THERE has been no major political shift after local elections in Weymouth and Portland despite some close battles fought for seats.
But some familiar faces have rejoined the council after a break of several years.
The Conservatives continue to have the most seats after losing one and gaining one but it is not enough to take overall control of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.
The election results mean there are now 18 Conservative councillors, 11 Liberal Democrats, five Labour and two Independents after the count at the Pavilion.
The Tories previously had an overall majority but that changed earlier this year when Labour’s Kate Wheller won the Wyke Regis seat in a by-election following the death of popular councillor Doug Hollings.
Ian Munro-Price won the Tophill West seat for the Conservatives, a position previously held by Independent Steven Flew who stood down before the elections. Councillor Munro-Price admitted he was ‘very nervous’ but also ‘very pleased’ to have won.
However Conservatives then lost the Melcombe Regis seat when Ray Banham took it for the Lib Dems. The seat was previously held by Grant Leighton, who had stood down before the elections.
The result means Councillor Banham is back in local politics after a five-year break.
He said: “I served for 10 years previously so it’s good to be back. I’m now in a position where I can dedicate myself fully to the role.
“I have now retired so I can give the people of Melcombe Regis what they truly deserve and that is a full time hard working councillor.”
Conservative David Price, who was 145 votes behind, said he always expected it to be close. He said: “I’m the new kid on the block and I was trying to bring a younger age into politics but that is obviously not what they want at the moment. I’m going to keep trying.”
New councillors Dominic Lonsdale and Kevin Hodder held seats for the Conservatives – Coun Lonsdale in Weymouth West and Coun Hodder in Wey Valley. They replaced Peter O’Neil and Alison Reed respectively..
Independent Margaret Leicester held on to her seat for Tophill East along with Tory Ian James for Westham East – but only by a handful of votes.
Coun Leicester gained 657 votes – just five more than her Tory opponent Richard Paisley.
Campaigner Firoz Kanji came close to winning a seat for Lib Dems and taking the seat from Ian James.
Coun James, who switched from the Lib Dems in 2008 said: “This is the first time I have been elected as a Conservative so I’m absolutely delighted with the result.”
His wife, Lib Dem Christine James, also held her seat in Westham North.