SUSSEX DECIDES: Battle of the Titans for Chichester District Council’s Lavant seat

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SUS-151202-105244001

CHICHESTER District Council (CDC) election candidates do not have long to wait until results are announced.

The first are expected within the hour and there are a number of wards where the spotlight may fall.

There is an interesting battle of the Titans at Lavant where two former county councillors are going head to head for the one seat. It is currently held by Lib Dem Andrew Smith who was also the Lib Dem’s Chichester constituency parliamentary candidate.

He was first elected to CDC in 1991 and was Lib Dem leader from 1995-2011.

He faces a challenge from popular former county councillor for Chichester North, Mike Hall.

Selsey South electors will be voting for new candidates as the two Tories Roland O’Brien and Fred Robertson have both stepped down.

But there is surprise that there is no UKIP challenge in this coastal ward.

Top Tory Pieter Montyn is missing in the line-up for the West Wittering ward.

He is not seeking re-election for his district council seat. He has stepped away from the political arena recently also stepping down as cabinet member for transport at West Sussex County Council, although he is still representing the division.

Fellow Tory Roger Marshall is also not standing at West Wittering.

Instead Tory councillor Graeme Barrett has moved over from East Wittering to fight for one of the two seats alongside running mate Elizabeth Hamilton who has given up the Easebourne seat.

There are also challenges at West Wittering from two Independents including Laurie Pocock, who has been a fierce campaigner against a number of home plans in Birdham and the surrounding Manhood Peninsula . The Green Party is also fielding a candidate here.

North of the Downs attention will focus on Midhurst where sitting councillor, Independent Gordon McAra is running with a new Independent candidate Steve Morley.

Brian Weekes who won a seat here for the Tories at the last election resigned from the party and sat as an Independent, but is not seeking re-election.

There is a question mark at Stedham where district councillor John Cherry is seeking re-election.

He lost his Tory county council seat in 2013 to Gordon McAra after the racism row, and was forced out of the Tory party.

But he has continued to represent Stedham on the district council as an Independent. He faces a challenge from Tory candidate Caroline Neville, but his personal popularity in Stedham is likely to make this an interesting battle.