Power balance stays the same

IT'S no-change at Wealden District Council, where last week's elections resulted in the Conservative group remaining in overall control.

The election saw 34 Conservatives elected to the Council which comprises 55 councillors in 35 wards.

A total of 15 Liberal Democrats were elected and six Independents giving the Conservative group a 13-seat majority and leaving the Council in pretty much the same shape it was in before May 1.

But a spokeswoman said it's hard to compare like with like; the former authority has seen several ward changes carried out in order to ensure each ward contains roughly the same number of voters.

For the first time the results of District Council elections were published on the Wealden District Council website as they were announced on the night.

Although voters appeared to opt for the status quo as far as their methods of obtaining election information is concerned May 2003 saw a fundamental shift in method.

District spokeswoman Petra Dalton explained more and more people opted to use the Internet with 242 logging on at 11.30pm on the night of the election followed by 1,626 on the second day.

She said there was also an increase in the number of people choosing to use a postal vote although only between 40-50 per cent of those sent voting forms used them.

The turnout in Wealden was 35 per cent – an uplift on the percentage four years ago.

Chief executive and returning officer Charles Lant said: 'It was pleasing to see that more people came out to vote than in the last District Council elections.

'We are looking forward to welcoming new councillors and those who have been re-elected.

'The new chairman and vice-chairman of the Council and committee membership will be voted in at the full council meeting on May 21.'

l Reports and results

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