WHILE the Liberal Democrats were celebrating their wins nationally in the local council elections, in Harlow they produced a dismal result.
For the first time in 10 years the Liberal Democrats have come out with good results. The party came out on top gaining 177 seats country-wide. Whilst Tories lost control of a string of councils, the Lib-Dems took control of Winchester and Cotswold as well as North Norfolk which previously had no over-all control.
In Harlow, four Lib Dem candidates were up for election in Bush Fair, Church Langley, Mark Hall and Netteswell. However, none of them won a seat in any of the 11 wards. Every Lib Dem who was up for election gained the lowest number of votes.
Local elections results show four seats won by the Conservatives whilst seven were won by the Labour party. Harlow has kept a Labour hold since 2012 after the Conservative party ran the council 2008-2012.
The Conservatives managed to gain control of four wards within the area, including: Church Langley, Great Parndon, Old Harlow and Sumners and Kingsmoor.
Great Parndon Councillor, David Carter, Cons, said: “Because of the situation with Brexit and no one really knowing what’s going on in politics at the moment I was a little bit worried to start with. I’d been campaigning for the last four months and as the day went on, I’d become more confident as a lot of people I’ve helped in the area came out to vote.”
Old Harlow Councillor, Sue Livings, Cons, said: ‘I am very pleased that we held on to the seats we had hoped for and this is down to the hard work that everyone put in. I don’t think we could have done any better.”
She felt that Brexit had affected the result with UKIP taking Conservative votes in some wards and also believed that the Harlow Alliance Party had grabbed Tory votes.
This year’s local election proved that Labour is still dominating Harlow, gaining Bush Fair, Harlow Common, Little Parndon and Hare Street, Mark Hall, Netteswell, Staple Tye and Toddbrook.
Staple Tye Councilor John Strachan, Lab, expressed his views on UKIP winning more than 300 votes in his ward, stating: “They have decreased since 2014 and their votes have evaporated, UKIP are lurking quite close to the far-right.”
One of the biggest successes of the night came from Mark Wilkinson who had a majority of 266, polling a total of 647 votes to become Labour councilor for Harlow Common.
Veteran Labour councillor, Jean Clark increased her vote from 432 to 600 votes in Little Parndon and Hare Street ward.
At Uttlesford District Council, the Tories were defeated by Residents for Uttlesford (R4U), losing 20 councillors. It is believed to be proportionately the biggest loss by any ruling party out of all district councils across the entire country. R4U gained 16 seats, going from 10 to 26 councillors. Conservatives went from 24 to four.