THE GAP between Labour and the Conservatives narrowed on Stroud District Council after a bad day at the polls for the Liberal Democrats.
Labour, which looks set to continue controlling the council in alliance with smaller parties, grabbed two Liberal Democrat seats and a Tory ward, while another already-vacated Lib Dem seat went to the Tories.
Conservative representation rose by one to 22, Labour upped their share from 17 to 20 seats, the Greens picked up one to go to six councillors, and the Lib Dems lost three.
Labour council leader Geoff Wheeler, who saw Dursley Labour comrade Colin Fryer oust Lib Dem Brian Marsh, said he would be in talks with the Lib Dems and Greens over continuing an alliance to run the council.
“We have taken two from the Liberal Democrats with whom we had an arrangement last year and we will be looking for an agreement with the minor parties,” he said after Friday’s count at Stratford Park Leisure Centre.
“I hope we will be able to continue to move forward with the successful programme that we have had for the past two years.
“The Greens have six and are the larger of the two parties and I need to discuss with them and the Liberal Democrats how they fit in to the new administration.”
He added that a swing towards Labour boded well for former Labour MP David Drew, who will fight to regain the Stroud Parliamentary seat from Conservative Neil Carmichael next year.
Labour made a key breakthrough in Nailsworth, which has been largely Conservative for many years. Former town mayor Steve Robinson edged out incumbent district councillor Rowland Blackwell.
The youngest member of the council is sixth generation Bisley farmer, Royal Agricultural University graduate and former Thomas Keble School pupil Tim Williams, who at 20, held Bisley for the Conservatives.
And despite a broken leg suffered while out campaigning two weeks ago, Tory Lesley Reeves took a Lib Dem seat in Wotton-under-Edge after it was left vacant before the election.
Labour were relieved to hold Cam East from the Tories, while they pounced on Cam West - the Lib Dems could not find a candidate for what was retiring council chairman Dennis Andrewartha’s ward.
The Greens were satisfied with a single gain in Central ward which was vacated by Independent Andy Read - who was part of the Green and Independent group until he resigned a few months before the election.
Caroline Molloy, who was probably the first councillor to make her acceptance speech in a pair of wellies, said she joined the Greens for their stance on the economy and privatisation.
The UK Independence Party’s best result was one second place, in Cainscross, one of 10 seats it contested of the 18 up for election.
Technically the Tories have gained a seat in The Stanleys - Nigel Studdert-Kennedy, who was a Tory councillor but not a Tory group member, stood as a Conservative.