The Conservatives have lost control of Hastings Borough Council.

They were defending two seats on the hung council in by-elections in Gensing and Silverhill wards.

Labour won both contests, with Andrew Cartwright winning in Gensing by 41 votes.

Tory candidate Simon Corello was placed second.

In Silverhill, Bruce Dowling took the seat for Labour with 73 votes, more than Tory candidate Matthew Lock.

One of the biggest issues to affect the area this year has been the proposed introduction of "controlled parking".

Gensing is not the wealthiest ward in the town and a recent petition showed how much residents resent having to pay to park outside their homes and shops. The election result will be seen by some as confirmation of this.

Despite the setback the Conservatives are still the biggest single party, with 15 seats.

But Labour now have 12 seats and the Liberal Democrats have five, making 17 in total.

Former council leader Jeremy Birch, who leads the Labour group, is expected to try to do a deal with the Lib Dems to take back control of the council.

Hastings was among the few English councils outside London not to hold elections in every ward.

The by-elections were called because Daniel Poulter and Michael Lambrechs had resigned.

Councillor Poulter stepped down in Gensing ward after just one year as a member of the council so he could pursue his medical career.

Mr Lambrechs quit because of poor health. He had been recuperating 800 miles away from his ward - in Tarragona, Spain.


The Conservatives have strengthened their grip on the traditional blue stronghold of Rother.

They made a comfortable win in the district council election and gained two seats.

It gives the party a substantial majority over its rivals with 28 out of 38 places.

Carl Maynard, a Tory victor in Brede Valley, said: "We are in the best position we have ever been in on Rother District Council.

"People voted for us because we have done what we said we'd do over the last four years.

But there is still a lot to do. We were also the only party to guarantee that Rother will have the lowest council tax in East Sussex."

Coun Maynard said one of the best results was in Crowhurst where Conservatives won against long-standing Liberal Democrat John Kemp by just three votes.

However, stalwarts Peter Fairhurst and Robert White failed to keep their seats in St Michael's and Battle. There were celebrations for the Liberal Democrats, who made gains. They increased their representation by two seats and now have eight district councillors.

It means they stay the second most powerful group on the council.

Stephen Hardy, press officer for Rother Liberal Democrats, was pleased with the party's success although he failed to get re-elected.

He said: "The council has lost a bit of its diversity in opposition but it's a good overall result for us. We are very pleased to have extended our representation in Bexhill, where we now have three councillors instead of one. This is great news for the future.

"The losers in this election have really been Labour and the Independents."

Labour suffered a huge upset by losing its only seat. District council vice-chairman Samuel Souster, deputy leader of Rother's Labour Group, was beaten in the Rye ward by the Conservatives.

Lib Dem Sonia Holmes and Conservative David Russell won Rye's two seats.


The balance of power remains unchanged in Chichester as the Conservatives took an extra eight seats to bring their total to 34 at the district council.

Liberal Democrats suffered mainly from the Tories' gain as they lost eight seats.

It was not all blue plain sailing, as John Curtis and Eddie Vines lost their seats to Independent candidates Fred Robertson and Roland O'Brien in Selsey South.

Mr Vines lost his seat by three votes after polling 538 compared to Mr O'Brien's 541.

Fred Robertson got 617, while John Curtis had 531 votes.

Brian Hooton and Paul Mackey won in Plaistow comprehensively, beating Lib Dem candidates Karen Bonnett and Raymond Cooper, while Peter Edward and Pieter Montyn took two seats in West Wittering.

Lib Dem Diana Pound lost the Sidlesham seat by 55 seats to Conservative Tricia Tull, while Tory Brenda Attlee lost the Tangmere seat to Chris Punnett, a Liberal Democrat.

The Toriess gained a seat in Bury, after independent candidate Susan Hallock lost her seat by 84 votes to Susan Wade Weeks.

Tories Henry Potter and Julie Tassell retained their wards for the party after the previous Tory councillors stepped down.

In Funtington, Julie Tassell beat Lib Dem John Rankin by 502 votes, taking over from former council chairman Frank Garrett.

Other Conservatives to retain their seat include John Ridd in Donnington, Elizabeth Hamilton in Easebourne, John Cherry in Stedham and Maureen Elliott in Westbourne.

Lib Dems Adrian Moss retained Fishbourne, Stephen Quigley kept North Mundham and Andrew Smith kept Lavant and Independent Andrew Shaxson retained his Harting seat.


The Tories have kept the same number of seats in Wealden District Council's elections but they will be looking for a new leader after Nigel Coltman lost his seat.

Mr Coltman had served as the top man for four years and on the council for eight, representing Hailsham East, but he lost his seat by 55 votes to Liberal Democrat Brian Cock.

He said: "Personally I feel very happy with the decision of the electors of Hailsham East. I have really enjoyed representing them and leading Wealden Council.

"After the result was announced I had various people from all the different parties coming up and, in a sense, commiserating and thanking me for running the council."

He said he had a "great expectation" that deputy leader Pam Doodes, who kept her seat in Ninfield and Hooe with Wartling ward, would be chosen to take the position of leader within the next two weeks. He added that he would continue to serve Hailsham as a town councillor.

Turnout at this year's election was up by 3.5 per cent, with 38.5 per cent of people in the district turning out to vote.

The Conservatives kept their 34 seats, the Liberal Democrats lost two, taking them to 12, the Independents and non-affiliated candidates took seven seats and the Green Party gained two.

Liberal Democrat leader Laura Murphy lost her seat in Hailsham Central and North ward to Tory candidate Jo Bentley.

The Lib Dems gained Polegate South Ward from the Independents by one vote and Forest Row was taken from the Conservatives by the Greens.

Three members of the same family were also elected but they are not affiliated to any group.

Stephen Shing retained his seat in Willingdon, his son Daniel Shing won a seat in Willingdon and Stephen Shing's wife Oi Lin was elected to Polegate North ward.

The counts took place in Crowborough, Uckfield and Hailsham.

Mid Sussex

Mixed fortunes for the Conservatives saw them hold power but lose their leader at Mid Sussex District Council.

Conservative Patrick Shanahan said he was "disappointed and shocked" to lose the helm as Tories engaged in a tough fight with Liberal Democrats.

Lib Dem leader Graham Knight also lost his seat, leaving Labour leader Paddy Henry the only general left standing after a long and damaging afternoon.

With Haywards Heath mayor Richard Goddard also losing his seat, Labour representatives were cut down to one.

Conservatives held sway with 30 councillors to the Lib Dems' 23, up from a previous majority of four.

The Tories had to wait until 3pm to break the deadlock of seats held by themselves and the Lib Dems.

Liz Bennett and Peter Reed both managed to wrestle seats from long-serving Lib Dem councillors Paul Johnson and Alan Lord in the East Grinstead Ashplats ward.

Liberal Democrats then hit back with a gain over Labour in Haywards Heath Bentswood.

Neither Conservatives nor Liberal Democrats were ready to announce their new leaders.

Mid Sussex MP Nicholas Soames said: "It's been a tight day here but we've retained control. That's very good news. It's very sad we've lost Patrick Shanahan but these things happen. Nationally we've done pretty well but there's no point in saying we've done brilliantly.

"For the next six months we are going to look at a terrific period of effort from Labour as the new Prime Minister looks to engage and we'll have to ride through that. But Labour's position in the south is finished."


The Conservatives have strengthened their hold of Crawley by gaining four seats from the Labour Party.

Tilgate, Three Bridges, Ifield and Southgate wards all fell to Tory control.

It now gives them a total of 22 seats to Labour's 12 and the Liberal Democrats' three seats.

The Conservatives went into the election with a majority of only two. They now hold the overall majority.

There were no gains for the Liberal Democrats or for Labour. In Furnace Green two seats were contested because of Mike Weatherly's decision to stand down.

Duncan Crowe held on, and fellow Tory Carol Eade took the remaining seat.

The Tories took control of the council last year following a dead-heat result which was decided on the drawing of an envelope.

A third of the council is up for election each year. Each councillor is elected for a four-year term. There was a turnout of 36 per cent out of an electorate of 61,133.

Council leader Bob Lanzer, whose seat was not up for election, said: "We all feel very good about it, the Conservative team and all our supporters. It vindicates our first year in office.

"We did what we said we would. I think the voters found our agenda appealing.

The council tax rise is the lowest in almost a decade.

"We had a very positive campaign. There was some negative campaigning by Labour which I don't think the electorate would have liked.

"We will continue a strong investment in our cleaner, greener and safer campaign.

We will also work to balance the budget so we can use our capital to spend on, among other things, improving neighbourhoods."

Coun Brenda Smith, leader of the Labour Party, said: "I am very disappointed. I have lost some extremely good and capable councillors."


The Conservative group consolidated in Arun with an outstanding showing at the polls.

They secured 43 of the 56 seats on the council - an increase of seven. Their biggest scalp came in Pevensey ward, Bognor, where Trevor Bence ousted Labour group leader Jan Cosgrove, an Arun district councillor for 14 years.

The Liberal Democrats secured nine seats, making no gains or losses. The British National Party, while taking no seats, managed to secure a significant number of votes, particularly in Bognor.

Independents Jim Brooks took Marine ward and Sylvia Olliver took a seat in Bersted ward.

The biggest loser was the Labour group, which took only three seats, a loss of five.

Labour councillor George O'Neill also lost his seat in Wick with Toddington ward where Tory June Caffyn romped home with a majority of 119 votes.

Council leader Gill Brown held her seat comfortably by a majority of 109 votes from her nearest rival, Tory, Robin Brown.

Former council leader and ex submarine captain Norman Dingemans held his seat comfortably in Walberton, with a majority of 534 votes.

Lib Dem stalwart and West Sussex county councillor, Dr James Walsh held his seat in Beach Ward, with a majority of 160 votes.

Seats in Arundel and Findon were not contested and therefore remain Tory.

The political makeup of Arun District Council is now 43 Conservatives, two Independents, 9 Liberal Democrats and three Labour.


The Conservatives swept to an emphatic victory, seizing control of almost three-quarters of the seats at Horsham District Council.

The party took eight seats from the Liberal Democrats as they extended their majority on the council from two to 18.

The Tories now account for 31 of the 44 council members. The Lib Dems have been left with 11 councillors while independents Sheila Matthews and George Cockman retained their seats in Henfield and Steyning.

Conservative leader Liz Kitchen said: "It was a great night. I thought we would win but I didn't think we'd do it by such a margin."

The Tories sealed major victories in Southwater, where they took all three seats from the Lib Dems, and in Billingshurst, where they took a long-held Lib Dem seat vacated by retiring Geoff Laws.

Most of the party's seats were won by comfortable majorities despite predictions the council would be closely contested.

The narrowest victory was in the Forest ward, where long-serving Lib Dem councillor Godfrey Newman lost his seat by 13 votes to Conservative Gordon Brown.

Mrs Kitchen said the Tories had been surprised by that result and by their success in ousting popular local figure Michael Dalrymple to take one of the seats in Itchingfield, Slinfold and Warnham.

The Lib Dems gained one seat from the Conservatives in Roffey North, where Simon Torn was ousted by David Skipp.

Mrs Kitchen said: "We will have meetings in the next few days to start to work out our plans for the next four years. We have a lot of new faces to add to the older members of the council so I'm sure there will be plenty of fresh ideas to introduce."

Campaigning for the Horsham district was dominated more by issues within each ward rather than widespread ones.

Each of the 44 seats was contested, with an estimated 98,800 people eligible to vote at the 67 polling stations. There was a total of 110 candidates standing in the 22 wards.

The results were announced in the early hours of yesterday, after votes were cast on Thursday.


Three political heavyweights lost their seats as the Liberal Democrats' grip on Lewes District Council loosened.

Senior Lib Dem members Marina Pepper, David Neighbour and Liz Lee were ousted from the East Saltdean and Telscombe Cliffs ward.

Mr Neighbour, who was lead member for planning, opposed Albion's plans for a new stadium at Falmer - one of the big issues in the election.

The Lib Dems maintained control of the council but their majority over the Tories was slashed from 16 to six. The Lib Dems have 23 seats, while the Tories have 17 and the Independents one.

The Seagulls Party, backing Albion's plans for the stadium, fielded four candidates who polled more 1,600 votes between them to send shockwaves through the council.

Ms Pepper, a former Playboy model who was council chairwoman, was booed off stage last week at the 76th reunion of the Royal Sussex Regimental Association when she made anti-war comments.

Mr Neighbour was an outspoken opponent of the Falmer stadium plans, while Ms Lee was lead member for community services.

The trio was ousted by Conservative councillors Phillip Howson, James Page and Ron Maskell. The Tories also made vital gains on the coast, claiming seats in Seaford and Peacehaven.

Lib Dem council leader Ann De Vecchi retained her Lewes Priory seat with 1,264 votes, some 800 less than Independent candidate Ruth O'Keeffe, who was also elected to council.


A former Lib Dem Mayor of Worthing has been accused of sour grapes after losing his seat.

Selden ward councillor James Doyle was dismayed when he saw ballot papers bearing the words "Conservative, Stop Hospital Cuts" alongside Tory candidate Roger Oakley's name.

He believed this persuaded many people to vote Tory as they stood at the booth with pencil in hand, even though the campaign to save medical services at Worthing Hospital had cross-party support.

Mr Doyle said: "I found that very disappointing.

So much for the hospital campaign being non-political.

It was legal but whether it was in the spirit of things is another matter."

Coun Keith Mercer, leader of the Conservatives, accused Mr Doyle of sour grapes, adding: "The Lib Dems could have used the same slogan but they missed the opportunity."

The Tories used the same slogan on all their candidates' ballot papers but Mr Doyle referred to the hospital only in his election leaflets.

He proved the major Lib Dem scalp on a night when the Conservatives increased their majority by one to 24, with the Lib Dems on 12 and one independent.

Conservative councillor John Livermore comfortably retained his Heene seat despite a recent fall which left him with a smashed eye socket, cheek bone and elbow.

The biggest Tory cheers came when Kevin Skepper was elected to Broadwater, previously a Lib Dem stronghold, to become the first Conservative to hold the seat since 1975.

Coun Skepper had previously defected from the Lib Dems to the Tories.

Voters went to the polling stations in 11 of the town's 13 wards, with Northbrook and Durrington exempt this year.

The Tories have now been in power for three years after crushing the Lib Dems in 2004.

In Goring, Dawn Smith stood for Stop Durrington's Overdevelopment - Save Titnore's Trees, as a protest against plans to built 875 homes on countryside in the north west of the borough.

Wearing a top hat decorated with leaves, she polled 174 votes.

In the Castle ward, where two seats were up for grabs, there were three recounts before the Lib Dems claimed a double victory.