ELECTION 2015: All change at Eastbourne Borough Council?

Count continues.
Count continues.

With the General Election out of the way and Conservative Caroline Ansell elected as the town’s new MP for the next five years, attention now turns to the Eastbourne Borough Council election count, which is on at the Town Hall tomorrow (Saturday, May 9).

When voters went to the polls on Thursday (May 7), as well as voting for a Member of Parliament, they also voted for councillors to represent them on the council.

The whole of the council was up for election this year and three councillors will be elected in each of the nine wards across Eastbourne – Devonshire, Hampden Park, Langney, Meads, Old Town, Ratton, St Anthony’s, Sovereign and Upperton.

The Liberal Democrats were hoping to retain control of the council.

The count begins in the morning at 9am and Old Town, Sovereign and Upperton – predicted to be the ones to watch in this year’s council election battle – will be the first to be counted and the results revealed.

What happens in those wards could mean a major shake up for the political make up of the authority.

In Old Town, popular Liberal Democrat stalwart and former mayor Carolyn Heaps is stepping down and the Conservatives are hoping to win a seat on the council with Conservative campaigner Ann Angel.

In neighbouring Upperton ward, the Conservatives are hoping to hold all three seats despite the departure of Tom Liddiard, who is standing in Hampden Park this year instead.

Sovereign, which was held by the Conservatives and one Independent, is wide open this year and the Liberal Democrats see that as a prime area where they can make gains.

Elsewhere, UKIP will be hoping to make an impression among voters and secure at least one seat on the council in light of their success in the county council elections when they came second in seven of the nine wards across Eastbourne.

Heavyweight politician Bob Lacey, who defected from the Conservatives to UKIP, is hoping to take one of three seats held by the Liberal Democrats in Devonshire, especially after the departure of popular councillor Neil Stanley who has stood down in the ward.

Others hoping to make an impression are Keith Gell, an independent candidate in Devonshire, and Hampden Park campaigner Dave Poole. He has a huge following and may benefit from the departure of Lib Dem and former mayor Mike Thompson, who is not standing for re-election.

While Langney is historically a safe Lib Dem seat, Meads is a Tory stronghold and with the departure of Caroline Ansell as the town’s new MP, and local party leader David Elkin, there is likely to be little change in the village ward.

Ratton is another conservative safe seat although the Lib Dems, Labour and UKIP are fielding strong candidates alongside popular Green campaigner John Oliphant.St Anthony’s has been a Liberal Democrat stronghold for many years and Lib Dem candidates Gill Mattock, Dean Sabri and David Tutt will hope to keep it that way.

The final results are due to be revealed by 4pm but below is the turnout ward by ward as the votes were verified late on Thursday night ahead of being counted tomorrow.

DEVONSHIRE: 56.20%

HAMPDEN PARK: 59.01%

LANGNEY: 58.96%

MEADS: 70.16%

OLD TOWN: 74.29%

RATTON: 73.31%

ST ANTHONY’S: 67.29%

SOVEREIGN: 66.21%

UPPERTON: 64.43%

OVERALL: 65.55%