Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Nimmo Smith loses county council seat after 12 years

First results in county council elections

CONSERVATIVE David Nimmo Smith lost his seat on Oxfordshire County Council after 12 years after being beaten by Stefan Gawrysiak, of Henley Residents' Group, by 385 votes.

Councillor Gawrysiak polled 1,747 votes, compared to Councillor Nimmo Smith's 1,362.

Liberal Democrat candidate David Thomas got 250 votes, Labour's Jackie Walker 166, and the Green party's Elisabeth Geake 133.

It means a clean sweep for Henley Residents' Group following its double by-election victory on the town council in the early hours of this morning (Friday).

Cllr Gawrysiak, who is also a town and district councillor, told the Henley Standard: "We fought a long, honourable campaign for the town and county council seats and I'm really pleased that the residents of Henley have put their trust in me.

"I think this shows that the residents trust HRG to get things done.

"David has held the seat for a long time but there was always a chance, with HRG, of getting a result.

"I'm going to enjoy the moment then I will come out with a plan very shortly."

Councillor Nimmo Smith, who also loses his post as the county council's cabinet for the environment, a role he held for four years, is still a member of South Oxfordshire District Council and Henley Town Council.

He said: "I'm deeply disappointed. I've worked my socks off for Henley for 12 years and I'm disappointed that the electorate didn't think I was able to deliver."

In other areas Independent Mark Gray retained his seat in the Benson and Cholsey division.

He got 1,645 votes, beating Conservative Caroline Newton with 1,077, Labour’s Jim Merritt with 313 and Liberal Democrat Adrian Cull with 277.

Cllr Gray, who lives in Cholsey and is chairman of its parish council, said he was delighted with his win adding: “I knew I worked hard and that’s all you can do – work for your constituency.

“I’ve been really pleased to be involved with things like what we’ve able to do with children’s centres.

“For Benson we have got to get a bypass sorted and I think there’s a lot of work to be done there. It’s not just going to fall into our laps.”

The village is facing the prospect of almost 1,100 new homes with planning applications which have already been approved or are pending, while its draft neighbourhood plan has allocated sites for about 365 properties.

Mrs Newton, from Britwell Salome, was attempting to make a return to the county council after a break of more than three years.

She was first elected to the authority in a by-election in April 2012 but resigned from her Watlington and Chalgrove seat in February 2014 as she was moving to Milan.

She returned to Britain last summer.

Conservative Steve Harrod retained his Watlington and Chalgrove seat with 1,884 votes, beating Lib Dem Sue Cooper who got 1,224 votes, Labour's P'nina Drye with 225 and the Green party's Robert Paynter with 153.

Councillor Harrod told the Henley Standard: "I'm obviously pleased and I'm looking forward to continuing to represent the residents of the division as best I can."

Mrs Cooper added: "I'm disappointed, but it wasn't unexpected. I tried and I put up a very good fight."

In the Goring division, Councillor Kevin Bulmer, a Conservative, kept his seat easily, winning 1,918 votes. 

Lib Dem candidate Laura Coyle got 601 votes, Labour's Dave Bowen 393, and the Green's Jim Dowling 389.

Cllr Bulmer said: "I'm pleased with that. It's a very good result and a good turnout for a county election."

In Sonning Common Conservative councillor David Bartholomew won comfortably gaining 1,930 votes. Liberal Democrat candidate Lucio Fumi won 442 votes and Labour's Veronica Treacher 363.

Cllr Bartholomew said: "I'm very pleased to be re-elected. Thank you to all the people who supported me and I'm looking forward to another four years of representing the parishes."

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