Labour retain control of Ashfield District Council -- but Zadrozny wins

VICTORIOUS -- former council leader Jason Zadrozny, who defied the controversy surrounding his arrest by police.
VICTORIOUS -- former council leader Jason Zadrozny, who defied the controversy surrounding his arrest by police.

The sensational victory of the Conservatives in the General Election was not replicated in the local vote in Ashfield, where Labour retained control of the district council.

Of the 35 seats up for grabs, Labour won 22, with five going to the Liberal Democrats, who fared much better than at national level, and four to the Independents.

The Conservatives also picked up four seats, all in Hucknall. But UKIP drew a blank, despite fielding 14 candidates, and it was the same, unsuccessful story for the newly-formed Hucknall First Community Forum.

Probably the most notable triumph was for Independent Jason Zadrozny, who was suspended by the Lib Dems only weeks before the elections. This followed his arrest by police over historic child-abuse allegations.

Mr Zadrozny (34), a former council leader, was accused of gross indecency with a male aged under 16 between 2003 and 2007. And although he vehemently denies the claims, he withdrew as the party’s Parliamentary candidate for the Ashfield seat, won by Labour’s Gloria De Piero.

However, he went ahead with his council candidacy and landed the Larwood seat, doubling the number of votes gained by his second-placed Labour rival, Linford Gibbons.

The result sparked cheers at the count, which was held at the Festival Hall in Kirkby, and fellow councillor Tom Hollis (Lib Dem) rushed on stage to embrace him.

Mr Zadrozny confirmed he’s yet to be charged by the police, but vowed to “have my day in court” if he was.

“It’s nothing but dirty tactics,” he said. “Make no bones about it, I would have won the Ashfield seat at the General Election if I had been on the ballot paper. I will clear ny name and come back fighting.”

The Larwood seat was one of several newly-created electoral wards for the Ashfield Council vote. Another, Jacksdale, resulted in the ousting of the last council chairman, Labour’s Liz Mayes, who fell just 25 votes short of Chris Chapman, of the Lib Dems.

But the most fiercely fought wards were the four long-standing ones in Hucknall, where 38 candidates battled for ten seats.

The Hucknall First Community Forum was created earlier in the year by several experienced ex-councillors, some of whom had been de-selected by the Labour Party. They included John Wilmott, Dave Shaw, Trevor Locke and Jim Blagden, and they joined forces with other stalwarts such as Bob Gow and Harry and Jean Toseland.

However, none of them won election. Instead Labour took six of the seats, spearheaded by the last council leader, Chris Baron (Hucknall West).

Hucknall also featured two examples of a father and two sons standing for election -- the Morrisons for Labour and the Rostances for the Conservatives. Brothers Keir Morrison (Hucknall South) and Lachlan (Hucknall Central) were successful, but dad Ian was beaten into sixth in Hucknall North. Dad Kevin Rostance and son Phil topped the polls in Hucknall West, but son Anthony was pipped into fourth, missing out on a family hat-trick by eight votes.

Other high-profile Labour winners included Jim Aspinall in St Mary’s, John Knight in Summit and Glenys Maxwell in Huthwaite and Brierley, while other high-profile Lib Dem winners included Rachel Madden in Annesley and Kirkby.

Two members of the Selston Parish Independents, Gail Turner and Robert Sears-Piccavey, were also victorious, while the narrowest winning margin saw Labour’s Steve Carroll edge out the Lib Dems’ Dawn Gent by just six votes in Sutton Junction and Harlow Wood.

Voter turnout was encouragingly high, ranging from 62% to 69% in most wards.

The full list of 35 winners in 23 wards is:

Abbey Hill, Joanne Donnelly (Lab); Annesley and Kirkby Woodhouse, Rachel Madden (Lib Dem) and Don Davis (Lab); Ashfields, Tom Hollis (Lib Dem); Carsic, Cathy Mason (Lab); Central and New Cross, Amanda Brown (Lab) and Tim Brown (Lab); Hucknall Central, Lachlan Morrison (Lab) and Nicolle Ndiweni (Lab); Hucknall North, Mick Murphy (Con), Rachel Bissett (Lab) and Ben Bradley (Con); Hucknall South, Lauren Mitchell (Lab) and Keir Morrison (Lab); Hucknall West, Chris Baron (Lab), Kevin Rostance (Con) and Phil Rostance (Con); Huthwaite and Brierley, Lee Anderson (Lab) and Glenys Maxwell (Lab); Jacksdale, Chris Chapman (Lib Dem); Kingsway, Mike Smith (Lab); Kirkby Cross and Portland, Cheryl Butler (Lab); Larwood, Jason Zadrozny (Ind); Leamington, David Griffiths (Lab); Selston, Gail Turner (Ind) and Sam Wilson (Ind); Skegby, Anthony Brewer (Lib Dem) and Paul Roberts (Lab) ; St Mary’s, Jim Aspinall (Lab); Stanton Hill and Teversal, Helen Smith (Lib Dem); Summit, John Knight (Lab) and Jackie James (Lab); Sutton Junction and Harlow Wood, Steve Carroll (Lab); The Dales, Helen Hollis (Lab); Underwood, Robert Sears-Piccavey (Ind).