FARNHAM Residents stormed to victory in two thirds of the town’s Surrey County Council seats on Friday - while the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan also gained an overwhelming ’yes’ vote in favour of its adoption.
The most eye-catching win in the county council elections, which ran alongside a referendum on the community-led planning blueprint, was in Farnham Central, where Andy MacLeod secured Farnham Residents’ first ever county council seat - ousting long-standing Tory councillor Pat Frost, who also slipped behind the Lib Dems’ Jo Aylwin to finish third.
Farnham Residents doubled their tally when Stephen Spence was named the new councillor for Farnham North, beating the Conservative’s Mike Hodge into second.
But Wyatt Ramsdale saved the Tories’ blushes and prevented a Farnham Residents whitewash, retaining Farnham South by narrowly beating the Mayor of Farnham John Ward by just 63 votes.
Farnham Residents’ two seats at county-level add to the six the party founded in 2015 already holds at both Waverley Borough Council and Farnham Town Council.
In the rural area south of Farnham, Waverley Western Villages, Tory councillor since 2005 David Harmer comfortably retained his seat with a huge 1,760-vote majority.
*On a dramatic day for the town, a decisive 86 per cent of voters also backed the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan in a referendum - setting out a community-led blueprint for development in the town for the next 15 years.
The plan still has to overcome a judicial review at the High Court this June, brought about by a group of developers challenging the legality of the document.
However, after four years of public consultation and independent examination, Friday’s ’yes’ vote sees the plan clear its final democratic hurdle and - subject to the result of the judicial review - could see the document formally adopted as planning policy within eight weeks.
A full break-down of the results of the Surrey County Council elections can be found online at www.surreycc.gov.uk. More analysis and interviews to follow...