IN a new upset at the Chichester District Council elections Tory chairman Martyn Bell has lost his seat in the Chichester West ward.
It was the first Lib Dem gain of the count when Richard Plowman pipped him to the post by just six votes.
It was quite a close call, but I am glad to see two Independents still representing Midhurst purely focussing on the town and the peopleIndependent Gordon McAra
It means both seats are now held by the Lib Dems with sitting councillor Clare Apel also being returned at the top of the poll with 1130 votes.
Mr Bell has recently moved to Worthing which may have contributed to his disappointing result.
At Midhurst there was another close result with Independent Gordon McAra returning and topping the poll with 1,377 votes.
His new Independent running partner narrowly squeezed home with 1,148 votes just 43 votes ahead of a challenge from Tory candidate Danielle Dunfield.
Fellow town councillors Judy Fowler for the Liberal Democrats polled 460 votes and Margaret Guest received 377.
Cllr McAra told the Observer: “It was quite a close call, but I am glad to see two Independents still representing Midhurst purely focussing on the town and the people.”
Fellow Independent Steve Morley said: “My mother would have been very proud today. She died at the end of November but all through my teenage years she was an Independent councillor at Leatherhead.
“I am delighted to be able to work with Gordon and proud to represent Midhurst.”
At Fernhurst, represented by council leader Heather Caird until her retirement before the election, sitting Tory Norma Graves was returned with fellow Tory Philippa Hardwick.
UKIP candidate Andrew Moncreiff took third place in the poll at Fernhurst and founder of the Frack Free Fernhurst campaign, Marcus Adams who stood as an Independent, was fourth in a seven way battle, taking 436 votes.
There were no shocks at Bosham where both seats were held by the Tories. But veteran councillor and former leader Myles Cullen had to content himself with second place in the polls behind incoming Tory Penny Plant who netted 1506 votes.
At East Wittering where both seats were held by the Tories, there was a serious challenge mounted by UKIP. The two candidates came in third and fourth.