NORTHUMBERLAND ELECTION 2017: Live blog

Residents throughout the county have been casting their votes.
Residents throughout the county have been casting their votes.

Keep up to date with all the latest news from the Northumberland County Council election here, as it happens.

We will be live at the count in Hexham and regularly updating this blog throughout the night, with predictions, pictures, results, reaction and more. The full results will be posted here as they are declared.

The ballot boxes piled up in the sports hall, prior to the count.

The ballot boxes piled up in the sports hall, prior to the count.

9.50am: So, that's it! The final results are that the Conservatives won 33 seats, Labour won 24 seats, the Independents took five seats, the Lib Dems won three seats and two others not affiliated to any party have been voted in. .

9.45am: Lib Dems have taken the South Blyth ward....by drawing straws!! The Lib Dems and Conservatives were locked on 356 votes each...so they drew straws, and Lesley Rickerby won, retaining her seat in the process.

9.35am: There's just one result to go...and it's the outcome of the South Blyth ward, which has gone to a re-count.

9.30am: There's change in Alnwick and it's a clean sweep for the Conservatives. Tory Gordon Castle keeps his seat with 1,929 votes, while his colleague, Robbie Moore, takes the second seat with 1,295 votes, snatching the position away from Lib Dem Heather Cairns (959 votes).

Counting begins at the Northumberland County Council elections

Counting begins at the Northumberland County Council elections

9.20am: Bad times for Labour. The Party surrenders its Cramlington Eastfield seat to the Conservatives, while it loses the Bedlington West division to the Independents.

9.10am: There's a re-count for the South Blyth ward. The seat is currently held by the Lib Dems.

8.55am: There's another gain for the Conservatives - and it's a close one. David Towns takes the seat from Labour, winning by just 57 votes.

8.50am: Labour continue to fight back; this time by holding the Hirst division, with Ken Parry retaining his seat, taking 613 votes.

8.40am: Labour hold Cramlington East, Cowpen, Seaton with Newbiggin West, Seghill with Seaton Delaval, Ashington Central, Choppington and Stakeford.

8.15am: Well, well, well - the Tory juggernaut continues as Mark Swinburn snatches the Cramlington Village seat away from Labour with 974 votes. Labour, does however, hold seats in Kitty Brewster (Grant Davey, 511 votes) and Sleekburn (Jeff Gobin, 381). But, Labour takes one step forward and two steps back, as the Party goes on to lose the Bedlington East ward, with Independent Bill Crosby taking the victory.

8am: There's two more holds. Labour's Allan Hepple retains his seat in the Cramlington South East ward with 718 votes, while Trevor Thorne (Conservative) has once again won the Shilbottle division with 1,161 votes.

7.55am: Steven Bridgett (Independent) holds his Rothbury seat with 1,471 votes, while Labour holds seats in Lynemouth and Croft, with Liz Dunn and Kath Nisbet winning their respective divisions.

7.35am: Georgina Hill (Independent) takes the Berwick East seat, snatching it from the Liberal Democrats. And there's good news for Labour as the party holds in Amble and Druridge Bay, with Terry Clark and Scott Dickinson winning their respective votes.

7.30am: There's Conservative holds in Bamburgh and Longhorsley, with Guy Renner-Thompson and Glen Sanderson victorious, while Tory candidate Wendy Pattison has snatched the Longhoughton seat away from Lib Dem Kate Cairns. However, Lib Dem Jeff Reid retained his seat in the Plessey ward.

7.20am: The results are coming in thick and fast now and there is more good news for the Conservatives, with them snatching seats in Morpeth Kirkhill and Berwick North.

7.05am: Conservative Wayne Daley has held his Cramlington North seat with 1,644, but Lib Dem Isabel Hunter has lost the Berwick West with Ord division to Tory Gregah Roughead.

6.50am: And there's more gains for the Tories. Roderick Lawrie has won Norham and Islandshires by taking 867 votes. His victory is an end of an era, as he defeats long-standing Lib Dem councillor Dougie Watkin. Meanwhile, in Morpeth Stobhill, Conservative John Beynon has snatched the seat from the Independent Ian Lindley, taking 969 votes. Labour, however, hold the Newbiggin Central and East ward, with Liz Simpson retaining her seat with 776 votes.

6.30am: It's still early days, but it has certainly been the Conservative Party's night so far. The group has made three gains, including snatching two Labour seats (Prudhoe North and Prudhoe South). Leading Conservative councillor Peter Jackson, who has already held his Ponteland South with Heddon seat, has spoken of his delight. He said: "It has been a very successful night for the Conservatives right across the county. We are feeling confident that we can make 10-to-13 gains, which would make us by far the largest party within the council. It is a significant change and the Northumberland County Council hasn't been Conservative-led for 40-odd years. It shows that the people have turned their back on Labour. For us to win both Prudhoe seats, considered Labour heartland, is a great success for us."

On the other side of the coin, Grant Davey, who led the Northumberland Labour administration prior to the election - and is contesting the Kitty Brewster ward - has blamed himself for the group's miserable night so far. He said: "I don't think I have managed to sell the Labour Party story well enough to the general public. We had a fantastic manifesto, where as the Tories plan to scrap Arch - The Northumberland Development Company, and their plans will damage services in rural areas, but I have to take the blame for what has happened."

6.15am: County-council candidates have criticised the length of time it is taking to get the results. After all, the doors at Hexham's Wentworth Leisure Centre opened at 10pm last night...and it's now 6.15am and we have only had 18 results, with more than 40 still to go. Conservative candidate Glen Sanderson, who is running for the Longhorsley ward, has described it as a shambles. Independent representative Coun Steven Bridgett, contesting the Rothbury division, maintains that the count should have been held across several sites in Northumberland, as it has done in the past, instead of just the one. He added: "The votes for the Rothbury division were verified four hours ago, but they haven't been counted yet!"

5.55am: It's daylight outside and we are still here in Hexham waiting for another 49 wards to be announced. Keep checking our blog for live updates, results and reaction.

5.50am: Just been told that the last ward is being verified and then there will be a 10-minute break for the count staff. The count will then start...with results to follow!

5.25am: Finally....some more results for you!! And this one comes from the Haydon ward. And it's success for Labour at last. Brian Gallacher has retained his seat, with 744 votes.

5.10am: We know we haven't updated the blog or results page in a while, but don't worry, we haven't fallen asleep!! There has just been a bit of a breather while more votes are being verified. More results should be announced soon....hopefully!!!

4am: Verifications for more wards are now under way. Count assistants are checking the ballot papers for Amble West with Warkworth, Plessey, Amble, Rothbury, Berwick North, Alnwick, Seaton with Newbiggin West and Ashington Central.

3.50am: The Liberal Democrats finally win a seat! Alan Sharp retains his place as county councillor for Haydon and Hadrian with 797 votes.

3.20am: Veronica Jones (Conservative) retains her seat in the Ponteland West ward with 1,175 votes.

3.10am: Conservative gain in Prudhoe North! Kenneth Stow takes the seat away from Labour with 653 votes. The Conservatives have made three gains so far, clinching the seats in Prudhoe South, Prudhoe North and Bywell. They have taken two seats from Labour (Prudhoe South and Prudhoe North wards) and one from the Independents (Bywell).

3.05am: Eileen Armstrong, Conservative, holds her seat in the Ponteland East and Stannington ward, taking 1,200 votes.

2.55am: Richard Dodd (Conservative) holds his seat in the Ponteland North ward, securing 1,380 votes.

2.40am: Conservative Peter Jackson has held his seat in the Ponteland South with Heddon ward, with 1,195 votes, while in Hexham East, there was a win for Cath Homer (Conservative) with 941 votes.

2.35am: The winner for Humshaugh is Rupert Gibson (Conservative) with 909 votes, while in Corbridge, Nick Oliver (Conservative) took the seat with 893 votes.

2.20am: More results. Hexham West - The winner is Derek Kennedy, Independent, with 1,095 votes, while in Prudhoe South, it was a Conservative win, with Gordon Stewart taking 564 votes. In Hexham Central, Trevor Cessford, Conservative, took the seat with 747 votes. There was another Conservative victory in South Tynedale, with Colin Horncastle taking 1,249 votes. The Conservatives also took the seat in Bellingham (John Riddle, 998 votes) and Haltwhistle (Ian Hutchinson, 1,027 votes).

2.10am: The first two results have been announced. Stocksfield and Broomhaugh was won by Independent candidate Anne Dale, with 1,312 votes, while there has been a Conservative gain for the Conservative party in Bywell, as Karen Quinn took 833 votes.

1.35am: The first results are due within the next 20 minutes or so, we have been told. This is for the Hexham area.

1.30am: Stepping aside from the county-council election for a moment, two candidates for the Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency for the upcoming General Election are at the count - Labour's Scott Dickinson and Conservative Anne-Marie Trevelyan. Scott says that one of his main policies is around social-care for adults and school funding. Anne-Marie, who was voted into the seat in 2015 and is aiming to retain it in June, says that all her campaigning is focused on getting the infrastructure back into the constituency and getting it up to scratch so that the area can attract investment and subsequently raise the quality and level of jobs in the area.

1.15am: The ballot boxes from north Northumberland are here - but it might be some time until they open them!

1.10am: Liberal Democrat candidate Jeff Reid, who has been leader of the group, said: "We have modest ambitions, but I think we will fulfill them and gain seats. The key issues raised in my division during the campaign include the cost of moving County Hall to Ashington, which has really riled people up as they compare that with calling up the council and not getting a reply or asking for something to be taken away and it isn't done."

12.30am: The last box will get here at Wentworth Leisure Centre, from Holy Island. The island, was cut off by the causeway last night at 9.20pm and won't reopen until 1.30am, when the votes from there will be brought to Hexham.

12.25am: The latest announcement from Geoff Paul, the returning officer, who said that there were a large number of postal votes handed in at polling stations today. They have to be opened, verified and then added to the divisions before counting proper can start. The opening of boxes previously has been to verify that there are the right number of ballot papers for each division.

12.10am: Conservative candidates, and husband and wife, Jeff and June Watson are both feeling positive about tonight's result. Jeff, standing for Amble West with Warkworth, said: "I am fairly confident. It was very close last time with just one vote in it. But I've been in the seat for four years now and more people know me so we will see what happens." June, standing for Mable with Togston, added: "I'm very positive. I've had a good response and people have been very supportive."

12.05am: Conservative candidate Peter Jackson, who has been leader of the group, is hopeful of a good night for his party. He said: "We've put 100 per cent effort into this campaign up and down Northumberland and we think Northumberland is ready for a change. The people of the county absolutely hate the idea of wasting so much money on a new council headquarters in Ashington."

11.50pm: Labour candidates Grant Davey and James Matthewson have shared their views. Mr Davey, who has been leader of the Labour-run administration, said: "We have put a lot of effort in so it would be nice to think we can get to the position we were before and maybe add a few more." Mr Matthewson, standing for the Alnwick ward, said that polling day was exhausting, but good. Meanwhile, Robbie Moore, who is one of the Conservative candidates for Alnwick, said that if he is elected, the 'absolute key is bringing back much more localised decision making to the ward.'

11.45pm: Numerous counts have started.

11.15pm: The count has started for Ponteland East and Stannington.

11.10pm: The count has started for Haltwhistle and Corbridge.

11.05pm: Gordon Castle, conservative candidate for the Alnwick ward, says he is always prepared for the worst but is hoping for the best, while Scott Dickinson, Labour candidate for Druridge Bay says he is feeling very good and local people have been very supportive.

10.55pm: The ballot boxes are arriving, while councillors and their supporters are queuing to get inside.

10.40pm: The polls have closed and the count at Hexham is about to start. Your reporting team tonight - Helen Millichamp, Andrew Coulson and James Willoughby - are logged on, surrounded by coffee and sweets, ready to keep you up-to-date with the news, views and results as they happen.

3.35pm: Residents throughout the county have been casting their votes ahead of the through-the-night count at Hexham's Wentworth Leisure Centre. The polls close at 10pm.