LOCAL ELECTIONS: Labour make gains to become main opposition in Adur
Labour gained three councillors in this year's local elections to overtake UKIP as the main opposition to the Conservatives, which retain the majority of seats on Adur District Council.
The Conservatives, which lost Eastbrook and St Mary’s to the Labour Party, gained both Cokeham and Widewater from UKIP to maintain their majority with 16 of the 29 seats on Adur District Council.
Labour, which also gained Southlands from an Independent, is now the main opposition on the council with seven seats.
UKIP – which lost two seats to the Conservatives – is now down to four seats.
Leader of Adur District Council Neil Parkin said: “We started today with a majority of three and we ended today with a majority of three.
“We have lost a very constructive councillor in James Funnell in Eastbrook which will be a great shame.
“However, the only thing that has changed after today is who is in the opposition and the colour they are wearing.
“I think what is important to take away from this is that, in the seats we won, we won by a large margin and the seats we lost, we were pretty close to winning.
“We have a number of important areas to work on but the message is very much continuing to do what we have done and that has been reflected in the votes.
“Our new opposition will make a load of noise but overall we lost two and gained two. After all the hard work, we are pleased with that.”
In this year’s election, 14 of the 29 wards in Adur went to the polls, with the Conservatives defending nine, UKIP and Independents two apiece and Labour one.
David Balfe – the inspiration behind Blur’s Country House – won Eastbrook for Labour from the Tories.
After his win, the new Labour councillor said: “I am immensely pleased and honoured. I am incredibly grateful of the work done by Labour volunteers and my team who have made today possible. They have won it for me.
“Over the past few weeks I have been confident but then yesterday I lost all confidence in my chances of winning as we launched a get out to vote operation.
“I am just so thankful to all those who voted for me.”
Catherine Arnold won St Mary’s for Labour to rapturous celebrations from her supporters.
She added: “The people of Adur have been calling out for a change and we are providing them this change.
“I want to say thank you to all my voters and thanks to all my volunteers. We can all make a difference together.”
For more reaction to today’s election results see next week’s Shoreham and Lancing editions of the Herald.