THE Conservatives tightened their grip on Worthing Borough Council at Thursday's election, gaining one seat from the Liberal Democrats.
Former mayor of Worthing James Doyle was unseated by Tory Roger Oakley in Selden ward – by a margin of 12 votes.
The other Conservative success of the night was in Broadwater ward, where Kevin Skepper, who was last elected as a Liberal Democrat before defecting to the Tories, held his seat.
It was the first time a Conservative candidate had won Broadwater for more than 30 years. Mr Skepper said: "I would call that seismic. I am absolutely ecstatic. Four weeks ago I didn't think I would win."
Elsewhere in Worthing, Conservative candidates held their seats in Gaisford, Heene, Marine, Offington, Tarring and Salvington wards.
In Goring ward, Conservative councillor Fiona Green had decided not to seek re-election. Ann Sayers, also Conservative, took the seat for her party.
The only nail-biting moment concerned Castle ward, with ballots counted and then re-counted three times.
After an anxious hour-long wait, returning officer Alan Smith announced victories for current Liberal Democrat councillor Robin Rogers, and also for fellow Lib Dem David Potter, who replaces Claire Potter - no relation - who had stood down. Mr Potter beat Conservative candidate Bill Capper by just eight votes.
Conservative leader of Worthing Borough Council Keith Mercer congratulated the victorious Tory candidates, adding: "I would like to applaud all the parties for their efforts."
Tim Loughton, Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, said Mr Skepper's re-election was the "result of the night", adding he was pleased with his party's performance in the polls.
Mr Loughton said: "People have given a vote of confidence in the progress that has been made in bringing Worthing into the 21st century. The council is working to make Worthing a town of which its citizens can be proud."
THANK YOU - a letter from Worthing Lib Dems
In these times of perceived apathy and non voting, can I sincerely thank all those voters who put their trust in me and my colleagues in Tarring and Castle ward.
We are grateful for those who took the time and effort in deciding whom to vote for by outcome and not spin.
It was particularly encouraging to see young families and indeed a slightly increased turn out at the polling stations.
To those of our residents, whom we didn't manage to meet on the day,
our apologies, we were they can be assured, working for them too.
Many thanks to those of our rivals on the day who were polite too, it was appreciated.
Hazel Thorpe, Tarring ward, Robin Rogers and David Potter, Castle ward.
BALLOT PAPER CONTROVERSY
I was puzzled and alarmed to see the ballot paper in Marine ward where I live and vote. Under the party description for Keith Mercer (Conservative and current council leader, as I'm sure you know) was the party description Conservative: Stop (or Fight - my memory of exact wording not clear) the Hospital Cuts.
Other parties were fairly described e.g. Green Party, Labour Party etc.
My memory does recall that ballot papers are not allowed to carry any form of propaganda, i.e. no slogans. Did this happen only in Marine ward or elsewhere? And was this legal? What would the Electoral Commission say about this?
I hope you find this worthy of investigation. In this instance it may not have changed the ballot outcome but there is an important principle at stake.
I am writing to inform you of my concerns about the immature behaviour displayed by Liberal Democrat candidates at the local elections last Thursday in our constituency of Worthing.
Myself and other Politics students from Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College were given the opportunity to shadow a prospective councillor for the day.
As Politics students, we were keen to observe the democratic process firsthand and gain a better understanding of the policies of all political parties.
Although none of us hold a strong political bias towards a particular party, the local Conservative party very kindly allowed us to fully immerse ourselves in the activities of the day. While I was on duty at a polling station, I found a Lib Dem particularly to be very hostile and patronising towards me. Also, whilst canvassing door to door, we were heckled by Liberal Democrat councillors.
After the results were announced later that night, the leader of the Worthing Conservative party, Keith Mercer, made his speech during which he thanked us (the students) for our help throughout the day. We were shocked when members of the Liberal Democrat party jeered and mocked us openly.
As 17 year olds wishing to experience local politics, we were disgusted by the patronising and childish remarks uttered by grown men (and women) who quite frankly should know better.
The media often report that young people are more and more disenfranchised with politics, but who can blame us? As we stated previously, we do not hold any political bias, however, what we witnessed the other day has not encouraged us to consider the Liberal Democrats as a modern and forward-thinking party capable of representing the views of young people today - or is that just in Worthing?
It is a bit of a worry to think that these people who are in charge of the council behave worse than children in a playground.
Full list of results
Key: C = Conservative, L = Labour, LD = Liberal Democrats, G = Green, UKIP = UK Independence Party (* denotes sitting councillor).
Gary Riding (LD): 941
Kevin Skepper* (C): 1062
John Turley (L): 136
Turnout: 33 per cent
Bill Capper (C): 944
Chris Chatfield (UKIP): 204
David Potter (LD): 952
Robin Rogers* (LD): 1025
Julian Warwick (G): 251
Ruth White (C): 924
Turnout: 35.5 per cent
Janet Goldsbrough-Jones (LD): 630
James Pearson (G): 263
Clive Roberts* (C): 874
Tony Smith (L): 180
Christopher Woodward (UKIP): 99
Turnout: 31.5 per cent
Tori Finney (L): 168
Marie Hillcoat (G): 193
Andrew Muggeridge (LD): 844
Bryan Turner* (C): 1085
Turnout: 35 per cent
Richard Bater (UKIP): 323
Janet Haden (L): 165
Merlin Jones (LD): 410
Ann Sayers (C): 1817
Dawn Smith (Stop Durrington's Over-
development – Save Titnore's Trees): 174
Turnout: 43 per cent
Derek Colkett (G): 248
Stuart Field (UKIP): 173
Alan Jones (LD): 446
John Livermore* (C): 1003
Turnout: 31 per cent
Sam Colkett (G): 201
Keith Mercer* (C): 1511
Phil Ruddock (UKIP): 171
Barrie Slater (L): 155
Susan Withnell (LD): 344
Turnout: 36.7 per cent
Graham Fabes* (C): 1845
Norah Fisher (LD): 425
Hazel Rennie (L): 121
Turnout: 39 per cent
Noel Atkins* (C): 1130
Ron Brooks (UKIP): 364
Michael Cranefield (LD): 603
Turnout: 35 per cent
James Doyle* (LD): 950
Roger Oakley (C): 962
Ann Saunders (L): 216
Turnout: 36 per cent
Martin McGinlay (UKIP): 144
John Rose (C): 632
Hazel Thorpe* (LD): 1259
Sid Wells (L): 125
Turnout: 33.8 per cent
Overall turnout: 35.41 per cent