COUNCIL ELECTION: Conservatives now largest party on St Albans council

THE Conservatives are now the largest party on St Albans District Council following yesterday’s poll in which one third of councillors were up for election.

They gained five seats from the Lib Dems, meaning they now have 29 seats compared to 24 Liberal Democrats and three Labour.

Green Party candidate Simon Grover won the first district council seat for his party in St Peter’s Ward, where there was a by-election – coming second to Conservative Alec Campbell in a ward where there were two vacancies.

Independent councillor Tony Swendell in Redbourn, who was not up for election, makes up the 58 members of the council.

As leader of the new largest party, Cllr Julian Daly said he needed to “chew over” whether or not the Conservatives would run the council with a minority administration.

He went on: “We need to talk to the Lib Dems, Labour, Green and Independent. But if we are going to take on issues like Westminster Lodge and the Maltings Arts Centre we are going to need a strong mandate.”

Former council leader Cllr Robert Donald admitted he was disappointed by the result and said he felt his administration had done “a pretty good job for residents”.

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While he said the message on the doorsteps had been pretty positive, it was clear that the national picture, which saw the Lib Dems losing a lot of seats across the country, had influenced voters locally.

He added: “There have been worse results for us locally and we have come back, and we will come back from this situation. We fought a positive campaign and the mood music will change nationally.”