The Green Party has added to its ranks at Norfolk County Council after taking a division from the Conservatives at a by-election.

Prof Catherine Rowett, an ex-MEP for the East of England, won the West Depwade division for the Greens after Thursday's (July 13) by-election.

She took 663 votes, beating Conservative candidate - former Wymondham mayor Tony Holden, into second place with 582.

It was a battle of the Spratts for third spot, with Liberal Democrat Ian Spratt, who represents Mulbartion and Stoke Holy Cross, taking 409 votes.

That was four more than former Conservative county councillor Bev Spratt, who was running as an independent in the division he once represented.

Labour's Pam Reekie garnered 228 votes.

Prof Rowett's victory was announced at the count on Friday (July 14), which took place at the Horizon Centre in Broadland Business Park, which South Norfolk Council shares with Broadland District Council as its headquarters.

Turnout was 24.78pc.

The West Depwade division includes villages such as Talconeston, Bunwell, Great Moulton, Ashwellthorpe and Burston.

Prof Rowett said: "South Norfolk is eager for change and I am looking forward to increasing challenge and scrutiny on Norfolk County Council. 

"Thanks to everyone that voted for me and I look forward to representing all residents in the area on Norfolk County Council."

It means the Green group at Norfolk County Council has grown to four members, while the Conservatives are down from 54 to 53.

Ben Price, leader of the Green group, said: "This excellent result for the Green Party is representative of our continued growth in both rural and urban communities up and down the county.

"Catherine's knowledge as a former MEP is a tremendous benefit to the people of West Depwade and the county council."

The political make-up at Tory-controlled County Hall is now Conservatives 54, Labour 12, Liberal Democrats 10, four Greens, two independents and one non-aligned independent.

It follows Green success in regional local elections in May.

Those saw the party take control of Mid-Suffolk Council, form a coalition with the Lib Dems to run East Suffolk Council and take a role along with Labour and the Lib Dems in running Broadland District Council.

Eastern Daily Press: Norfolk County Council's County Hall headquarters in NorwichNorfolk County Council's County Hall headquarters in Norwich (Image: Mike Page)

The by-election was called after the death of Conservative councillor Barry Duffin, who had represented West Depwade since 2021.

Mr Duffin, 74, died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in April, following a fall at his home.

Eastern Daily Press: Barry DuffinBarry Duffin (Image: Newsquest)

Another by-election - for the Freebridge Lynn division in King's Lynn - will take place on Thursday, August 3.

That by-election was called after the death of Conservative county councillor Nick Daubney.