Labour claims Lancing by-election victory

Lee Cowen
Lee Cowen

By-election victory for Labour last night saw the party gain its first district councillor in Lancing for 18 years.

Lee Cowen secured Mash Barn ward with 490 votes ahead of Conservative candidate Jack Howard, who gained 384 votes.

UKIP, which held the seat before David Lambourne’s resignation, did not field a candidate.

Mr Cowen, also a Lancing parish councillor, said: “Thank you to everyone who came out to vote for me in Mash Barn, thanks to my Labour team and mostly thanks to my wife and kids who haven’t seen too much of me during the past month.

“I’ll work tirelessly to ensure that residents’ views on the New Monks Farm development are heard, and there will be no rubber-stamping of the development. Additionally, Lancing has not had the same investment as other areas in Adur and I’ll seek to address that. I intend to put Lancing first.”

Campaigning often focused on the New Monks Farm proposals for 600 homes and an IKEA, with the development within the ward boundary.

It also attracted national attention, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn joining Mr Cowen on the campaign trail.

Commenting on the result, Adur District Council leader Neil Parkin said: “We are disappointed we didn’t win but we got the best Tory result in the ward since 2010, which was a general election year.

“A lot of hard work went into getting out there and seeing the people. The disappointing thing was the other parties decided the only way to give us a slap was voting Labour as the Lib Dem vote totally collapsed.”

The by-election saw no change in overall control of the council, with the Tories controlling 16 seats to UKIP’s six in opposition.

Labour now has four councillors, with three Independents completing the make up.

Mash Barn now has one Labour and one UKIP councillor.

Mr Cowen has lived in Lancing for seven years. He lives in Greet Road with his wife and seven-year-old twins. He works as a video games programmer and fantasy football pundit.

Full result:

Lee Cowen, Lab: 490

Paul Hendy, Green: 31

Jack Howard, Con: 384

Doris Martin, Lib: 89

Turnout: 29 per cent

Rejected/Invalid ballot papers: one