Tory takeover

PUBLISHED: 11:37 10 May 2007 | UPDATED: 12:28 04 May 2010

A BETTER quality of life and more jobs have been promised by the Tories after they swept the board when East Cambridgeshire went to the polls. The Conservatives reinforced their pledges to voters as they took control of the council with a majority of nine

A BETTER quality of life and more jobs have been promised by the Tories after they swept the board when East Cambridgeshire went to the polls.

The Conservatives reinforced their pledges to voters as they took control of the council with a majority of nine seats but lost some key players.

They suffered the loss of their high profile council chairman Richard Hobbs and councillors Bill Pickess and Colin McLean who were ousted on Thursday night.

"Mr Hobbs was an exceptional councillor and the news of his departure will be met with great regret and sadness," said Conservative leader, Cllr Brian Ashton. "He will be sorely missed, as will Colin McLean and Bill Pickess."

He added: "We have much work to do, but this will be our starting point.

"We are all about improving the quality of life for people in the district. To do this it is crucial that we try to attract more employment opportunities and retail activity to East Cambridgeshire.

"It can be hard for people to really appreciate community life and make the most of the area if they leave for work at 6am and return at 8pm."

The election dealt a harsh blow to the Liberal Democrats, who had held the most seats on the district council and were fighting for overall control.

They lost four seats, leaving the council with a new make-up of 24 Conservatives, 13 Liberal Democrats and two independent councillors. Nearly half of the councillors elected on Thursday night are new faces.

Other long-standing and high profile councillors who were sent packing include Liberal Democrat Nigel Bell and Soham independent John Palmer.

"We are disappointed to lose some extremely hard-working councillors," said Liberal Democrat leader, Cllr Gareth Wilson. "I'm confident we will come back from this and we will form a very strong opposition party."

More than 21,000 people, 36.4 per cent, turned out to vote in the election in East Cambridgeshire and more than 3,000 postal votes were counted.

Work went on through the night with the final result being declared at 4.34am.

Other councillors who lost their seats include: Paul Philpott (Lib Dem), Derek Reader (Ind), Nigel Bell (Lib Dem), Michael Bunting (Con), Louis Rodrigues (Lib Dem), Colin Fordham (Ind), John Palmer (Ind) and Patricia Pleydell (Lib Dem).

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