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Cannock Chase election: Conservatives claim local issues won the day after extending control

The Conservatives remain firmly in control of Cannock Chase Council after the local elections – winning the seat long held by former Labour leader George Adamson.

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Conservative Joshua Bancroft celebrates with council leader Olivia Lyons

Taking the Labour seat in Hednesford Green Heath was the sole gain for the Tory group, which took control of the authority for the first time last year by wiping out Labour.

The Tories also narrowly missed out on taking a number of other seats.

The results mean the Conservatives now have 25 seats to Labour’s eight, extending their majority on the council to nine.

The Chase Community Independents have three seats, while the Liberal Democrats and the Greens have two each. There is one independent councillor.

Council leader Olivia Lyons said she was delighted to retain her own seat in Rugeley’s Western Springs ward, saying the result proved the party’s message of campaigning on the local issues rather national politics was the correct move.

She won with 918 votes over Labour’s David Gaye with 678 and a 31.2 per cent voter turn out.

“This result means that we got the message across at the doorstep," the council leader said.

"We talked to residents about this being a local election, about local issues. We know there are difficulties with the national picture and there’s no denying that.

“People have been raising national issues with us, but when we explained the difference between local and national to them, they seemed to accept that.

“Recovering from the coronavirus pandemic is a huge issue for the whole district and the message is we will be looking to move forward together now.

"From Rugeley’s viewpoint where I live we have seen the community coming together in a wonderful way during the pandemic. It’s a wonderful community and the pandemic has brought it together in a fantastic way.

“It is about building on that. moving forward and working with residents.

“The council needs to be accessible in the whole district and the pandemic has given us a huge opportunity to forge a new path.

"We will be supporting local businesses across the district and seeking to invest in projects thanks to the Shared Prosperity Fund.

"The town centres were changing before the pandemic which has accelerated the change and we need to invest in them with fresh ideas.”

Senior Labour councillor John Preece, who retained his Norton Canes seat, said: “It’s gone a lot better than last year when we were wiped out.

Labour councillors Sue Thornley and Jacquie Prestwood retain their seats

"It is showing that we are back and have got a foothold to build on moving forward.

“It may seem surprising that we have lost the Hednesford Green Heath seat, but we have also lost a popular leader who held it for a very long time.

"George [Adamson] was very popular and was out there for the community.

“He had the personality support in the area.

"When we look at our performance overall, it’s one that we can take a lot from going forward.

"There is £20 million coming into the district for the town centres, but it has been quite rightly pointed out by people in Rugeley and in the villages that they need some investment too.

"We will be keeping an eye on the Tories and what they will be spending the money on."

Paul Jones enjoyed taking Hednesford Green Heath from Labour

Cannock Chase MP Amanda Milling, the former Conservative Party chair, was present at the count held at Cannock Leisure Centre on Stafford Road.

She praised the candidates and their teams for their efforts.

Ms Milling said: “Gaining Hednesford Green Heath from Labour is great news.

"There were a number of close run seats which went to Labour, however, I think it is a good result for the Conservative group.

“My message to them is to keep doing what you’re doing. They did a great job by really focussing on on the needs of the people in Cannock Chase.”

Paris Theodorou, 35, who won in Hawks Green for the Tories with 626 votes said: "My hope is to represent the residents of Hawks Green to make it safe and to work on initiatives to protect our green spaces."