Another clean sweep for the Conservatives in district and town elections

Bradley Stoke Conservative candidates and supporters at the 2015 local elections count in Thornbury.

Local Conservatives are celebrating a clean sweep of all five Bradley Stoke seats in the South Gloucestershire district elections and all 15 seats on Bradley Stoke Town Council, repeating their across the board victory at the last local elections in 2011.

The results leave former town mayor Ben Walker, who defected to UKIP a year after being elected on a Conservative ticket in 2011, without a seat on either council.

The winning Conservative candidates for places on South Gloucestershire Council were Paul Hardwick in Bradley Stoke North, Brian Hopkinson and Sarah Pomfret in Bradley Stoke Central & Stoke Lodge, and John Ashe and Roger Avenin in Bradley Stoke South.

In Bradley Stoke North, Hardwick polled 832 votes, well ahead of Walker on 479, with the Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates taking third and fourth places respectively.

Hopkinson (1,838 votes) and Pomfret (1,452) finished well clear of Labour candidate Anne Addison (1,022) in Bradley Stoke Central & Stoke Lodge, with UKIP, Liberal Democrat and independent candidates filling the minor places.

Similarly in Bradley Stoke South, John Ashe (1,912 votes) and Roger Avenin (1,799) had healthy margins over Labour candidate David Addison (1,124), followed by the second Labour candidate, two UKIP candidates and two Liberal Democrat candidates.

The three seats in Stoke Gifford ward, which incorporates some parts of south Bradley Stoke, were also won by Conservatives.

A swing to the Conservatives across South Gloucestershire saw them take overall control of the council (previously no overall control) with 40 seats (+7), ahead of the Liberal Democrats with 16 (-5) and Labour on 14 (-1). The defeat of Ben Walker leaves UKIP with no representation on the unitary council.

Conservative candidates had comfortable wins in the six Bradley Stoke Town Council wards that were contested, the only exception being in the three-seat Woodlands ward, where third-placed candidate Marion Ward had just a single vote margin over Labour’s David Addison. UKIP’s Ben Walker and Caroline Sullivan took fifth and sixth places respectively.

Ed Rose, the other Tory-to-UKIP defector to stand for re-election to the town council, was convincingly beaten by sole rival Gurmit Gupta (Conservative) in the Manor Farm ward.

In the newly-created parish of Stoke Lodge and The Common, all nine seats went to the Conservatives, with a comfortable margin over the closest of six UKIP candidates.

Full results: 2015 District Elections; 2015 Town Elections

Photo: Bradley Stoke Conservative supporters at the 2015 local elections count in Thornbury, with winning district candidates Roger Avenin (second from left) and John Ashe (centre).

Brian Hopkinson and Sarah Pomfret (front, centre), winning candidates in the election for the Bradley Stoke Central & Stoke Lodge ward of South Gloucestershire Council.

Photo: Winning district candidates Brian Hopkinson and Sarah Pomfret (front, centre) and Paul Hardwick (right).

UPDATE (29th May 2015): Election Postscript

We invited one prominent candidate from each of the four main political parties to contribute a short piece for our June magazine on the theme ‘Reflections on the recent election campaigns’. The following topics were suggested:

  • How much effort was put into the campaign?
  • Feedback received from voters during the campaign
  • Reflections on the results
  • Looking ahead – where now?

As we only received one response, from Cllr John Ashe (Conservative), we decided not to run the magazine feature, but are more than happy to print his contribution here.

The Conservative group has campaigned for at least the last four years in the Filton and Bradley Stoke constituency. We regularly go to Downend, Filton, Pilning, Frenchay etc etc. We obviously stepped up a gear as the election came closer. I volunteered my house as the campaign HQ and regularly had 40,000 leaflets delivered by lorry on a pallet that had to be bundled and distributed to our volunteer distribution network.

The feedback we had from the public was very encouraging, but whatever party you represent you are bound to get some negatives. In Bradley Stoke we were encouraged by people acknowledging how the Conservatives had run the town council and had kept the precept (Bradley Stoke’s share of the council tax) frozen for the fifth year running whilst providing increased services, including a full-time litter picker, full-time youth worker, taking over grass cutting from South Glos and obtaining funding for a new skate park to name just a few.

Whilst I was canvassing it was also evident that the residents of Bradley Stoke appreciated that the Conservatives had candidates for all 15 town council seats, the only party to do so. All the other parties got candidates to stand for South Glos which attracts an allowance of £11,000 per annum, but it was a different story for the unpaid town council positions.

UKIP put up eight candidates, Labour six candidates and the Lib Dems none at all – not even the five who stood for South Glos had the decency to stand for the town council.

Looking forward, we intend to keep the town council accountable to the residents and to provide services at the most economical cost possible.

Lastly, if you are interested in standing for the town council in the future, please contact the political party of your choice, or if independent, contact the town council direct.

Cllr John Ashe (Conservative candidate)

One other candidate, Fabrizio Fazzino (Labour), proactively sent us the following article before we put out our formal request for contributions:

In the run-­up to the election, I joined the local campaign team of the Labour Party and had a great time helping delivering leaflets in areas of Bradley Stoke and Stoke Gifford that I had never had the opportunity to visit before. Fortunately for us the weather was atypically clement as it didn’t rain for six weeks, which made the time spent outdoor more enjoyable.

We also took part in a 38 Degree event, ‘Save Our NHS’, with 1,145 signatures being collected in the car park of the local Aldi supermarket and presented to election candidates (only Labour and the Green Party’s Diana Warner were present).

To improve our presence online and on social media we created a Facebook page, ‘Labour Party Bradley Stoke & Stoke Gifford’, which attracted more than 100 ‘likes’ in just one week.

All members of the Labour Party, old and new, residing in the area, receive email invitations to take part in meetings and events organized by the local branch. Joining now gives the opportunity to take part in the selection of the new party leader, which will be unveiled in September this year.

Fabrizio Fazzino (Labour candidate)

Thank you John and Fabrizio for your contributions.

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  1. I Wonder how long before the first by-election.
    Brian you didn’t remember to inform your paper candidates of the results. no worries I done it for you on Sunday morning 36 hrs after the count.

  2. The article has been updated with an ‘election postscript’ containing reflections from two of the candidates. Thank you John and Fabrizio for your contributions.

  3. I agree with John Ashe, District Councillors should make the effort to serve on Parish and Town Councils, it’s a shame his colleague Sarah Pomfret doesn’t hold his values, getting elected as a District Councillor again for another 11k per annum, with her partner Brian getting another 11k that’s 22k in the bank in their very own Shangri La again, still, she has put her real home address down for the first time ever since cashing in her rental in Patchway unlike Brian still using his tenants address in Stoke Lodge, nice work if you can get it folks, keep taking the money, no one else cares! Ps, lend us a tenner, life’s hard on the reservation, I’ll pay you back with my taxes, oh, hang on, I already did!

  4. Cllr Ashe’s comments are in bad taste regarding candidates not standing for the “unpaid work” of town & Parish councils. As he knows parties like the Labour party have rules where all candidates must be fully paid up members and must commit to give up the time needed to carry out the worked needed. I understand that his party has no such rules. as the public record will show, Labour candidates including myself stood in Stoke Gifford parish and Bradley Stoke town. Some of us also stood in district elections but not all. It is also good to point out that you need to live within the of the parish or town, or with 3 miles. this also limits candidates. All parties find it hard to field candidates. I was happy to hear the he also had very good feedback on the doorsteps. We in the Labour party also had good feed back and who knows next election we may just give him a run for his money?

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