COUNTY COUNCIL ELECTIONS: Derbyshire goes blue as Tories take County Hall

The county council election count at Queens Park
The county council election count at Queens Park
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Derbyshire has today gone blue after the Conservatives sensationally wrested control of the county council from the ruling Labour Party.

Starting the day needing 15 seats, they picked up 19 in places including Chesterfield, Heanor, Ripley, Ilkeston and Buxton.

Labour one the other hand lost 19 - ending the day on 24 seats and losing cabinet members Dean Collins and Andy Botham in the process.

Both sides said they were shocked at the scale of the result - and both predicted big changes to come.

New leader, Councillor Barry Lewis, said he was ‘ecstatic’ at the result.

He said: “We didn’t expect this but we put in a really good campaign - delivering thousands of leaflets to thousands of people.

The county council election count at Buxton

The county council election count at Buxton

“Knocking on doors in the last few months we started getting a feeling that things were turning in our favour.”

Coun Lewis said they now wanted to get on with delivering what they promised in their manifesto - with proposals on adult care and highways and a priority.

He added another manifesto pledge had already been fulfilled - the recently imposed tip charges being brought to an end ‘as of today’.

“It is a testing time for local government but we want to get on with doing it rather than griping about it,” said Coun Lewis.

Conservative John Boult who took the Walton (Chesterfield) seat from the Lib Dems.

Conservative John Boult who took the Walton (Chesterfield) seat from the Lib Dems.

His opposite number, Councillor Anne Western, said she was ‘desperately sad’ for Derbyshire and all the people who rely on council services.

She said: “We know from the Tory manifesto what their intentions are and it going to mean massive change - particularly on social care.

“I think it is going to be quite a painful time for people when the Conservatives start to roll out their plans - we will see what it means.”

Coun Western said that she would be ‘watching very carefully’ where the Conservatives find the money to fulfil their manifesto pledges.

The county council election count at Buxton

The county council election count at Buxton

“If you take money for one thing, it has to be taken from somewhere else,” she said.

“They will find that those are very tough decisions - my cabinet team have spent many sleepless nights worrying about how to pay for the things the council does.”

For the full story of a momentous day and all the reaction, see next week’s print edition.