I am a bit late on this post due to other commitments. But you will probably have heard by now that all four of us, Viv Parry, Tracey Huffer, Richard Huffer and myself have retained our seats on Shropshire Council. Looking at the countywide picture, we look like an oasis of calmness as the Conservatives take a battering across the county and the Greens storm Oswestry.
There was a big turnout for the one contested seat for Ludlow Town Council. A new face won more than 50% of the votes. It is pretty much all change at Shrewsbury and Oswestry town councils from today. But in Ludlow, we drift on without the renewal which is essential to the health of local democracy. We need contested elections to test the strength of the existing councillor body.
Otherwise, we get councillors we did not and could not vote for and then complain!
What curious local elections they were! Shropshire Council’s leader Peter Nutting was dismissed by the electorate and he lost his seat on Shrewsbury Town Council as well. Oswestry Town Council was stormed by the Greens, who grew in strength across the county. Lib Dems and Labour also gained seats, though not enough to take control of the council out of the hands of the Conservatives. Philip Dunne campaigned for his candidates in Ludlow and even wrote a column supporting them in the Ludlow Advertiser. But he wasn’t watching what was happening in the east of his constituency where Bridgnorth West and Tasley returned the town’s first Labour councillor.
Here in Ludlow, it was all rather serene in comparison. All four of us Lib Dems representing Ludlow and Clee were re-elected. Thank you to those who voted for us and supported us.
The turnout across the unitary area was 38.5%, which is around average for local council elections. Turnout was higher in Clee, Ludlow North and Ludlow South but lower in Ludlow East.
Viv Parry faced a challenge from Philip Dunne’s assistant, Josh Boughton. He worked hard canvassing but failed to increase the Conservative vote leaving Viv with a comfortable majority of 524.
I didn’t canvass door to door (sorry, knee problem which is easing). My opponent Thomas Scott Bell lifted the Conservative vote by 50 on 2017. Independent Graeme Perks gained 196 votes, slightly more than the 182 that he scored against Viv Parry in 2013. But I still had a majority of 328.
Tracey Huffer was comfortably returned in Ludlow South. Her main opponent was former Ludlow Town councillor Colin Sheward who has tried to win the seat three times for Labour. He gained 184 votes in 2013, 143 votes in 2017 and 132 in last week’s election. There is a clear trend here.
Richard Huffer faced a strong challenge in Clee. His majority against the Conservatives was cut from 324 to 107.
There are two new faces on Ludlow Town Council. I join the council for the first time today, unopposed for Gallows Bank Ward which is where I live. There was only one contested election for Ludlow Town Council and that was for the Bringewood Ward, which includes the Stantons and Fishmores, along with New Road bank. The election in this ward was a battle between two long standing town councillors, Rose Jones and Jim Smithers, and newcomer Alan Tapley. The turnout was a high 59.2%.
Alan Tapley took more than half the vote. Rose Jones was re-elected on 25%. Jim Smithers was not elected. He was not elected in 2017 either but subsequently gained a seat through co-option.