EXPERIENCED councillor Daryl Turner beat his sister Cheryl Reynolds in a hotly contested election to win the Lyme Regis and Charmouth seat on the new Dorset Council.
The result was announced shortly before 5pm this afternoon with Mr Turner polling 756 votes compared with Mrs Reynolds’ 571 in a 44.9% turnout – one of the biggest in Dorset.
Green candidate Rob Green polled 317 votes with Labour candidate Rikey Austin, a former Lyme Regis town councillor, receiving 239 votes.
Mr Turner, a former Army Officer, served on West Dorset District Council and Dorset County Council with an important chairmanship on each authority and was considered to be one of the most influential councillors in Dorset.
Mrs Reynolds, who also serves on Lyme Regis Town Council, was a member of West Dorset District Council. She fought her campaign as an Independent on a “people before politics” slogan.
She was one of the 16 candidates standing for the 14 seats on Lyme Regis Town Council and won a place with 690 votes.
Conservatives ended up as the first ruling party of the new council with 43 seats, with the Liberal Democrats winning 29, the Greens and Independent having four seats each and Labour winning two.
Out of the 82 seats, 25 were taken by new councillors – meaning they were not members of the Shadow Dorset Council, set up to oversee the change from district and county councils to unitary – and 57 seats have been taken by members who have previously served as a councillor in Dorset.
There are 27 women on the new council and 55 men, meaning women make up 33% of the new council.
Following the election, Councillor Spencer Flower was declared new leader of the Conservative group and is therefore expected to be elected first leader of Dorset Council at the annual council meeting on May 16.
Cllr Flower, who represents Verwood, said: “I am delighted to have been given the support of colleagues in what will be a very demanding role.”
Cllr Peter Wharf, who represents West Purbeck, has been elected deputy group leader.
After dominating local politics since local government reorganisation in 1974, the Tories lost control of East Devon with Independents and the East Devon Alliance winning the majority of the 57 seats on offer at the district council.
The Independents even won both seats in Sidmouth, a bastion of Conservatism for years.