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Kent local elections: Results from Dartford

It was a birthday to remember for one Labour councillor who won a seat on Kent County Council.

Voters in Dartford were asked to cast votes to decide which party will control Kent County Council and who will be the next police and crime commissioner for Kent.

Polling stations looked a bit different after being set up to be Covid secure
Polling stations looked a bit different after being set up to be Covid secure

Polling stations were open yesterday but the counts didn't start until today.

Kent County Council is made up of 81 councillors who are elected every four years.

Dartford is represented by six councillors covering six districts - Wilmington, Dartford North East, Dartford East, Swanscombe and Greenhithe, Dartford Rural and Dartford West.

In Dartford North East: Kelly Grehan (Lab) won with 1,872 votes (44%). Peter Whapshott (Local Conservatives) was second with 1,763 (41%) followed by Laura Edie (Green) with 559 (13%) and Barry Taylor (Reform UK) with 106 (2%). Turnout was 28% and 50 ballot papers were rejected.

It was a gain for Labour from the Conservatives as Cllr Grehan, who already serves on Dartford borough council, was elected to KCC with a slender 3% majority.


She said: "I'm honoured that the voters of Dartford North East have chosen to put their faith in me and the Labour Party at this election.

"We ran a positive campaign, putting the community first and I'm delighted that voters responded to that at the ballot box."

Cllr Grehan, who was celebrating her birthday today, added: "I can't wait to get started bringing a positive change to our community and being a strong voice on the county council for residents in Dartford North East.

"We still have a long way to go but today we have shown that Labour is making real progress in towns like Dartford."

Commenting on the national picture, she added: "We already have made great strides under Keir’s leadership: tackling anti-semitism, navigating the politics of a global pandemic and electing a leader who the British people can see on the steps of Downing Street.

Councillor Kelly Grehan celebrated her birthday with a win
Councillor Kelly Grehan celebrated her birthday with a win

"I am determined that Dartford should be the best place to grow up in and the best place to grow old in.

"Labour will build on that progress and continue to offer a fresh vision for our community."

In Dartford East, Penny Cole won for the Tories. She took the seat with 1,729 votes (50%). Claire Pearce (Lab) came second with 1,015 votes (29%) and Katie Lynch (Swanscombe and Greenhithe Residents’ Association) was third with 734 votes (21%). The turnout was 27% with 35 ballot papers rejected.

Cllr Cole was returned to Dartford East but saw her vote share drop slightly amid a hard-fought campaign dominated by local environment and housing issues.

She said: "I am pleased I have won my seat back. It was a strange campaign during Covid and I could not get out talking on the doors as usual. It's not one I want to do again."


Cllr Cole said she felt her victory was "bittersweet" in light of the Local Conservatives losing hold of Dartford North East and seeing a fellow candidate fall short in Swanscombe and Greenhithe.

"It was always going to be a difficult one to hold," she added.

On the campaign trail, common concerns from residents related to air pollution and the environment.

"There are a couple of planning issues that residents have really got their teeth into which they might not have done before," she said.

"I think Covid has changed people's thinking a lot. I think they are using green spaces more and valuing them more. I have always been trying to improve these spaces and I will be doubling my efforts."

'It was always going to be a difficult one to hold'

In Dartford West, Jan Ozog (Local Conservatives) won with 2,649 votes (60%), followed by Lucy Robinson (Labour and Co-operative Party) with 1,565 votes (36%) and Gary Rogers (Reform UK) with 166 votes (4%). Turnout was 31% and there were 49 rejected ballot papers.

Cllr Ozog was returned to Dartford West with an increased majority and vote share.

He said: "It was a hard fought campaign and I had a really good team with us.

"The people I met while leafleting were all very positive about our ideas. We had a very positive campaign. My commiserations to those that didn't win."

On the reasons for his increased vote share, he added: "It did help what was going on in London with the car tax."


In Dartford Rural, Jeremy Kite (Local Conservatives) held his seat with 3,172 votes. Joshua Grills (Lab) was second with 694 (16%) followed by Mark Lindop (Green) with 284 votes (7%) and Howard Bostridge (Reform UK) with 133 votes (3%). Turnout was 34% with 21 rejected ballot papers.

Cllr Kite was returned with a resounding 74% of the vote share.

He said: "This was a strange election where I only managed to speak to a fraction of the people I normally would.

"But if I'm honest you win an election in the time inbetween. What we must do is give that service and bring that back."

He expressed his delight at the overall county picture as the Conservatives looked set to retain control of the council but added his "big feeling" was one of disappointment that fellow Dartford candidates Danny Nicklen and Peter Whapshott were not chosen to represent their respective wards.


On the town's future prospects post-pandemic he added: "What we have got to do is face unashamedly up to all this and bring people together.

"It is a bit of a rebuild and what you don't want to do is miss that opportunity to restart and also to repay the people who worked so hard."

In Swanscombe and Greenhithe, Peter Harman (Swanscombe and Greenhithe Residents’ Association) won with 1,421 votes (40%) with Sacha Gosine (Labour and Co-operative Party) runner-up with 1,130 votes (32%). Danny Nicklen (Local Conservatives) was next with 911 (26%) and David Martin-Garcia (Reform UK) with 55 votes (2%). Turnout was 28% with 31 rejected ballot papers.

Cllr Harman retained his seat in Swanscombe and Greenhithe with 40% of the vote share but saw his margin of victory narrow in the face of joint opposition from Labour and Local Conservative candidates.

He said: "I'm very pleased on behalf of the SGRA and I want to thank residents for voting for us again and showing confidence in us.

"It has been a really difficult year for all council staff but we have managed to go forward. We have worked with the local food bank and residents who are suffering during Covid."

Cllr Harman added he had encountered lots of ongoing concerns raised by residents related to flooded drains, nuisance motorists and the plans for the London Resort theme park on the Peninsula in need of addressing

"There is a lot still to be done with it [London Resort]. As we see more detailed plans, our concerns grow greater, as do Dartford borough council's and Kent County Council's."

In Wilmington, Ann Allen (Local Conservatives) won with 2,987 votes (72%). Maria Perry (Lab) was second with 825 votes (20%) and Deborah Edge (Green) with 314 votes (8%). Turnout was 31% with 29 ballot papers rejected.

Cllr Allen was returned to Wilmington with a resounding 72% of the vote share.

She said: "I'm always honoured to represent the people from my area, as long as I can make a difference and I enjoy it."

On the ongoing problems facing locals, she added: "School parking is still an issue and getting people to be responsible."

Of the changes to campaign activities brought about by Covid she added: "It was different but I've still been able to reach the community.

"I don't do Facebook, there is a great community out there. Let's keep on building on that."

There were also two Dartford borough by-elections, one in Darenth and the other in Wilmington, Sutton-at-Hone and Hawley.

Dartford Young Conservatives president Ellenor Palmer will now represent the Wilmington, Sutton-at-Hone and Hawley ward after the seat was vacated by Cllr Calvin Mclean.

Likewise, Maria Kelly (Con), who works at Darent Valley Hospital as an administrator, will now represent Darenth following the resignation of Cllr Ian Armitt.

In the Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent election, the candidates were: Graham Colley (Lib Dem), Lola Oyewusi (Lab), Matthew Scott (Con). That count will be finalised on Monday.

Read more: All the latest news from Dartford

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