COUNTY COUNCIL ELECTION NEWS

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Voters are continuing to go to the polls in Eastbourne today (Thursday) to elect councillors to sit on East Sussex County Council.

Our reporters will be at the count at Eastbourne Town Hall which begins at 10pm when polling stations across the town close.

The results for the nine wards are expected to be revealed at around 3am and the Herald website www.eastbourneherald.co.uk and Facebook page will be updated as the results are announced by returning officer Rob Cottrill, the chief executive of Eastbourne Borough Council.

This year’s county council election looks set to be an interesting one locally with the three main political parties and UKIP fielding candidates in all wards. There are also independent and Green Party candidates standing in some wards.

In Devonshire the election will see a new councillor installed at County Hall after the departure of Liberal Democrat Beryl Healy, who is standing down after a number of years. The Lib Dems hope her place will be filled by party colleague Steve Wallis but he is facing fierce opposition from former Conservative heavyweight Bob Lacey, who has defected because of what he calls David Cameron’s inability to deal with the country’s deficit and is standing as a UKIP candidate in the ward.

Hampden Park is being seen as a target seat by the Conservatives who hope their candidate Simon Howe will take the majority of the vote. Liberal Democrat Mike Thompson is standing down in the ward and the party is hoping for success by his replacement, Mike Blanche, who political observers will remember was once the chief executive of the borough council locally.

Langney is another ward which is seeing long standing Lib Dem councillor Jon Harris standing down and his place is more than likely to be taken by colleague Alan Shuttleworth despite a fierce battle with Conservative Gordon Jenkins.

The Conservative stronghold of Meads looks unlikely to change and Barry Taylor will more than likely win his seat yet again with a comfortable majority as will fellow Tory Colin Belsey in Ratton ward.

In Old Town the former Liberal Democrat seat has been vacated by Carolyn Heaps who is standing down and the party believes John Ungar has a good chance of filling her shoes although his Conservative opponent Anne Angel is a well-liked candidate who is always popular with voters in the area.

Conservative David Elkin is hoping to retain his county council seat in Sovereign but the ward is seen as a target one by the Liberal Democrats who hope their own Steve Holt, a campaigner for Stephen Lloyd MP, will make a dent in the votes.

In St Anthony’s David Tutt looks set to retain his Lib Dem seat with a comfortable majority and no real contenders to rock the boat.

Upperton is one of the most hotly contested seats in the local election and Conservative Tom Liddiard is hoping he will take the seat from Liberal Democrat stalwart Pat Rodohan.

The last county council elections were held in June 2009 and the Conservatives maintained control of the authority.

A total of 49 councillors were elected - 29 were Conservative, four Labour, 13 Liberal Democrats and three Independent.