EDDC elections: It's Independents day in Sidmouth
PUBLISHED: 17:59 08 May 2015 | UPDATED: 16:46 10 May 2015
Candidates also celebrate in Ottery St Mary and Newton Poppleford
Voters in Sidmouth have given Independent candidates their seal of approval - and in doing so sensationally shifted the long-standing grip Conservatives have had on the valley’s seven district council seats.
This year’s local elections were the first in the history of East Devon District Council (EDDC) to see an Independent challenge made for each of the parish’s representative posts.
And today’s results have seen six Tories ousted - with only the long-serving Stuart Hughes, a member since 1991, surviving.
The Sidmouth Town Ward saw a clean-sweep, with the East Devon Alliance’s (EDA) Matt Booth and Cathy Gardner - and Independent John Dyson - claim victory over a trio of Conservatives.
Frances Newth had sat on the district council for a decade, while Peter Sullivan and Sheila Kerridge lost their seats after a single term.
Independent David Barratt is the new representative for the Sidmouth Rural Ward - taking the seat of Conservative Christine Drew, who had served as a town and district councillor for 14 years.
In the Sidmouth/Sidford Ward, Graham Troman - a councillor since 2007 - lost his seat as another two members of the EDA, Dawn Manley and Marianne Rixson, celebreated success. Mr Hughes gained the most votes in the ward and retained his seat.
Independent candidates also caught the imaginations of voters in Newton Poppleford and Ottery St Mary - taking four of the five seats up for grabs.
The EDA’s Val Ranger is the new member for Newton Poppleford and Harpford.
Conservative Paul Carter landed a seat in the Ottery Rural Ward, which he will represent alongside fellow newcomer Matt Coppell of the EDA.
Independent Roger Giles will continue his many years of service in the Ottery St Mary Town Ward. Peter Faithful - also an Independent - will join him.