Liberals hold on to power in Cheltenham
CHELTENHAM'S Liberal Democrats have held on to power at the borough council following the All Saints Ward by-election.
Charlie Stewart retained the seat for the party, polling 285 more votes than Conservative candidate Emma Logan.
success: Charlie Stewart
The by-election was forced by the death of the previous Lib Dem incumbent Tina Franklin in May.
The victory was strategically important for the Lib Dem group, which would have found itself outnumbered had the Tories taken the vacant seat.
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There are now 20 Liberal Democrat, 17 Conservative and three People Against Bureaucracy councillors.
Coun Stewart, 67, gained 59 per cent of the vote, an increase of eight per cent from when Tina Franklin won the seat in May 2006.
He said: "I am very pleased to have been elected after a lot of hard work knocking on doors and campaign- ing.
"I know Tina would have been happy and this win was for her in some ways. She was the one who encouraged me to stand for council. "I have been campaigning to get things done in my area for a long time and one day Tina said to me 'Why don't you cut out the middle man and stand yourself?'"
He pledged to tackle issues such as residents' parking and street cleaning during his time in office.
The seat will come up for re-election again next year.
Coun Stewart has lived in Cheltenham since 1966 and worked as a lorry driver for 40 years.
He recorded 680 votes. Ms Logan got 395 votes, while Cathy Green, for the Green Party got 57 and John Phipps, for Labour, won 37 votes.
The turnout was 27.1 per cent of the electorate.
Conservative group leader Stuart Hutton said: "Emma Logan worked fantastically hard and I am sure she will be a fine councillor for Cheltenham one day. It was a disappointingly low turnout and on another day the result could have been different.
"All eyes are focused on next year with the General Election and the next round of local elections. Our biggest aim is to help Mark Coote become the next Cheltenham MP."