JUST IN - Tories tighten grip on district council control
STROUD is a little bluer after the Conservatives boosted their control of the district council by two seats in today's local elections.
When all the results had been announced at 2 o'clock, the party had a new majority of 11 seats.
The Tory gains in Stroud mirror the national trend - which has so far seen the number of Tory councillors rise by 579 after completed counts in 229 of 312 councils.
Swings were recorded in six of the 19 contested wards, including:
*Cainscross - Labour gain from Conservative.
*Cam East - Conservative gain from Labour.
*Dursley - Conservative gain from Liberal Democrat.
*Farmhill and Paganhill - Conservative gain from Independent candidate.
*Rodborough - Liberal Democrat gain from Conservative.
*Upton St Leonards - Conservative gain from Liberal Democrat.
The biggest shock of the day however came at the expense of Conservative cabinet member for the environment Nigel Cooper, who narrowly lost his Rodborough seat by five votes to Liberal Democrat candidate, Christine Headley.
Mrs Headley, who has previously been a councillor in Lambeth and Sutton in the 1980s and 1990s, said: "I am delighted. The party has been campaigning over a number of months, fighting strongly on local issues and the people have responded."
Mr Cooper said: "I am disappointed. I knew they were hard after me and I didn't take anything for granted."
He added that he felt confident the Conservatives would push on with the work he had done on the council's environment policy - the first in the county.
In Nailsworth, the blushes of John Jeffreys, Conservative cabinet member for housing, were spared when he narrowly defeated Green hopeful Chris Harmer by just 12 votes.
Elsewhere, the Green party held on to all four of their contested seats and came close to gaining new councillors in two other wards.
Jubilant Labour candidate Mark Rees expressed his delight at being elected in Cainscross.
He thanked everyone who voted for him, and added: "I want to say a big thanks to all the party members."
And despite an overall loss of one seat, the Liberal Democrats remained upbeat.
Liberal Democrat leader Dennis Andrewartha (Cam West) said: "We will still have a strong showing at Stroud District Council."