Just in case you haven’t heard the results already:
Shipston – Turnout 42.7%
Richard Cheney (Lib Dem) – 752 Elected
Jacqui Jones (Green) – 61
Jeffrey Kenner (Lab) – 501
Abdul Shahid (Cons) – 423
A good result for Richard and my former party, on a high turnout (compared to the rest of the District).
Jeff Kenner has clearly done well with his pro supermarket but anti housing campaign – much as that’s one of the silliest campaigns (in my view) in recent times. (The supermarket comes with over 180 homes – 50 if you exclude the Extra Care Housing – you can’t have a supermarket without houses). You can’t escape the fact that he increased the Labour share of the vote massively though, and edged into second place.
Richard managed to increase his wafer slim majority to a very healthy 251, despite (or because of) his continued opposition to the supermarket. I suspect that it was more due to his record of hard (voluntary AND political) work in Shipston over the past four years – something none of the other candidates had. Well, that and he’s a very nice man!
The Conservatives rightly should be humiliated by this result.
The Conservatives selected a candidate who, although with strong local links (he lives and owns a business in Shipston) did not have a track record of voluntary work within the town.
Unfortunately this will always be the ‘supermarket election’ – which it was not – but despite the pro supermarket side only getting 32% of the vote I still believe this will make no difference to the final outcome on that issue. Richard doesn’t get a vote on the supermarket at Stratford, and nor would Jeff had. It’s now time that the Planning Committee got on and made its decision based on the views expressed by local residents and the planning rules.