put in.

“I think the Conservatives will blame UKIP but I completely disagree, it’s the hard work that everybody else put in - I believe we have the support of Chorley and it’s shown on the doorstep.”

Coun Greg Morgan, leader of Chorley’s Conservative group, believed the local election results reflected the national picture.

And he said the group would now look at the results and see what they needed to do ahead of next year’s local and general elections.

He said “As usual, we are in the depths of trying to fix the economy and everyone is reacting to that. It’s always the case that when the party is in government, local parties suffer.

“It’s very sad to see some experienced and very capable councillors losing their seats, but unfortunately that is the ups and downs of politics.

“We will come back and fight them in the not too distant future and on behalf of the people in Chorley we will succeed.”

In a victorious day for the Labour party one shock came in the Chisnall ward, which saw Conservative Harold Heaton lose his seat, which he had held since 1997 to former mayor and county councillor Labour’s Alan Whittaker.

Coun Whittaker said: “I’m very pleased to be voted in, I’ve been off the council for a while but I wanted to make a comeback as things both locally and nationally needed highlighting.

Mr Heaton said: “I am disappointed that I wasn’t re-elected. I feel that some of the supporters didn’t come out because I have always won before.

“I am going to have a lot of other things to do now. I am chairman of a football club and will concentrate on my other voluntary roles in the community.”

Another Conservative to lose was Alan Platt, whose Astley and Buckshaw seat was taken by Labour’s Matthew Lynch, while Conservative Alison Hansford, lost her Wheelton and Withnell seat to Margaret France.

Former mayor of Chorley Ken Ball, who ran as Independent lost his seat in Coppull to Labour’s Richard Toon while Labour sprung another shock as Gordon France defeated Conservative Marie Gray by 29 votes.

Mrs Gray later announced her retirement from politics.

It’s the first time that Labour has won the seats in Pennine, Chisnall and Astley and Buckshaw.

The closest result was in Euxton South, which was vacant after Conservative Geoff Russell decided not to stand for re-election.

There were several re-counts before it was announced that Labour’s Mark Jarnell had won by just three votes, scoring 572 compared to 569 for Conservative candidate Debra Platt.

Coun Jarnell, said: “It couldn’t have gone any closer, I want to thank the electors of Euxton South, it really is a fantastic place and I can’t wait to represent the area and protect the green areas.

“I knew it would be close but not that close, it’s my first term as a borough councillor and I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Mrs Platt said: : “I’m disappointed. I think UKIP took quite a number of votes both from Labour and Conservatives.”