ELECTION 2015: Tories make big gains on West Norfolk Council

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The political map of West Norfolk has turned a deeper shade of blue this evening after the Conservatives made significant gains on the borough council.

UKIP and the Liberal Democrats were wiped out as the Tories finished with 50 seats, up 10 on the old council.

Labour have 10 councillors, down two, while the other two members are independents.

Council leader Nick Daubney said his party’s success was “very pleasing”, though he admitted they still face significant challenges.

He said: “We’ve still got to make financial savings, operate the council within sensible budgets, contain our costs. We’ve got a lot of regeneration activity going on.

“That needs to be driven forward because we need those jobs, we need the infrastructure and we need the industry in this area.”

Labour group leader John Collop said his party’s vote held up well following a disappointing general election result nationally.

He said: “It’s an interesting situation. We’ll put forward things as we always do and hopefully now and again somebody will listen to us.”

Independents Richard Bird and Mike Tilbury retained their seats in Hunstanton and Valley Hill.

The Liberal Democrats lost their two seats, although Tony Bubb retained his Dersingham seat for the Tories.

The big losers were UKIP, who lost all six of their seats on the old council.

Group leader Paul Foster, who did not attend the count because of illness, said he believed people had voted Conservative both nationally and locally without considering the different issues.

But he added: “In the areas where UKIP has come second, we have an excellent base to build local candidates and that’s what you need to be trusted nationally.”

The most dramatic result of the afternoon came in South and West Lynn where Labour’s Gary McGuinness retained his seat by a margin of just three votes.

Full results will follow shortly.