Harrogate Borough Council election, 2003

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The 2003 Harrogate Council election took place on 1 May 2003 to elect members of Harrogate Borough Council in North Yorkshire, England. One third of the council was up for election and the council stayed under no overall control.[1]

After the election, the composition of the council was

Campaign[edit]

Before the election the Liberal Democrats had 27 seats on the council, the Conservatives 26 and there was 1 independent.[3] The campaign saw the national leaders of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, Iain Duncan Smith and Charles Kennedy, visit Harrogate to support their parties.[4]

The Liberal Democrats defended their record in control of the council, pointing to an improvement in the council finances, providing new facilities for the area, keeping Harrogates portion of the council tax rises low and tackling anti-social behaviour.[5] However the Conservatives attacked "over intensive housing development" for causing traffic congestion, said they were the only party opposed to congestion charging, proposed to provide an hours free parking for residents and to work with police to tackle anti-social behaviour.[5]

Election result[edit]

The results saw no party win a majority on the council, but the Conservatives became the largest party with 27 seats, compared to 25 for the Liberal Democrats and 2 independents.[3][6] The Conservatives gained Bilton and High Harrogate wards from the Liberal Democrats, the latter by 656 votes to 610 after a recount.[7] These gains came despite the Liberal Democrats winning slightly more votes overall in the election, 46.5% compared to 44.7% for the Conservatives.[3] However the Conservatives did lose one seats in Ripon Moorside, which was taken by independent Charles Powell.[7] Meanwhile, Labour failed to win any seats and only came second in Woodfield ward.[7] Overall turnout in the election was 34.7%.[3]

Following the election the Conservatives took control of the council, with Conservative Mike Gardner becoming council leader, replacing Liberal Democrat Geoff Webber.[3] Meanwhile, the outgoing mayor of Harrogate Alan Skidmore quit the Liberal Democrats after the election to become an independent, criticising the party both nationally and locally.[8]

Harrogate local election result 2003[9][10]
Party Seats Gains Losses Net gain/loss Seats % Votes % Votes +/−
  Liberal Democrat 10 0 2 -2 52.6 46.5 12,557 +0.2%
  Conservative 8 2 1 +1 42.1 44.7 12,079 -0.3%
  Independent 1 1 0 +1 5.3 4.0 1,077 +1.1%
  Labour 0 0 0 0 0 4.9 1,314 -0.9%

Ward results[edit]

Bilton[9][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Robin Adderley 864 50.8
Liberal Democrat Morris Lightfoot 770 45.3
Labour Norman Dobell 66 3.9
Majority 94 5.5
Turnout 1,700 40.8 +2.3
Conservative gain from Liberal Democrat Swing
Granby[9][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Democrat Margaret-Ann De Courcey-Bayley 683 66.2
Conservative Paul Needham 261 25.3
Labour David King 87 8.4
Majority 422 40.9
Turnout 1,031 23.8 -2.7
Liberal Democrat hold Swing
Harlow Moor[9][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Simon Theakston 1,040 64.4
Liberal Democrat Michael Kaye 504 31.2
Labour Christopher France 71 4.4
Majority 536 33.2
Turnout 1,615 38.6 -7.4
Conservative hold Swing
High Harrogate[9][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Andrew Jones 656 48.6
Liberal Democrat Matthew Webber 610 45.2
Labour Eric Cunningham 83 6.2
Majority 46 3.4
Turnout 1,349 32.1 +4.0
Conservative gain from Liberal Democrat Swing
Hookstone[9][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Democrat Reginald Marsh 945 56.4
Conservative Michael Laycock 671 40.0
Labour Robert Swithinbank 60 3.6
Majority 274 16.3
Turnout 1,676 38.8 -2.8
Liberal Democrat hold Swing
Knaresborough East[9][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Democrat Keith Rothwell 677 61.9
Conservative Malcolm Jackson 416 38.1
Majority 261 23.9
Turnout 1,093 28.7 -5.5
Liberal Democrat hold Swing
Knaresborough King James[9][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Diana Smith 751 47.9
Liberal Democrat Richard Hall 719 45.9
Labour Simon Hutchings 97 6.2
Majority 32 2.0
Turnout 1,567 40.9 -1.6
Conservative hold Swing
Knaresborough Scriven Park[9][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Democrat Kevin Hawkins 530 37.4
Conservative Robert Aspin 516 36.4
Independent Andrew Wright 373 26.3
Majority 14 1.0
Turnout 1,419 37.1 -0.5
Liberal Democrat hold Swing
Low Harrogate[9][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Jean Butterfield 835 65.5
Liberal Democrat Michael Paszkowski 371 29.1
Labour Christine Colman 69 5.4
Majority 464 36.4
Turnout 1,275 30.9 -5.7
Conservative hold Swing
New Park[9][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Democrat Wendy Richards 692 65.7
Conservative David Pearson 283 26.9
Labour Mark France 79 7.5
Majority 409 38.8
Turnout 1,054 26.5 -1.2
Liberal Democrat hold Swing
Pannal[9][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Michael Gardner 1,287 64.0
Liberal Democrat Yvonne Jones 649 32.3
Labour Cynthia Coltman 76 3.8
Majority 638 31.7
Turnout 2,012 46.9 -7.3
Conservative hold Swing
Ripon Minster[9][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Democrat Sidney Hawke 751 68.0
Conservative Andrew Collyer 354 32.0
Majority 397 35.9
Turnout 1,105 29.1 +1.7
Liberal Democrat hold Swing
Ripon Moorside[9][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Independent Charles Powell 704 51.5
Conservative Anthony Simpson 361 26.4
Liberal Democrat Stephen Jones 303 22.1
Majority 343 25.1
Turnout 1,368 35.8 -3.1
Independent gain from Conservative Swing
Ripon Spa[9][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Democrat Paul Freeman 683 53.2
Conservative Rosemarie Curlewis 602 46.8
Majority 81 6.3
Turnout 1,285 34.8 -4.1
Liberal Democrat hold Swing
Rossett[9][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative James Clark 1,170 57.5
Liberal Democrat Leslie Parkes 799 39.3
Labour Deborah Havercroft 66 3.2
Majority 371 18.2
Turnout 2,035 45.8 +0.8
Conservative hold Swing
Saltergate[9][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Democrat Geoffrey Webber 593 53.2
Conservative Michael Harrison 521 46.8
Majority 72 6.5
Turnout 1,114 26.3 +1.5
Liberal Democrat hold Swing
Starbeck[9][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Democrat Granville Ward 752 68.1
Conservative Phillip Dixon 242 21.9
Labour Patricia Foxall 111 10.0
Majority 510 46.2
Turnout 1,105 26.3 -3.4
Liberal Democrat hold Swing
Stray[9][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Patricia Jones 1,030 52.6
Liberal Democrat Claudia Hartley 869 44.4
Labour Roger Newby 59 3.0
Majority 161 8.2
Turnout 1,958 46.3 -1.3
Conservative hold Swing
Woodfield[9][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Democrat John Wren 657 51.9
Labour Peter Caunt 390 30.8
Conservative Denis Muldoon 219 17.3
Majority 267 21.1
Turnout 1,266 30.8 -4.2
Liberal Democrat hold Swing

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Local elections". BBC News Online. Retrieved 2011-01-15. 
  2. ^ "Election results". Financial Times. 2003-05-02. p. 4. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Tories to take on 'key issues'". Harrogate Advertiser. 2003-05-09. 
  4. ^ "Party big guns join poll battle". Harrogate Advertiser. 2003-04-11. 
  5. ^ a b "Council leader and Tory leader go head-to-head on election trail". Harrogate Advertiser. 2003-04-04. 
  6. ^ Foster, Mark (2003-05-03). "Conservatives 'delighted' by poll results". The Northern Echo. p. 6. 
  7. ^ a b c "Tories back in charge". Harrogate Advertiser. 2003-05-02. 
  8. ^ "Ex-Mayor quits Lib Dems shock". Harrogate Advertiser. 2003-05-16. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "District Council election" (PDF). Harrogate Borough Council. Retrieved 2011-01-15. 
  10. ^ "English councils". The Times. 2003-05-03. p. 47. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Results in full". Harrogate Advertiser. 2003-05-02.