Winners in Crewkerne election
LIBERAL Democrat John Dyke has retained the Crewkerne and Misterton county council seat for a third time.
Cllr Dyke, aged 68, of Unity Lane, Misterton defeated Conservative candidate Marcus Barrett and Green Party contender Ben Hartshorn by a wide margin.
He said: "I am elated. I am quite honoured Crewkerne people put their trust in me. This will be my third and final term in office. I plan to retire at the end of this term.
"I wanted to become a councillor to give something back to my home town and I think, after 12 years, that will be it."
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Many residents have called for safer roads and Cllr Dyke said this is a top area of concern.
He said: "As far as Crewkerne is concerned, I will pursue with the principally agreed town centre 20mph limit."
He is pursuing another traffic issue in Misterton, where residents are concerned about HGVs mounting pavements and damaging properties.
With the Conservatives winning control of County Hall, Cllr Dyke acknowledges he will have less direct influence but will continue operating on a cross-party basis.
He said his other priorities include protecting jobs and attracting new businesses to Crewkerne, filling empty shops and gaining affordable housing.
The South Petherton division saw Conservative candidate Anne Larpent take the seat from the Liberal Democrats. The seat was previously held by John Sharpe who did not stand.
She said: "Winning this division for the Conservatives is one of the most exciting and reward ing adventures I have been involved in. I will work very hard, with honesty and transparency, on behalf of this division to improve our roads and pavements, which are the worst in the South West, and to help ensure that primary education continues to benefit from the richness and variety of secure and sustainable village communities.
"It's time for a change in Somerset. We need to clean up our politics, both locally and in Westminster, and a Conservative administration will help in that process."
The turnout for the South Petherton ward was 52 per cent, compared to 71 in the previous election.
Liberal Democrat Cathy Bakewell was re-elected as county councillor for the Coker division and also won the South Somerset District Council by-election for the Coker ward.
She lives in Hardington Mandeville and has been a county councillor since 1993, but this is the first time she has been elected onto the district council.
She said: "In particular, I will be concentrating on the continuing issues around traffic calming and schools, bus services and access for elderly people and, as we are a rural division, there are also significant issues around getting people in and out of Yeovil and Crewkerne. I am also very concerned about getting enough activities for young people in the village, especially in this climate of recession when parents cannot always afford the kinds of activities their children were previously participating in; we need to find alternative activities for them to do. It was a really tough election and we all worked really hard to get the voters out."