Two-vote margin in close call for St Albans councillor

St Albans City and District Council

St Albans City and District Council - Credit: Archant

Recounts were conducted in two wards, but there were no major changes during the local election.

The Conservatives comfortably held on to overall control of St Albans district council in an election night of few surprises.

They gained one seat from Independent in Harpenden North - but that was Conservative until Julie Bell became an Independent late last year and decided not to stand again - and the Lib Dems took a seat from Labour in Ashley ward.

Other than those two changes, all the seats remained in the hands of the party which won them four years ago - one-third of the council is re-elected in three out of every four years.

There were recounts in two wards.

In Sopwell, sitting councillor Janet Smith kept her seat for Labour by only two votes from the Lib Dem candidate Shakir Rahman and in St Peter’s the district’s only Green councillor Simon Grover retained his seat by six votes over Matt Jones for the Lib Dems.

Independent Tony Swendell kept his seat in Redbourn and Labour’s Mal Pakenham comfortably retained his seat in Batchwood.

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The new composition of the council is Conservatives 31, Lib Dems 17, Labour, seven, Green, one, and Independent, two.

After the count, Conservative group leader, Cllr Julian Daly, admitted there had been little change but his party had increased its majority which would ‘give us more room to manoeuvre’.

And Lib Dem group leader, Cllr Chris White, who held his seat in Clarence ward by a large margin, said his party was up and running again and even though the national situation had been against them, hard work had ensured success in St Albans.