BREAKING NEWS: Conservatives defeated in Heacham by-election

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Independent candidate Terry Parish has won the Heacham ward by-election, taking the vacant seat on West Norfolk Council from the Conservatives.

Mr Parish, who is also a parish councillor, defeated Tory candidate Simon Eyre by 58 votes.

Speaking shortly after the result was declared, Mr Parish admitted being “a tad surprised” to have won the seat.

But he thought his work in the community may have helped swing the vote his way.

He said: “I think I’m well known as a person in Heacham. I’ve done various things in the village which some people have appreciated.”

He said he hoped to use his new position to monitor development proposals for the village more closely and potentially attract greater investment to the village.

He said: “Sometimes, we’re shortchanged on things.”

Conservative election agent Ian Sherwood said they were “extremely disappointed” to lose the seat.

He said: “We felt we fought the seat hard. We knew it was going to be close from our own canvassing.”

Liberal Democrat Rob Colwell and UKIP’s Debbie Le May tied for third place, ahead of Mike Press, who also stood as an independent, and Labour’s Ed Robb.

The election was called following the resignation of Peter Colvin earlier this year.

Full results: Terry Parish (Independent), 400 votes; Simon Eyre (Conservative) 342; Rob Colwell (Liberal Democrat) 83; Debbie Le May (UKIP), 83; Mike Press (Independent) 79; Ed Robb (Labour) 74. Turnout 26.27 per cent.