Newcomers help Conservatives retain strong position in north Northumberland
Conservative councillors have retained their stranglehold on rural north Northumberland.
There were victories for first time Tory candidates Mark Mather (Wooler) and Colin Hardy (Norham and Islandshires), while Guy Renner-Thompson (Bamburgh) also comfortably retained his seat.
Cllr Mather, formerly chairman of Wooler Parish Council, said: "I am really excited and proud that people have put their faith in me, especially when taking over from such a long-standing and well-respected councillor in Anthony Murray.
"I want to take the county councillor role back to basics and get on with the work of ensuring parish councils are supported and get the assistance they need from county.
"I often think it’s the everyday problems that effect people the most so I want to be a point of contact where people can pick up the phone and get in touch.”
Cllr Hardy was relieved that voters did not desert the Conservatives in Norham and Islandshires after Roderick Lawrie moved to the Isle of Man during the previous term.
“I wasn’t sure if I would pull back any damage done by my predecessor having left for the Isle of Man but we got over that and I’m delighted,” he said.
"I was born at Kimmerston and it’s where many of my family and friends are from so it’s a privilege to get their support. I was also very proud that Anne-Marie Trevelyan spared the time to campaign with me – it made a big difference.”
He intends to engage with parish councils to find out and resolve local issues. He is keen to improve public toilets in Ford and Etal and address speeding concerns in Fenwick.
He also hopes to raise the profile of his work for Motor Neurone Disease.
Cllr Renner-Thompson, who held his Bamburgh seat by 846 votes, said: “We have won overall control of the council which is fantastic and you can’t take that achievement away from us but, in our part of the world, we have lost seats in Alnwick and Berwick and a couple in west Northumberland, although we have made up for that with gains in Blyth.”
In Berwick, the outcome for the Tories was mixed with Catherine Seymour retaining her seat for the Conservatives in Berwick North but Gregah Roughead losing out to Lib Dem Isabel Hunter in Berwick West with Ord, while Georgina Hill, Independent, comfortably retained her seat in Berwick East.
Cllr Seymour said: "It is fantastic that the people of Berwick North have elected me again with an increased majority and I am honoured with this privilege to serve and represent this beautiful place. I am aware that with this responsibility and the projects in the pipeline I will continue to push for further investment and improvements to our heritage town.
"I am delighted that the Conservatives continue to hold power in its majority at Northumberland County Council. Athough it is bittersweet that we lost Gregah's seat for Berwick West with Ord by a straw, I congratulate the win of my fellow councillors and I look forward to working constructively with them; and thank all the candidates that ran a good campaign."