RELIEF and joy swept through Windrush Leisure Centre as the Conservatives managed to gain two seats in the district.
After a swift two hours of counting, the Conservative Party in West Oxfordshire District Council remained victorious after increasing their majority to 40 seats out of the council’s 49.
Of the 17 seats up for election, it won in 15 wards, while Labour gained a seat and the Liberal Democrats had a mixed bag, losing one seat but holding its other.
The party was under pressure to hold off UKIP as it made a challenge to 10 seats.
But the Tories held on, gaining two seats in Ducklington and Eynsham & Cassington, the latter previosuly a Liberal Democrat seat.
- Ben Woodruff
Ben Woodruff won the Ducklington seat with 337 votes – 50 per cent – after Steve Hayward resigned following his controversial move to Thailand. Mr Hayward left the Conservative Party last year.
Mr Woodruff moved to reassure residents he was going to stay. He said: “I have no intention of going to Thailand.
“The hard work on the campaign has paid off and the people in the area have decided.”
Council leader Barry Norton said the success showed people of the district supported the party, despite the national picture.
He said: “We started off the night with 13 of the 17 seats up for election and we ended up with 15 victories, including two gains.
“Again Conservatives across the country have not been doing that well and we are probably out-performing the national picture here, which underlies that we have a trust from people that we are achieving in West Oxfordshire.
“Our majority on the council is now increased to 31, as we hold 40 of the 49 seats on the council.
“A couple of other noteworthy victories are Alex Postan at Brize Norton & Shilton, where he saw off a single-issue Independent who was against housing growth in that particular area.
“So I think that’s particularly commendable there and, of course, we had terrific gain in Eynsham & Cassington where Peter Emery took the seat that was previously held by the Liberal Democrats. That’s a great gain for us now.
“What it means now is that we can continue to move forward running the council in a very positive way, making efficiency savings wherever we can, pioneering new ways of streamlining services and how they are presented to the public so we can become really cost-efficient and we are working with other councils to do that.”
Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron said: “Locally we have 15 Conservative seats out of 17 overall, which is a very good result. Our results, with two gains, have shown a huge vote of confidence in all the good things Conservatives are doing on behalf of local people.”
Anti-Europe party UKIP closed in on its political rivals the Conservatives in West Oxfordshire, but failed to gain any seats.
The party came second to the Tories in seven of the 10 wards it contested. The tensest moment came during the announcement for the Witney South ward, where incumbent David Harvey had faced a challenge from UKIP’s James Robertshaw.
Mr Harvey won with 625 votes – a margin of 152.
Mr Harvey said: “It went all the way down to the door. At the end of the day it shows the overall appreciation people have for the work I have done in the cabinet as portfolio holder for environment.”
Mr Robertshaw believed the weather played a part on results, saying: “I think part of it is because it was on the same day as European elections and I think I would have done better, to be honest, but it was raining yesterday and Labour had quite a heavy campaign as well.”
Our top stories:
Oxfordshire ambulance services accused of "playing god" and "putting lives at risk" in new drug trial
9:00am Tuesday 27th January 2015
CARDIAC arrest patients could be given a salt solution instead of adrenaline as part of a new medical trial in Oxfordshire.
7:48pm Tuesday 27th January 2015
THE first phase of the £60 million redevelopment of Oxford University’s Iffley Road sports facilities could be completed by July 2016.
7:30pm Tuesday 27th January 2015
STAFF at a funeral directors said they have been inundated with messages of support after a devastating blaze caused an estimated £100,000 worth of damage.
7:13pm Tuesday 27th January 2015
A PLANNED strike by health workers has been called off less than 48 hours before it was due to start.
4:10pm Tuesday 27th January 2015
Heavy snow is set to hit the county on Thursday morning, according to the Met Office.
2:57pm Tuesday 27th January 2015
THE jury in the Jake Blakeley trial has been sent home for the night.
2:15pm Tuesday 27th January 2015
A 15-year-old boy was approached by a man in a blue van in Bicester yesterday
12:49pm Tuesday 27th January 2015
THE funeral of an Oxford Railway Station staff member will be held next week.
12:43pm Tuesday 27th January 2015
THE foster mother of the alleged victim of child prostitution told a jury yesterday how her daughter was sent across the country for sex.
12:40pm Tuesday 27th January 2015
A former headmaster carried out sex attacks on boys with special needs aged as young as 10, a court has heard.
12:40pm Tuesday 27th January 2015
MORE than 300 people have signed an open letter urging the Oxford Union to cancel its invitation to controversial French politician Marine Le Pen to speak in the city.
11:54am Tuesday 27th January 2015
Meningitis amputee Charlotte Nott has turned seven, with a growing sense of independence and is now able to balance a pen between the end of her arm and torso.
10:15am Tuesday 27th January 2015
POLICE are raiding an East Oxford house as part of a drugs investigation.
8:00am Tuesday 27th January 2015
FOR most people, feeding a family of five children and ten grandchildren would be enough to keep busy.