SUSSEX DECIDES: Lavant ward shocker at Chichester District Council elections

John Cherry, Con, Midhurst ENGSUS00120130415172931
John Cherry, Con, Midhurst ENGSUS00120130415172931
  • Chichester District Council election count underway
  • Lib Dems lose Lavant to Tories
  • John Cherry loses Independent seat at Stedham

THE shocker of the Chichester District Council elections so far is the Lib Dem loss of the Lavant seat which was held by Andrew Smith.

In a two way fight with Tory Mike Hall he came out the loser with the Tory polling getting on for double the votes.

It was a heavyweight contest between two former West Sussex county councillors and the result means Andrew Smith has gone from being a district and county councillor in 2012 to losing out all the way round three years later.

It will be a big blow to Mr Smith who was first elected to CDC in 1991 and served as Lib Dem leader from 1995-2011.

At Stedham beleaguered John Cherry also lost his seat to the Tories.

Cllr Cherry was forced to resign from the Tory party two years ago when he became embroiled in a race row over comments he made about the Durand Academy’s proposals for a weekly boarding school on the outskirts of Stedham.

He lost his county council seat in the elections which followed weeks after his remarks.

But he has served as an Independent on the district council for Stedham for the last two years.

Although he had personal popularity in Stedham, the Tories mounted a serious challenge to him over the last few weeks during canvassing and won a landslide victory in the ward polling more than double the votes of Mr Cherry.

At Wisborough Green the ‘fracking’ effect saw Green candidate Katy Fletcher take second place in the strong Tory ward beating the Lib Dems into third place.

And political pundits are watching the Fernhurst count with interest where founder of the Fernhurst Frack Free campaign Marcus Adams is standing as in Independent.

Long standing Independent councillor Andrew Shaxson romped safely home at Harting polling 801 votes to the Tory challenger Nigel Johnson-Hill who polled 437.

If the early votes are an indication of the final result it looks certain that the Tories will keep their strong hold on the council. The tally so far is Tories 7 seats; Lib Dems 1; Ind 1