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Local Election 2011: Live





Rolling coverage of the West Berkshire Council district election count at Newbury Racecourse

6.13pm

There are three recounts currently going on, Newbury St Johns, Northcroft, and Thatcham south.

The result of the AV vote will be announced later. Log on to Newburytoday.co.uk over the coming week for more fallout from the election, which has seen the Conservatives increase their number of seats by three, taking Thatcham North and South in the process.

Thank you for your emails and thank you for joining us.

5.40pm

Newbury Town Council results:

Brummell Grove ward - Eva Franks (Con)

Victoria ward - David Allen (Lib Dem)

Mukesh Bansal (Lib Dem)

Elizabeth O'Keefe (Lib Dem)

Liz Salter (Lib Dem)

Thatcham Town Council results:

Thatcham west - Brian Barnes (Lib Dem)

Jeff Brooks (Lib Dem)

Gary Johnson (Lib Dem)

Lynne Pettyfer (Lib Dem)

5.30pm

The new make-up of West Berkshire Council is:

Conservatives - 39

Liberal Democrats - 13

5.27pm

Thatcham Town Council results:

Thatcham North ward - Sheila Ellison and John Horton (Con) are elected along with Lee Dillon and Mike Cole (both Lib Dem).

5.25pm

Newbury Town Council results:

Clay Hill ward - Tony Stretton, Jeff Beck and Dave Goff (all Con) are elected alongside Phil Barnett (Lib Dem).

5.23pm

Richard Crumly (Con) and David Rendel (Lib Dem) are elected in Thatcham Central.

5.22pm

Gwen Mason and Tony Vickers (all Lib Dem) are elected in Northcroft.

5.21pm

Emma Webster, Joe Mooney and Tony Linden (all Con) are elected in the Birch Copse ward.

5.20pm

Peter Argyle, Brian Bedwell and Manohar Gopal (all Con) are elected in the Caclot ward.

4.58pm

Adrian Edwards and Howard Bairstow (both Con) win in Falkland.

4.28pm

Newbury Town Council

Falkland ward - Adrian Edwards, David Fenn, Howard Bairstow and Kuldip Singh Kang (all Con) are elected.

Pyle Hill ward - Arthur Johnson and Julian Swift-Hook (both Lib Dem) are elected.

4.27pm

Some parish and town council results are also being announced.

4.25pm

Billy Drummond and Julian Swift-Hook (both Lib Dem) are elected in Greenham.

4.03pm

Garth Simpson (Con) is elected in Cold Ash.

Virginia von Celsing (Con) wins the Compton ward.

George Chandler (Con) is elected in the Downlands ward.

Andrew Rowles and Anthony Stansfeld (both Con) are elected in Kintbury.

Paul Hewer and David Holtby (both Con) win in Hungerford.

Gordon Lundie and Graham Jones (both Con) win in Lambourn.

Mollie Lock and Geoff Mayes (both Lib Dem) win in Mortimer.

Pamela Bale (Con) is elected for Pangbourne.

David Betts and Tim Metcalfe (both Con) are elected for the Purley on Thames ward.

Paul Bryant and Marcus Franks (both Con) win in Speen.

Ieuan Tuck and Mike Johnston (both Con) are elected for St Johns ward.

Keith Chopping (Con) wins in Sulhamstead.

Sheila Ellison and John Horton (both Con) win in Thatcham North.

Dominic Boeck and Roger Croft (both Con) win in Thatcham South and Crookham.

Jeff Brooks and Keith Woodhams (Lib Dem) are elected in the Thatcham West ward.

Alan Macro (Lib Dem) wins in Theale.

Roger Hunneman and David Allen (Lib Dem) win in Victoria.

4.02pm

Jeff Beck and Dave Goff (both Con) are elected for the Clay Hill ward.

4.01pm

Hilary Cole (Con) is elected for the Chieveley ward.

4pm

Carol Jackson-Doerge (Con) and Royce Longton (Lib Dem) have been elected for the Burghfield ward.

3.59pm

Graham Pask and Quentin Webb (both Con) are elected for the Bucklebury ward.

3.58pm

Alan Law (Con) and Laszlo Zverko (Con) are elected for the Basildon and Westwood wards respectively.

3.57pm

Irene Neill (Con) is elected for Aldermaston.

3.56pm

The surge towards the stage gives us our clearest indication yet.

3.55pm

For all you doubters, we believe it is actually happening in a minute, so please hold on...

3.51pm

The turnout for the referendum on AV in West Berkshire was 55,064 - 48.7 per cent of the electorate.

And we have had confirmation to declare results...

3.49pm

We could be ready, apparently...

3.46pm

And thanks to Paul for his tip (below)!

"COUNT TORTURE" running in the 2:45pm (subject to authorisation from Southampton) is a good bet I hear

3.45pm

A message we have received from Sally...

Message from the person who was expecting you home for lunch at 1pm

Your dinner's in the dog!

3.42pm

And a word from Mr Swift-Hook, who is rumoured to have secured his seat on the town council and the district council while many around him tumble:

"It seems the voters have treated this election like a referendum on Nick Clegg, which is a shame. Whether you agree with them on the national issues, this is about what is happening locally and at local level, what is happening in your street does not have anything to do with who is running the country."

3.27pm

So the next race day is next Friday (May 13). As it looks like we will still be here then does anyone have any tips for us?

3.22pm

A special mention for Julian Swift-Hook's (Lib Dem, Greenham) rosette. It looks like something from The Day of the Triffids.

3.19pm

Thanks for all the emails on our live feed...it is certainly keeping our spirits up, please keep sending them in.

3.15pm

Some positive news...

It is rumoured that turnout in some wards reached as high as 60 per cent.

Meanwhile, we are expecting multiple results once the thumbs up is finally given for declarations.

3.01pm

Newbury MP, Richard Benyon, said he is confident the Conservatives have made some gains, but he said there are some seats that are still too close to call.

2.45pm

When asked if there was one particular seat he would wish to win if he could only win one, the leader of the council Graham Jones (Con, Lambourn) would not be drawn.

"I don't care, is the honest answer. Obviously we would like to take Thatcham central and west but I really don't mind, we always seek to maximise and win as many as we can. It's not a cop out answer, I really don't mind."

He said his party had fielded strong, well known local candidates in Thatcham, and this has helped them make gains.

If rumours are to be believed, the Conservatives have won the popular vote in the town, which has never happened before.

2.43pm

We are approaching three and a quarter hours since we expected the first results.

Will we ever get one?

2.30pm

Quote of the day from an unnamed wag inside the hall in reference to AV: "I voted no for the simple fact I don't want to decide my MP in the same way I order DVDs from Lovefilm."

Labour Party Speen candidate Richard Garvie has not quite written off his party's chances, but he says he is not confident the turnout is high enough to do any real damage.

"Our information is telling us the turnout wasn't high enough. For Labour to win a seat we need a really high turnout and it doesn't seem to have happened. It does look like we've increased our vote four or five hundred percent, which is a big improvement on last time when we only had around 500 votes. Anywhere else in the country we'd have walloped them but not here."

2.16pm

People are heading for the coffee again. It could well be needed.

2.06pm

We understand several results are in, but we are waiting for the thumbs up from the regional counting officer in Southampton, before declarations can be made.

2pm

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jeff Brooks (Thatcham West) has said the national situation unravelling at the moment with heavy losses for the Liberal Democrats across the country is an indicator of what is going on locally.

He agreed with the assessment that his party had been "human shields" for the Tories.

"We can't ignore what is going on or go against the national picture, we are not an island here, we will just have to see what happens and try to bounce back. Whether our vote stayed at home we don't know. They wouldn't have gone Tory, there has been some bounce for Labour so they will be delighted. If people are unhappy, they have taken it out on us. We will just have to wait and see."

1.54pm

I am starting to think this may be a false alarm!

1.48pm

Good to know someone is reading this, there is almost a gathering around the stage.

1.46pm

It looks like there might be more than one, hence the delay...

1.42pm

The tension is almost unbearable!

1.40pm

And the first winner is...

1.31pm

Hold on, a result may well be imminent...

1.24pm

Newbury town councillor Adrian Edwards (Con, Falkland) has been talking of his party's chances of taking control of Newbury Town Council.

"Quietly confident. We have worked hard, particularly in Falkland, and we have shown people that although we have control of the district, we have convinced a Liberal town council to push forward with several projects. There were one or two issues with distribution so we didn't hit every area we were after. I hope we have managed to secure the town and district seats."

Conservative election agent Mr Holtby is, however, keeping it tight.

"It's still too early to tell," he said.

The demeanour of his colleagues would beg to differ.

1.18pm

We are however, still awaiting a ward result!

1.17pm

We finally have something!

The turnout in West Berkshire for the referendum has been confirmed as 48.7 per cent.

1.14pm

Could West Berkshire follow Reading and declare several results at once? We can only hope!

1.05pm

Even the councillors are beginning to look bored...

1.03pm

The first result is still not expected for another half an hour, according to Mr Ulyatt.

It sounds like there is more chance of an announcement in the QPR hearing first at this rate!

12.57pm

The murmurs around the room suggest a number of gains for the Conservatives in West Berkshire.

No actual declarations of results yet, but the sounds are promising for the Blue corner.

12.42pm

Adam Osmond, the former young member of Parliament for Newbury said he was disappointed to be disqualified for running as a Labour candidate in Greenham on age grounds. He turned 18 after the registration date closed but before the nominations were announced and was not classed as old enough to run.

"I've come out today to see how we are doing, and to see if young people have engaged. In Greenham there is still much work to be done getting young people interested in politics but I will keep going. The AV issue has not franchised with young people as much as it was thought it might."

12.38pm

The bar and food area is filling up, shame there is no activity at the stage!

12.26pm

Still nothing on the results front, although we hear the 'No' campaign is likely to win the referendum nationally on the Alternative Vote system.

12.20pm

There are a lot people gathering around the stage. The most important man, Mr Holling, is not one of them though.

12.14pm

Looking around the room, there are a few anxious faces. Maybe some candidates can see their election dreams fading away for another four years.

12.08pm

West Berkshire Council number cruncher, Keith Ulyatt, said he is trying to work out the marginal seats.

Perhaps he should have read his Newbury Weekly News a few weeks ago!

12.04pm

We are hearing the first result is likely to be announced some time between 12.30pm and 1pm. The fears are it could be long day ahead here at Newbury Racecourse, with a few more hurdles to overcome.

12.01pm

The Liberal Democrat strategists are typing away at their computers, trying to establish the likely swings, gains and losses.

Their faces aren't giving away too much, though.

11.54am

It's lunchtime here as we still wait for the first result of the day.

11.32am

For a (s)election of photos from the count today, taken by NWN photographer Phil Cannings, click on our picture gallery.

11.27am

We have just discussed the thrills and spills of Crafty Craft with Marcus Franks (Con, Speen), who added that he is looking forward to seeing where the gains and losses are made today.

He added that he is not expecting results akin to those at the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, where the Liberal Democrats now have only one seat, having had 15 prior to the election.

11.22am

Still no announcement as yet, but Emma Webster (Con, Birch Copse) seems to think there could be changes in store in Thatcham...

11.08am

There are talks about what surprises may be in store today. Could one of the executive members be toppled from their seat?

11.01am

West Berkshire Council's returning officer, David Holling, said the process seems to be running smoothly at the moment, adding that he is still hopeful that the district results and majority, if not all, of the parish results will be declared by 4pm.

10.59am

The leader of West Berkshire Council, Graham Jones, said he is not making any predictions yet. Is that a sign of nerves?

10.52am

In 2007, Theale was the first ward to be declared. Which ward will it be this time?

10.48am

The counters are frenetic in their work at the moment, it is obviously still early in the day!

Or maybe, just maybe, they are keen to get out of here early!

10.40am

As always, the council's press relations team are on the ball and have just arrived in their droves ready for the day ahead.

Their spirits seem to be high, perhaps because they have set up next to the bar!

10.30am

We are still awaiting our first result of the day, but most of the big names from either side of the council are now here and are currently mixing together.

Will they still be talking to each other as the day goes on though?

10.25am

The Conservative MP for Newbury Richard Benyon, back down to earth after partying with the royals at the weekend, said his party had done as well as could be expected in a difficult year.

"It seems that the Liberals haven't targeted any of the rural seats in West Berkshire which they would need to do if they are going to take control of the council. The response on the doorstep has been good, but something local could swing it one way or another here. I do think there will be surprises none of us expected."

10.15am

The Labour party candidates have just arrived and are confident that their vote will have increased in West Berkshire.

However, Richard Garvie, a candidate for the Speen ward, has raised concerns that the turnout may not have been high enough for them to take some seats.

He said: "It appears that the referendum on the Alternative Vote and the local elections has not captured the imagination of the majority of people."

10.11am

Bryan Harper, who is standing as a Liberal Democrat candidate in the Falkland ward, said he feels a bit of sadness that people are voting based on national issues at a local level.

He said: "There are a lot of good people who may not get seats today because of it."

10.06am

"I am feeling rather confident, given the national figure. When it comes to a straight fight between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats it tends to go rather well for us. It confirms my thoughts that they are good at being opposition but not so good at being constructive."

Alan Law (Con, Basildon) is in a bullish mood this morning.

9.45am

The counting has begun at Newbury Racecourse as candidates continue to file in.

The atmosphere is slightly subdued as the day has not properly kicked into life but the Conservative councillors have had their briefing from election agent David Holtby (Con, Hungerford) and seem in good spirits.

Three issues have cropped up this morning.

Overheard in the queue to get into the building it appears the turnout in Thatcham at least was very low, and also that there was an incident of trouble involving a gang of youths attacking a man outside the Thatcham Memorial Hall last night as people voted, and the Apolitical Democrats and Newbury Labour party have complained to West Berkshire Council that Liberal Democrat polling counters at Waterside Centre in Newbury were turning away voters who did not have polling cards, more on these stories as they develop.

The first results are expected at around 11.30am.



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