SUSSEX DECIDES: Three Chichester wards turn blue in district council elections

Cllr Tony French at the Chichester District Council election 2015 SUS-150805-184002001
Cllr Tony French at the Chichester District Council election 2015 SUS-150805-184002001

THREE of the four Chichester wards on the district council have turned blue.

In the biggest shock of the day Liberal Democrat leader Tony French was ousted by just 48 votes. Fellow Lib Dems Quentin Cox and Michael Woolley are also out.

And in comes 20 year old Tory Thomas Dempster with fellow Tories Jane Kilby and Les Hixson.

Cllr French was the longest serving member of Chichester District Council first joining in 1973 when the first council was first formed.

“They threw me out from l976 to l979,” said Cllr French, “but I have served on the City and the District Council ever since.

“I have been at it a long time and I am happy to have retirement forced up on me.

“This has followed a night of shocks and the demise of a very good party.”

He said the high turn-out of electors had not helped the Lib Dems in the Chichester East ward.

“The Tories don’t normally bother and never work the ward during elections,” he said, “but the high turn-out for the general election got the Tories out to vote.

“I was expecting the voting to be close, but I was not expecting to lose.”

The three seats of Chichester North remained blue, but the results in Chichester South were a further shock for the Lib Dems.

They lost the seats of Alan Chaplin and Anne Scicluna to Tory candidates.

Veteran Tory councillor Pam Dignum returned with new Conservative councillors Nigel Galloway and Len Macey.

Green candidate Sarah Sharp who masterminded the city’s ‘20’s plenty’ campaign came in fourth in a field of nine candidates.

Only Chichester West returned Lib Dem councillors.

Sitting Lib Dem Clare Appel returned and new Lib Dem councillor Richard Plowman ousted Tory chairman Martyn Bell.

Retiring Tory leader Heather Caird said: “We have had some really good results. In Chichester East its so good to see young people coming through the council and with such enthusiasm.

“We have got some really good new councillors coming through and I am delighted with the results today.

“The results have reflected what has happened across the country, everyone has worked very hard.”