CONSERVATIVES in Chorley took their first steps towards recovery as two thirds of the borough's voters stayed at home.

A dismal turnout of under 33 per cent in Chorley mirrored the national picture as the political parties shared the spoils locally.

The ruling Labour group still has a stranglehold on the town hall but lost four seats on the night as the Tories picked up two.

Former conservative county council leader Pat Case made a political comeback in Anderton, while Robert Collinson took Chorley North West.

Pat Case said: "I'm delighted to be elected and believe a local representative for Anderton is what's needed.

"It was a good night for Conservative morale in Chorley and we're looking forward to ensuring the Labour group has a good, strong opposition."

Labour's greatest success on the night came in Clayton West and Cuerden, where Ann Bland defeated sitting Liberal Democrat Gail Ormston to join husband David at the town hall.

Ann said: "We put a lot of hard work into the election and I'm absolutely delighted. David is an excellent councillor and I'm sure we can team up to help the people of Clayton-le-Woods. I'd like to thank everyone who voted for me and they can be sure I'll work hard."

In Adlington, Cath Hoyle took one of two seats up for grabs to follow in husband Lindsay's footsteps. She said: "I'm looking forward to representing the people of Adlington who have been served so well by Edna Shone over the past 26 years.

"I'm very much my own person, but I know I'll have Lindsay's experience to help me, which is an advantage."

Another new husband and wife team will be Joyce and Ralph Snape, after Joyce caused the shock of the night by ousting community services chair Terry Brown in Chorley West. Joyce, who now has one of the biggest majorities on the council, said: "We tried to canvass every house in the ward and we were confident I would do it, but to get a majority like this is absolutely astounding.

"I'm looking forward to teaming up with Ralph and I'll try to justify the faith people have put in me."

It was a mixed night for the Liberal Democrats, who lost Clayton West and saw Simon Jones' majority slashed in Clayton East. But there was success in Coppull North where Stella Walsh won the seat vacated by Labour's Margaret Lees.

Stella said: "We thought we stood a good chance and I'm thrilled to be on the borough council after seven years on Coppull parish council.

"This has been a Labour seat since time began and I think we won it because we stuck to local and community issues."

The new make up of the council is Labour 36 seats, Lib Dems 6, Conservatives 6, Independents 2 and Independent Labour 1.

Labour leader John Wilson said: "The share of the vote matched the national picture, which shows voters have confidence in the Labour Party. We will respond with the progressive policies we have shown over the past few years."

He added: "I'm very disappointed Terry Brown lost his seat. He was an excellent member of the Labour group and I am sure he will find his way back in a seat in the near future." Results in full: Adlington (two seats): Catherine Hoyle (Lab) 828, June Molyneaux (Lab) 778, Suzan Jane Christopher (Con) 331, Robert Edward Tyler (Con) 225, Philip William Pilling (LD) 186. Anderton, Heath Charnock and Rivington: Mary Patricia Case (Con) 452, Michael Davies (Lab) 432, David Porter (LD) 49, Matthew Hector Sims (Green) 38. Anglezarke, Heapey and Wheelton (Con): Marie Elizabeth Gray (Con) 267, Janet Ross-Mills (LD) 216, Michael James Downes (Lab) 105. Chorley East: Melville George Coombes (Lab) 548, Erik Karl Baxendale (Con) 171. Chorley North East: Dennis Edgerley (Lab) 611, Colin Nelson Goldsby (Con) 276. Chorley North West: Robert John Collinson (Con) 927, Laura Jane Lennox (Lab) 710, Linda Norman (LD) 229. Chorley South East: Margaret May Lees (Lab) 757, Patricia Mary Haughton (Con) 587. Chorley South West: John Gerald Wilson (Lab) 738, Peter Malpas (Con) 292, Mavis Porter (LD) 88. Chorley West: Joyce Snape (Ind) 1,407, Terence Brown (Lab) 430, Rosalie Margaret Goldsby (Con) 88. Clayton-le-Woods East: Simon Nicholas Jones (LD) 638, Alan Cullens (Ind) 558, Edward Anthony Murphy (Lab) 391. Clayton-le-Woods West and Cuerden: Ann Bland (Lab) 527, John Philip Walker (Con) 419, Gail Patricia Ormston (LD) 361. Coppull North: Stella Marie Walsh (LD) 583, John Michael Murphy (Lab) 379, Christopher Allan Perry (Con) 39. Coppull South: Kenneth William Ball (LD) 716, Charles Edward Vaughan (Lab) 299, Allan MacDonald (Con) 69. Eccleston and Heskin: Alan Whittaker (Lab) 1,255, Joan Constance Lucas (Con) 434. Euxton North: Daniel Peter Gee (Lab) 618, Peter Goldsworthy (Con) 310, Pauline Anne Sharp (LD) 57. Mawdesley: Francis Culshaw (Con) 368, Monica Mary Woodroffe (Lab) 143. Whittle-le-Woods: Eric James Bell (Con) 735, William George Bailey (Lab) 171, Stephen John Penn (LD) 78.

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