Harrogate elections: Youngest ever councillor elected as Conservatives add seats

060516 Five new faces on Harrogate Council - Nathan Hull Lower Nidderdale, Tim Myatt Marston Moor , Ash Teague Ouseburn, Nick Duxbury Claro and Andy Paraskos Ribston celebrating their victories. (GL1009/93e)

060516 Five new faces on Harrogate Council - Nathan Hull Lower Nidderdale, Tim Myatt Marston Moor , Ash Teague Ouseburn, Nick Duxbury Claro and Andy Paraskos Ribston celebrating their victories. (GL1009/93e)

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Harrogate Borough Council has welcomed its youngest ever councillor in another hugely successful election day for the Conservatives.

The party managed to hold its majority on the council; holding all 13 of their seats, winning another two with the Liberal Democrats holding a seat.

Five new faces on Harrogate Council - Nathan Hull Lower Nidderdale, Tim Myatt Marston Moor , Ash Teague Ouseburn, Nick Duxbury Claro and Andy Paraskos Ribston celebrating their victories. (GL1009/93e)

Five new faces on Harrogate Council - Nathan Hull Lower Nidderdale, Tim Myatt Marston Moor , Ash Teague Ouseburn, Nick Duxbury Claro and Andy Paraskos Ribston celebrating their victories. (GL1009/93e)

Despite a relatively low turnout of 36.82 per cent, Conservative and council leader Richard Cooper was delighted to add four new faces to his ranks.

Conservatives Nicholas Duxberry (Claro), and Andrew Paraskos (Ribston) replaced retiring fellow party members Anthony Alton and Caroline Bayliss respectively.

However, the Conservatives also bolstered their ranks with younger recruits; Tim Myatt (Marston Moor) and 20-year-old Ashley Teague (Ouseburn).

The fresh-faced councillors replace Independents John Savage and Chris Lewis, with Thomas Watson holding the remaining Lib Dem seat, previously held by Helen Flynn.

Ash  Teague wins the Ouseburn seat on Harrogate Council beating an Independent candidate becoming the youngest member of the council aged 20. (GL1009/93d)

Ash Teague wins the Ouseburn seat on Harrogate Council beating an Independent candidate becoming the youngest member of the council aged 20. (GL1009/93d)

Coun Teague will become the youngest ever party member sitting on Harrogate Borough Council and the university student believes his age will add fresh perspective for the council.

He said: "It means a lot to me to be elected but I do wonder why people my age have not run beforehand. It's a shame that there is a lower turn-out of younger people.

"There's no better way of getting to know the local area than being a councillor and I'm determined to stand up for the people of Ouseburn and take the role seriously.

"I want to learn from my fellow councillors. It's definitely going to be a challenge and I take my hat off to the work they've done up until now of protecting front-line services.

Ash  Teague wins the Ouseburn seat on Harrogate Council beating an Independent candidate becoming the youngest member of the council aged 20. (GL1009/93d)

Ash Teague wins the Ouseburn seat on Harrogate Council beating an Independent candidate becoming the youngest member of the council aged 20. (GL1009/93d)

"My age has been a talking point with residents I've met door-to-door but I've had a very positive response. Its' the first time I've had media attention so it's all very exciting but also a little daunting."

This year marked the lowest amount of seats ever contested by the Liberal Democrats in Harrogate, with just seven candidates put forward across the 16 seats.

Coun Watson was able to retain his seat, previously held by the retiring Mrs Flynn, collecting 447 votes ahead of Conservative candidate Michael Stanley with 321.

However, they were beaten by a landslide in all six of the other seats they contested with Conservative Margaret Atkinson collecting the biggest majority in Kirkby Malzeard, winning by a margin of 509 votes.

Pateley Bridge saw the closest of fights with Coun Stan Lumley (Cons) managing to hold his seat from Independent Stan Beer, with 73 votes proving the difference.

But, in truth, it was a day of few surprises for the Conservatives and Coun Cooper admitted even he did not expect such domination over their opposition.

He said: "There was not a lot of competition in many seats and that says something about the position the Liberal Democrats are in at this time frame.

"This was meant to be centre of the Lib Dem fight back but in truth it's been a Lib Dem flop. If you can't field candidates then you can't fight back.

"I'm a fan of competition and debate but it's not my responsibility to put opposition candidates forward. Even Labour will have got more votes than the Lib Dems.

"I expected the results to be good but I didn't expect them to be this good but we will now get on with preserving front-line services and running the council efficiently."

Coun Cooper took the opportunity to welcome Coun Teague and 25-year-old Coun Myatt onto the council and was excited to bring younger faces onto the council.

He said: "Having younger councillors is great because they will bring different experiences that older councillors can't bring.

"I don't buy into the argument that older councillors have better experiences. We have a cabinet member who is 24 and she brings fantastic qualities that people in their 40's might not have.

"It will bring a different complex to the council and I'm excited to have them on board."