What a great result – 54 out of 57 seats and returning all of our sitting councillors who were re-standing, with the fantastic addition of new blood – and in new seats!
In Maidenhead we distributed our “A3″ literature everywhere, featuring photographs and action shots of councillors working in their wards, and with candidates where appropriate. We also had professional calling cards, supporting “A4″ literature in target wards, and plenty of polling day material.
Belmont, Boyn Hill and Furze Platt are all safely Conservative after being battleground seats for many years. Many hours of campaigning delivered us success there. In Bray, Cookham, Hurley, Cox Green, Riverside and Oldfield we consolidated our majorities – and saw no sustained opposition (but a bit of Cookham Parish action).
Which leaves Pinkneys Green. We saw early on that the LibDems had circled their wagons around their existing ward seats – importing Clive Baskerville to stand, despite his track record in Belmont. The campaign was hard fought and we continued to get our voters out until way past 9pm in the evening. However, sitting councillor Simon Werner topped the poll a few ahead of Charles Hollingsworth, who won last time, and fellow Conservative Marius Gilmore who had also walked the streets near continuously during the campaign was rewarded with third place. A tie for fourth place but neither Bond, Baskerville or Shez Courtenay-Smith were elected. A great pity for Shez who had worked so hard and dedicatedly throughout since being selected to stand. I hope we will be able to work together in the future.
In Windsor, such a challenge! 13 wards, all different, independent challenges of all sorts, and a mix of defectors, new candidates, folks standing down and changes were afoot!
Both Eton seats were highly contested. Windsor resident (and former Deputy Leader of East Herts District) Malcolm Alexander just pipped Miss Fussey at the post by 43 in Eton and Castle; George Fussey had previously won by just 22 on a lower turnout, so on a straight fight, it was a tight finish.
In Eton Wick our enthusiastic Samantha Rayner worked so hard to spread the word and was returned with just over 50% of the vote.
Datchet, Sunningdale, Ascot and Cheapside were all safe seats consolidated. Sunninghill had had an interesting contest – but returned a fully blue team. Horton and Wraysbury saw a very solid victory for our sitting Lenton and Rayner team.
In Windsor itself, the WWRA sponsored “independent” expansion programme collapsed very spectacularly. [I wonder if we’ll ever see the original WWRA photo? It’s one for the album]
In their heartland of Clewer North, a total of 5 independents stood and showed that when the Conservatives fight hard, and together, anything is possible. Our 2014 by-election candidate John Collins, with Nicola Pryer and Hashim Bhatti worked tirelessly to deliver a far better result than we could have hoped for and will be able to represent the interests of the local residents extremely effectively.
Park saw 10 candidates vie for 2 seats – and with 57% of the vote Conservative, it was hard for anyone else to make an impact.
Our Castle Without team was all new and returned a clean sweep with almost 58% of the vote – here, the opposition was limited but vocal but didn’t try anywhere near as hard as our team.
In Clewer East new candidate John Bowden topped the poll, joining Dee Quick and again, over half the vote saw the opposition votes split.
Clewer South was a late declaration and our local team of Mike Airey and Ed Wilson triumphed.
Old Windsor, however, proved a bridge too far. Watch out Malcolm and Lynne, we’re coming to get you!
Another campaign over, but now the work begins on delivering our 2015 manifesto, and keeping all our pledges – and continuing to run the Royal Borough in the interests of residents, who do, after all, pay for the local public services.