The Conservatives hung on to control of Bromsgrove Council by as few as 14 votes in the local elections as independents established firm foundations across village areas on both sides of the district.
Meanwhile, in Lickey Hills Ward, LibDem Janet King finally beat long-standing Tory councillor Kit Taylor by 484 to 374 votes after a number of attempts. Coun Taylor, also a county councillor, had held the seat or its equivalent since 2007.
The Conservatives’ overall victory by three seats came after their candidate, Philip Thomas, beat Labour’s Rory Shannon by one vote in Aston Fields, and veteran Richard Deeming just held off the independent challenge from Rob Van Der Plank in Cofton by 24 votes (232-208).
Rubery South was also very close, with Labour’s Christine McDonald being pipped by Tory Adrian Kriss 352-323.
But the march of the independent vote was the most striking feature of the election as villagers registered their disillusionment with party politics in local government.
Charlie Hotham and Kate Van der Plank were runaway winners over the Conservatives in Barnt Green & Hopwood (898-196) and Alvechurch Village wards (840-104), while independent newcomer Annette English was the clear winner in a four-horse race for Alvechurch South.
With solid victories for independents Rachel Jenkins and Steve Colella in Hagley and Sue Baxter in Drakes Cross for Wythall Residents’ Association, the independents could form the official opposition at the district council with six seats.
Coun Van Der Plank told The Village: “The high turnout independents had was further evidence that voters are keen to embrace alternatives to the outdated two-party system.”
Barnt Green student Harrison Rone-Clark won the Rock Hill ward for Labour, meaning that, along with Coun Hotham, Barnt Green Parish Council now has two district councillors among its members.
* Bromsgrove District Council line-up: Conservatives 17, Independents and Wythall Residents’ Association 6, Labour 5, LibDem 3.
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