VIDEO: Postmaster claims seat in by-election

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An “overwhelmed” postmaster triumphed in Fylde Council’s Lytham St John’s ward by-election.

Ratepayer candidate Mark Bamforth polled almost two thirds of the vote to retain the seat for his group.

Victorious ratepayers (From left) Coun John Davies, Coun Mark Bamforth and Debra Evans after Lytham by-election for Fylde Council

Victorious ratepayers (From left) Coun John Davies, Coun Mark Bamforth and Debra Evans after Lytham by-election for Fylde Council

There was heightened interest in last night’s result as it saw a candidate stand on an anti-fracking ticket.

But Bob Dennett, of the Green Party, came last in the polling.

Coun Bamforth, who previously sat on the council between 1991 and 1999 and runs the town’s Warton Street post office, received 804 votes out of 1,229 cast with closest rival, Brenda Blackshaw of the Tory Party, polling 205.

Timothy Wood of the UK Independence Party was third with 100 votes; Carol Gilligan (Liberal Democrats) receiving 62 votes and Mr Dennett (Green Party Stop Fracking Now) 53 votes.

Speaking to The Gazette after the count at St Annes Town Hall, the newly elected Coun Bamforth said: “I’m overwhelmed really, I can’t believe the majority I’ve won by.

“People aren’t interested in politics in local government – we work for the people.

“People before politics is our motto and we’re working to benefit the community.”

Ratepayers leader Coun John Davies added: “We believe local government shouldn’t be about politics and therefore fully support the campaign for the (Fylde Council) referendum in May to go back to the committee system of government.

“Mark will be helping us to fight that battle.”

Coun Bamforth’s fellow candidates paid tribute to his victory.

Brenda Blackshaw said: “Well done Mr Bamforth.

“He’s a very popular man, born and bred in Lytham being a well-known postmaster, and that makes a big difference.

“I’m very disappointed with the difference in votes but we had an excellent team who worked very hard.”

Despite coming last in the poll, Mr Dennett described the result as “promising”.

He said: “The Green Party is seen as a credible party and hopefully we can build onthis.

“It was only a small ward of Lytham.

“Had it been the whole of Lytham or St Annes I think the result may have been different because the anti-fracking movement definitely has a great deal of support in these areas.”

Several campaign groups have been set up across Fylde to fight fracking – the controversial process to extract shale gas – which could take place on the coast if planning

permission is granted.

Yesterday’s by-election was called after the death of Coun Kath Harper.

Coun Harper was deputy mayor at the time of her death in November and sat as a Ratepayer councillor.

After the votes were counted and the result returned, Timothy Wood said: “I’m very pleased to come third in the first time I’ve stood.

“Form zero to third place, albeit with 100 votes, still shows a support in the area and clearly Mark’s a worthy winner.

“I got half of what the Tory vote received so I’m very pleased.”

Carol Gilligan also congratulated Coun Bamforth.

She said: “I’m sure he’ll serve the ward well as he’s done in previous years and I’m sure he’ll work hard. It’s not an unexpected result, Mark’s very popular in the area and he’s a likeable person.”

After last night’s result the composition of Fylde Council now sits at: Conservatives 28 seats; Independents 15

seats; Liberal Democrats three seats; Ratepayer three seats and ‘non-aligned’ two seats.