Turnout for Thursday's by-election in Holywell was lowest in Oxford City Council's history, it emerged last night.

Liberal Democrat candidate Mark Mills held the seat vacated by Richard Huzzey, who quit the council to take up a teaching post at Yale University in Connecticut in the US, by 76 votes. He polled 188 votes.

However, a turnout of just 11.7 per cent - or 465 people - meant it ranked as the poorest showing for any Town Hall election.

Holywell is the ward with the highest number of student voters - only a handful of permanent residents make up the rest.

The Tories, who still do not have any presence in the city, came second with former Liberal Democrat-turned- Conservative councillor Paul Sargent polling 112 votes.

Labour candidate Sarah Hutchinson netted 93 votes, while Green Party hopeful Chip Sherwood came fourth with 72 votes.

The upshot is the Town Hall remains unchanged since the local elections on May 1, with its 48 seats are split as follows: Labour (23 councillors); Liberal Democrats (16); Greens (seven); Independent Working Class Association (two).

Labour controls the city with a minority administration.