THE VOTES are in and a range of new councillors are set to represent wards in the area on Stroud District Council.
The Labour Party secured the biggest gain, earning three more seats on the council after voting took place on Thursday, May 22 for 18 of the 51 seats available at Ebley Mill.
While they now hold 20 seats on the council, they are likely to form another rainbow alliance with the Green party and the Liberal Democrats as they still do not have a majority.
While the Conservatives only gained one extra seat, they will be buoyed by the fact that their share of the vote was the highest of any party, which will be encouraging with a General Election due next year.
The Conservatives scored one of the biggest swings of the election campaign after taking long-time Liberal Democrat stronghold Wotton-under-Edge.
The Liberal Democrats were the big losers on Friday when the count took place as they lost three seats after only fielding a handful of candidates for the election.
The Greens will also assuredly be pleased after gaining two seats, bringing their total number of councillors to six.
Leader of Stroud District Council, Cllr Geoff Wheeler (Dursley, Lab) said he was “very satisfied” with his party’s gains.
“We will now discuss with the other groups about what to do in the coming year,” he said.
“We will speak to our partners in the last two years and see if we can come to some sort of arrangement.
“We would like to carry it on as it has in the last two years.”
Conservative group leader Cllr Keith Pearson was also pleased with his party’s efforts, which earned them a net gain of one seat.
“When you party is in government you are always on the defence,” he said.
“We were disappointed not to pick up a couple of seats in Cam and Dursley but I think we did very well.”
He suggested that they may have lost out on those seats because of the influence of UKIP standing for the first time.
Mr Pearson added that, while he was happy and prepared to talk to other parties about forming an administration, he did not believe that was an option for other parties.
Liberal Democrat party leader at SDC, Cllr Paul Hemming (Lib Dem, Kingswood) said the party was struggling to find candidates for wards and pointed to the party’s national standing as a potential reason for their own decline.
“I think all the parties have struggled to find people and personally I do not see the point in having a ‘paper candidate’ who will get destroyed in the vote,” he said.
“I do not think (the national party’s record) helps our case that much which is sad because there’s a lot of good people doing a lot of good work in this party.”
In the district, the Green vote share was 18.5% of the total votes and came second in five contested wards.
Cllr Simon Pickering (Green, Slade) said the party would enter negotiations with Labour to keep co-operating with them.
“I think the basic point is at district level we did very well,” he said.
“We had three target seats and we won two of them. We’ve never held Stroud central and we came very close in the Coaley and Uley seat.
“We feel we didn’t lose out to UKIP and actually increased our position.”