Candidates react to election results

MORPETH’S new county councillor has spoken of his delight at getting elected.

Conservative David Bawn won the keenly contested Morpeth North seat on the authority with a majority of 99 and it marks a breakthrough for the party in the division after years of Labour and Liberal Democrat representation.

He believes two policies in particular were key to his victory.

“I’m honoured to represent the people of Morpeth North and I’m delighted that the Conservatives have made history by winning this seat,” he said.

“It helped that we had a clear message on the doorstep about our policy to make parking free for residents in the north and west market towns and I’m confident that the new council will carry out this policy.

“People also stressed how much they wanted the Telford Bridge traffic lights to be removed and that is my other main priority once I get to County Hall.

“I’m also looking forward to working with the other councillors on the authority to drive forward improvements.”

In second place was Green Party candidate Nic Best, who was a “bit disappointed” with the outcome.

He said: “It was a very good and close campaign and I wish David Bawn good luck as our new county councillor.

“The issues we will need to address in the coming years will not just be car parking charges and traffic congestion, it will also be the wider issue of looking at ways to keep the town centre alive.”

Colin Taylor, who stood for Labour, came fourth but he was pleased that the party increased its number of votes from 2008 by almost 200.

“The issues facing the whole county came into play, but at a local level people mentioned the potential Cottingwood Lane development, which we are against, and the traffic lights,” he added.

Andrew Tebbutt held onto his Morpeth Kirkhill seat, albeit with a much reduced majority.

The Liberal Democrat candidate, who was a key member of the previous administration, had a winning margin of 246.

He said: “I’m very grateful to the voters of Kirkhill for keeping faith in me, particularly given the overall rejection of Liberal Democrat councillors in Northumberland this time.

“I will continue to do my best for the people of Kirkhill and the people of Northumberland in whatever capacity I find myself serving in the council for the next four years.

“Parking charges and traffic lights were uppermost in people’s minds. It will be very interesting to see how the new council address car parking charges, particularly given the financial pressure the authority will find itself under.

“As a former executive member for corporate resources, I will be challenging whoever forms the new administration to make sensible policies which recognise all the issues - not just the popular ones.”

Dave Herne, who stood for the Conservatives, was delighted with the progress made in this election, as Coun Tebbutt’s majority in 2008 was more than 1,000.

He said: “Residents were in favour of our car parking campaign, our pledge on the traffic lights and the state of the footpaths and roads.

“Resurfacing is needed, not just replacing potholes because they will keep breaking up.

“I’m very grateful to my campaign team. They worked tirelessly and couldn’t have done any more.”

It was a close contest in the Morpeth Stobhill division, with Liberal Democrat Ian Lindley the victor.

But the councillor, who was first elected to the seat in 2008, had mixed feelings.

“I’m really surprised it was so close because I’ve worked really hard in the community over the last five years,” he said.

“I think other issues in Morpeth and Northumberland have played their part, including the Telford Bridge traffic lights even though I came out against them.

“But in saying that, it’s great to be elected once again and I will continue to work as hard as I did in the last five years.”

John Beynon stood as an independent in the Morpeth North division in 2008 and as well as switching to Stobhill this time, he was a Conservative candidate.

He said: “It was a close race and congratulations to Ian Lindley on being re-elected.

“I was thrilled with the level of support I received. The traffic lights, car parking charges and potholes were the main issues on the doorstep.

“Maybe if the Lib Dems had listened to the people a lot more over the last few years, they would have done better in the election.”

The Conservatives had a strong performance in Ponteland and the existing councillors turn their seats into some of the safest in the county.

Eileen Armstrong won the Ponteland East and Stannington seat with 83 per cent of the vote. Not far behind her was Ponteland West councillor Veronica Jones on 80 per cent and group leader Peter Jackson with 81 per cent of the vote in his Ponteland South with Heddon seat.

Ponteland North councillor Richard Dodd was unopposed.

Coun Jackson said: “Many of our returning councillors across the county have increased majorities. We have built up trust among local residents to represent their views as strongly as we can.

“In Ponteland, we talked about the local issues that matter to people such as putting in place stronger planning regulations to prevent building on the green belt, making car parking free for Northumberland residents in north and west area market towns and the shocking state of the roads.”

There was a big victory for Labour in the Druridge Bay division.

The party’s candidate, Scott Dickinson, received 786 votes, compared to 287 for Daniel Hedley (Conservatives) and 172 for Lindsay Arkley (Liberal Democrats).

The 29-year-old said: “It’s an overwhelming amount of support from the voters.

“I live and work in the area, but I was still taken aback by the size of my majority.

“The priorities of the new council should be building new homes to tackle waiting lists and repairing roads.

“At a local level, there are issues with public transport that need to be addressed and I will continue my roles with local schools to help ensure that our children continue to have a good education.”

Conservative Glen Sanderson ran away with the re-drawn Longhorsley division, with a cushion of almost 850 votes.

He described his big majority as ‘humbling’ and was pleased with the turnout of 42.7 per cent.

“There’s nothing that can give a candidate more pleasure than seeing loyalty and support reflected at the ballot box,” he added.

“I’m looking forward to the next term, in which I will represent my constituents with the same oomph and gusto as in the previous one.”

Milburn Douglas was delighted after retaining his seat in the Lynemouth division.

After standing as an independent in 2008, this time he was the Labour party candidate. He received 661 votes. Second was Barry Kent (Liberal Democrats) with 342 and Jeremy Wilcock (Conservatives) was third with 70.

Coun Douglas said: “It’s a nice feeling to be re-elected and I’m looking forward to doing my best for the people of Lynemouth, Ellington and Linton as well as the people of Northumberland.

“All councillors need to listen to the public and make sure we provide value for money.

“I will continue to work closely with the parish councils and other agencies to help make improvements within the financial constraints.”

It was a role reversal from 2008 in the Pegswood division.

Five years ago, Liberal Democrat David Woodard won the seat from Labour’s Alan Sambrook, but this time Coun Sambrook was the winner.

Coun Sambrook said: “I’m really pleased to have regained my seat and I’ve already had a few calls from residents about housing issues. One thing I will be pressing my party for is to make sure that the county as a whole will be treated the same, regardless of the different areas.

“I will put in 100 per cent for everybody in the Pegswood division. It doesn’t matter if they voted for me or not.”

Both men are members of Pegswood Parish Council and Coun Woodard said they will work closely with each other to help the village make further progress.

“It was a good campaign and there was no animosity between the candidates,” he added.