Just one change in Broadland in Norfolk County Council elections

Count for Broadland at Costessey. Shelagh Gurney retains her Hellesdon seat.Photo: Bill Smith

Count for Broadland at Costessey. Shelagh Gurney retains her Hellesdon seat.Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

Broadland proved considerably less dramatic than elsewhere in the county with just one change in its 13 county council divisions.

Only Daniel Roper managed to gain a seat for the Liberal Democrats with the rest remaining with the sitting party.

The Conservatives now have 10 seats in the area, having lost one, against the Lib Dems' three.

But many of the councillors admitted they had been prepared for a few shocks.

Wroxham had appeared to be one of the most vulnerable seats going into the count with former Great Yarmouth councillor Tom Garrod moving across to fight for the space left vacant by James Carswell.

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In the end it was a relatively comfortable victory with 908 votes against independent candidate Stephen Heard's 550.

Mr Garrod said: 'I'm ecstatic. I worked really hard. I talked to people. I set out what my ambition was for the area and Norfolk as a whole and I won it fair and square.'

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Shelagh Gurney had seen two of her fellow cabinet members lose their seats in Great Yarmouth before her result came in.

She won with a majority of just under 300 votes ahead of UKIP contender Michael Walsh. She said: 'I'm delighted with the result, to be quite honest. The Conservatives are facing a very, very tough time nationally. I'm honoured to think the people of Hellesdon still have that faith in me to do the job.'

Lib Dem James Joyce held his seat in Reepham and admitted to feeling relieved when the result was announced.

He said UKIP had taken votes from both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems as part of the protest vote which his party used to benefit from.

He said: 'I was expecting it to be extremely tight. I'm just glad we got in. I'm very grateful to the people of the division.'

Once all the results were declared, UKIP agent John Woodhead admitted he was disappointed the party's candidates had not won any seats but insisted they had made significant in-roads in the district.

Mr Woodhead also claimed Mr Roper's victory for the Lib Dems in Hevingham and Spixworth had been down to his party. 'We were accused by the Conservatives of taking votes from them and letting others in. That's what happened here. We can be either credited or blamed for that one,' he said.

But Mr Roper, who was already a district councillor for the area, insisted it was down to his existing reputation in the division.

He said: 'I think it's clear where the Lib Dems are well established and working hard for the community, the electorate are rewarding them.'

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