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

Dear Editor,

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.

Yours sincerely

Hazel Thorpe, Tarring ward, Robin Rogers and David Potter, Castle ward.



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.

Angela Latham.


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.

Vicky Frayard-Smith

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