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Bolton Local Elections: Labour Hurt By Hulton Park Planning Row As Their Majority Is Cut

Friday, May 4th, 2018 6:04am

By Nick Statham - Local Democracy Reporter

Maureen Flitcroft and Julie Pattison of Farnworth and Kearsley First celebrate with party activists

Labour clung to power in Bolton despite losing seats in some of the borough’s key “battleground wards”.

A difficult night for the ruling party saw the Conservatives make gains in Breightmet and Horwich and Blackrod, while the Liberal Democrats took Westhoughton South.

Farnworth and Kearsley First also gained in the Farnworth and Kearsley wards at Labour’s expense.

Bright spots for Labour were few and far between but David Evans’ victory over Paul Richardson saw the party make a gain in Little Lever and Darcy Lever, while Hamid Khurram was able to fend off Farnworth and Kearsley First’s Lisa Weatherby in Harper Green.

Labour held on to their strongholds in Halliwell, Crompton, Great Lever, Horwich North East, and Tonge with The Haulgh – Environment chief Nick Peel’s ward.
Likewise the Tories held firm in Bradshaw, Astley Bridge, Heaton and Lostock, Hulton and Westhoughton North and Chew Moor.

And it was the same for Bromley Cross, where they scored a double victory, including the election of 24-year-old Nadim Muslim.

Going into polling day Labour was believed to be under pressure, as political opponents accused town hall chiefs of neglecting satellite towns such as Farnworth and Westhoughton.

The decision by mainly Labour councillors to approve planning permission for a Ryder Cup golf course at Hulton Park was thought to have left them vulnerable in the west of the borough.

And so it proved, with their first loss of the night coming in Westhoughton South, at the hands of Lib Dem David Wilkinson.

Cllr Wilkinson, who is returning as a borough councillor, said his victory had been down to a “combination of a lot of things” including “a lot of disgruntlement with the Labour run council and the Hulton decision – when a decision was made to build a fantasy golf course and 1,000 houses.”

The Lib Dems also took the vacant seat in Smithills through Doug Bagnall, bringing their total number of councillors to three.

But perhaps the biggest shock of the night was Farnworth and Kearsley First winning two seats at Labour’s expense.

The fledgling party now has three seats on the council following Paul Sanders’ by-election victory in March.

Maureen Flitcroft defeated Martin McMulkin in Farnworth while Julie Pattison made a gain at Stephen Langley’s expense in Kearsley.

Cllr Flitcroft said there was a “general dissatisfaction” in Farnworth, adding: “People are just fed up, they just want change, they’ve had enough.”

And Cllr Pattison said the support of the people of Kearsley was behind her victory.

She continued: “Without them I would not be sitting here, they all obviously feel the same and feel it’s time for change. We’ve seen the town get run down and not.”

A further blow to Labour came in Breightmet, where Adele Warren took the seat, for whom Francesca Platt was the defending candidate.

Cllr Warren said: “I’ve just been campaigning really hard if I’m honest. I’ve spent the last six weeks speaking to as many people as I can. Leverhulme Park is a big issue for a lot of people, but there are lots of things that people brought up on the doorstep.”

There was also ballot-box joy for the Tories in Horwich and Blackrod, where Susan Baines gained the seat from Labour.

Cllr Baines said she had met as many people as possible in Blackrod and Horwich and “really listened” to what they had to say.

But she added that a “real lack of infrastructure, potholes and anti-social behaviour” were all factors that led to people voting for change.

Despite a disappointing night, Labour’s David Evans, who defeated Paul Richardson to gain Little Lever and Darcy Lever, was in defiant mood.
“It’s disappointing to lose seats, obviously there’s work to to do but we will return. There’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

After the election the make up of the council is: Labour 31, Conservative 19 , Lib Dem 3, Farnworth & Kearsley First 3, UKIP 3, Other 1.

Turnout was 36.54 per cent

Results:

Westhoughton South. LIB DEM GAIN
Labour – Ryan Battersby – 899
Conservative – Martin Tighe – 804
Liberal Democrat – David Wilkinson – 1,934 – ELECTED

Horwich & Blackrod CONSERVATIVE GAIN
Conservative – Susan Baines – 1668 – ELECTED
Green – Keith Cocker – 169
Lib Dem – Rebecca Forrest – 231
Labour – Michael Jarvis – 1437

Farnworth – FARNWORTH AND KEARSLEY FIRST GAIN
Lib Dem – David Cooper – 44
FKF – Maureen Flitcroft – 1699 – ELECTED
UKIP – Dave Harvey – 92
Conservative – Jennifer Kirk – 142
Labour – Martin McMulkin – 1177

Halliwell – LABOUR HOLD
Con – Jolyon Coombs – 418
Lib Dem – John Falch – 120
Ind – Anthony Massey – 71
Green – Ian McHugh – 118
Ind – Martin McLoughlin – 114
Ind – Sarfraz Nawaz – 83
Labour – Akhtar Zaman – 2185 – ELECTED

Horwich North East – LABOUR HOLD
Con – Joan Johnson – 887
Labour – Kevin McKeon – 1345 – ELECTED
Green – Rod Riesco – 213
Lib Dem – Stephen Rock – 1288

Breightmet – CONSERVATIVE GAIN
Lib Dem – Richard Bates – 61
Green – Dan Bolton – 138
UKIP – Harry Lamb – 242
Labour – Francesca Platt – 1278
Con – Adele Warren – 1549 – ELECTED

Hulton – CON HOLD
UKIP – Beverley Fletcher – 215
Labour – Rabiya Jiva – 1451
Lib Dem – Kevin Mulligan – 68
Con – Diane Parkinson – 1858 – ELECTED
Green – Chris Taylor – 107

Smithills – LIB DEM GAIN (vacant seat)
Lib Dem – Doug Bagnall – 2031 – ELECTED
Green – Elizabeth McManus – 111
Labour – Ryan Quick – 1260
Con – Sam Rimmer – 752

Bradshaw – CONSERVATIVE HOLD
Con – Mudasir Dean – 1949 – ELECTED
Green – Laura Diggle – 135
Lib Dem – Stephen Howarth – 173
Ind – Eric Hyland – 278
Labour – Tony Shepherd – 880

Little Lever and Darcy Lever – LABOUR GAIN
Lab – David Evans – 1249 – ELECTED
Lib Dem – Christine Macpherson – 159
Con – David Meehan – 1000
UKIP – Paul Richardson – 926

Heaton and Lostock – CONSERVATIVE HOLD
Con – Anne Galloway – 3000 – ELECTED
Labour – John Gillatt – 1247
Lib Dem – Garry Veevers – 269

Astley Bridge – CONSERVATIVE HOLD
Lib Dem – Warren Fox – 1564
Lab – Zulfi Jiva – 930
Con – John Walsh – 1842 – ELECTED

Westhoughton North and Chew Moor – CONSERVATIVE HOLD
Lab – Ged Carter – 784
Con – Martyn Cox – 1831 – ELECTED
Lib Dem – Bernadette Eckersley-Fallon – 1386
Green – Heather Rylance – 61
Ind – Jack Speight – 238

Great Lever – LABOUR HOLD
Lab – Mohammed Ayub – 2422 – ELECTED
Green – David Figgins – 232
Lib Dem – Francine Godfrey – 143
Con – Mohammed Waqas – 389

Tonge with The Haulgh – LABOUR HOLD
Lib Dem – Rosalind Hawasiwka – 113
Con – Matthew Littler – 928
Lab – Nick Peel – 1379 – ELECTED
Green – James Tomkinson – 82
UKIP – Derek Wunderley – 232

Harper Green – LABOUR HOLD
Green – Matthew Barnes – 63
Labour – Hamid Khurram – 1910 – ELECTED
Con – Robert Tyler – 477
Lib Dem – Kevin Walsh – 62
FKF – Lisa Weatherby – 897
UKIP – Amy Wunderley – 157

Crompton – LABOUR HOLD
Lab – Bilkis Ismail – 2258 – ELECTED
Lib Dem – Michael Langdon – 252
Ind – Siraj Patel – 706
Con – Daniel Wheatley – 737

Kearsley – FARNWORTH AND KEARSLEY FIRST GAIN
Con – Kamaran Fathulla – 290
Lib Dem – Connor Goodwin – 131
Lab – Stephen Langley 882
FKF – Julie Pattison – 1864 – ELECTED
UKIP – Wilf Pilkington – 399

Rumworth – LABOUR HOLD
Con – Hafiz Butt – 379
Labour – Ismail Ibrahim – 2570 – ELECTED
Green – Alan Johnson – 251
Lib Dem – Duncan Macpherson – 85
Ind – Damien Walsh – 111

Bromley Cross (two seats) 2 X CONSERVATIVE HOLD

Lib Dem – Elliott Bermudez-Galton – 303
Con – David Greenhalgh – 2928 – ELECTED
Con – Nadim Muslim – 2257 – ELECTED
Green – Liz Spencer – 374
Lab – Steve Sutton – 1023
Lib Dem – David Walsh – 196
Lab – Deb Whenlock – 910

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