THE political landscape in West Somerset changed overnight, with the Independents wresting control of the district council from the Conservatives.

In a tense count at Danefield Middle School last night, dismayed Tories watched as the Independents took the lead, ending up with 16 seats to their 13.

One Labour seat and one Lib Dam seat complete the picture.

Tory councillors to lose their seats included Jamie Anderson in Alcombe East, where Independent Ian Melhuish joins Nick Messarra, who retained his seat for the Tories, and Pam Driver in Old Cleeve, where Kate Kravis and Neil Parbrook took the seat for the Independents.

In Porlock, Mike Padgett, (Con), lost his seat to Jon Freeman, (Ind), while Angela Palmer retained her seat for the Tories.

Independents took over in Quantock Vale, where Chris Morgan and Paul Tipney were victorious at the expense of Tories Mary Crowley and Loretta Whetlor.

The Conservatives retained overall sway in Watchet, where Tony Night and Dave Westcott were elected along with Jenny Hill for the Independents, but David Banks (Ind) lost his seat.

Barbara Child lost her Conservative seat in West Quantock to Independent Mitch Wicking, while in Williton, Hugh Davies and Eddie May retained their seats for the Independents.

The total turnout, including postal votes, was for elections for West Somerset Council was 46.9%. Some 38.87% of the electorate voted at polling stations.

See Thursday's County Gazette for more.

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