Published: 00:00, 11 May 2006
THE Conservatives gained three seats and retained control of Swale Borough Council in yesterday’s local election.
They took control of Grove ward with Gareth Randall taking the seat away from Lib Dem Bernard Lowe with 591 votes to 515.
Kenneth Pugh won 750 votes to take the Minster Cliffs seat after Lib Dem councillor John Standford stepped down and David Garside took the Queenborough and Halfway ward away from Labour councillor Mick Constable by just 17 votes.
Seats on 16 of the borough’s wards were up for grabs and the Tory candidates took 11 of those, Labour returned four candidates and Liberal Democrats retained one seat.
The Kent Campaign Against Increasing Council Taxes didn’t gain any of the nine seats they stood for but they narrowly missed out on gaining the Sheppey Central seat when Lesley Ingham got 540 votes compared with sitting Conservative councillor John Morris's 636.
Jenny Bishop, the founder of Sittingbourne’s BMX-skatepark stood for the first time in Grove ward for the Kent Campaign Against Increasing Council Tax but only got 105 of the votes.
The Lib Dems held the seat for the Murston ward with Manuella Tomes taking over from fellow Lib Dem Richard Calvert who stepped down. Meanwhile her husband missed out on the Woodstock seat to sitting councillor Alan Willicombe.
The current Mayor of Swale, Bryan Mulhern retained his Abbey ward seat for the Conservatives.
While the largest number of votes went to Tory Gerald Lewin who retained the seat for Hartlip, Newington and Upchurch with 1170 votes. Cynthia Davis also held onto the Watling seat for the Conservatives with a massive 1091 votes.
In Swale, the Tories now have 28 seats while Labour has fallen to 10, and the Liberal Democrats have been reduced to eight. There is one independent ward with former Tory Chris Boden for the Kent Campaign Against Increasing Council Tax.