‘I’ve got my life back’- ousted EDDC leader

Sara Randall Johnson lost seat in shock result at the polls.

EAST Devon District Council’s (EDDC) outgoing leader of 10 years was ousted in a shock result at the polls.

Sara Randall Johnson missed out on being re-elected by just 25 votes.

The Conservative candidate planned to step down as leader but wanted to continue as a ward member for Ottery St Mary Rural.

“I’ve been targeted as leader,” said Miss Randall Johnson at Knowle last Friday.

“One thing I know in my heart is the future of East Devon is a very bright one. I’m absolutely delighted with the result. After 20 years of public service I’ve got my life back.” A campaigner from West Hill scored a resounding victory in the race to represent Ottery rural. Independent candidate Claire Wright, a leading figure in the Communities Before Developers protest group, netted 1,364 votes.

She said: “I’ll work hard and hopefully can make a difference.”

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Conservative Tony Howard was also elected after bagging 822 votes.

Miss Randall Johnson narrowly missed out with 797 votes.

A huge 62.3per cent of the Ottery Rural Ward, which includes West Hill and Tipton St John, turned out to vote.

In the Ottery St Mary Town Ward, independent Roger Giles scored a landslide victory as David Cox also held on to his seat.

The ruling Conservative Party retained their overall EDDC majority with a total of 43 seats out of the 59 available.

At the end of counting last Friday afternoon (May 6) the composition of EDDC was 43 Conservatives, 10 Liberal Democrats and six independents.

The turnout in voters across East Devon shot up by 20per cent compared to previous years, says the district council.

Last Thursday’s election saw an average turnout of 50per cent, according to the authority.

The Green Party said it attracted more votes than ever.