Coun Bernard Bateman has successfully defended his Ripon seat in the North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) elections and is set to become county council chairman.
The Conservative councillor secured 658 votes in Ripon North – 118 votes ahead of his nearest rival, Independent Sid Hawke – and will take up the chains of office as chairman of NYCC on Wednesday, May 15.
Talking to the Gazette, Coun Bateman said: “My main thrust will be about doing as much as I can for local businesses. We need our shops filled.”
UKIP candidate Stephen Swindells came third in Ripon North, gaining 529 votes.
In Ripon South, Independent candidate Peter Horton won with 599 votes to Conservative Stuart Martin’s 532. UKIP’s Jeremy Banyard came third with 412 votes.
The Ripon South seat had been held by Independent Coun Andrew Williams, who did not contest the election. Speaking after his victory, Coun Horton said: “I shall do my very best to follow in my predecessor’s footsteps and continue to represent the ward to the best of my abilities on the county council.”
UKIP had second-place finishes in Boroughbridge, Lower Nidderdale and Bishop Monkton, and Masham and Fountains, but in each of the three divisions the Conservatives remained the party in power once votes had been counted.
Reacting to UKIP’s success, Ripon MP Julian Smith (Con) said his party needed to “communicate better the positive policies the Government has on giving people their say on Europe, reducing immigration and reforming our welfare system”.