*As you were - but only 30 per cent vote

Election count at Dewsbury Sports Hall. (d03051287)
Election count at Dewsbury Sports Hall. (d03051287)

LESS than a third of voters turned up at the ballot boxes in the Spen Valley.

All four electoral wards in Spen remained unchanged.

Election count at Dewsbury Sports Hall. (d03051289)

Election count at Dewsbury Sports Hall. (d03051289)

Labour’s Coun Steve Hall held Heckmondwike and Liberal Democrat leader Coun Kath Pinnock held onto Cleckheaton as did Conservatives councillors Andrew Palfreeman (Birkenshaw and East Bierley), and Margaret Bates (Liversedge/Gomersal).

The average turnout in Spen’s wards was around 30 per cent of eligible voters. In May 2008, when these seats where last contested, 43 per cent of Heckmondwike voters turned out to cast their ballot.

Coun Steve Hall described the turn-out as ‘absolutely horrendous’.

But he added: “When the results came through, it was a great relief, I thought the result would be a lot closer.

Election count at Dewsbury Sports Hall. Andrew Palfreeman. (d03051296)

Election count at Dewsbury Sports Hall. Andrew Palfreeman. (d03051296)

“The three Labour councillors in the ward work extremely well together and Heckmondwike is reaping the benefits of that.”

Coun Hall said he hoped construction work on the long-planned library and bus terminus would get under way in the next 12 months.

Coun Pinnock said she felt national politics had played a part in the Liberal Democrats’ results in councils across the country.

She said: “Everyone’s vote went down in terms of numbers of votes, but our share of the vote has increased.

Election count at Dewsbury Sports Hall. (d03051294)

Election count at Dewsbury Sports Hall. (d03051294)

“I think the number of people voting reflects the national outlook. People see what the parties are doing nationally and were not convinced by the solutions on offer.

“Overall, I was pleased because we work hard for the town and villages around Cleckheaton.”

Coun Palfreeman enjoyed a commanding majority over his closest rival, Labour’s Simon Alvy, taking the ward by more than 730 votes.

He said: “It’s nice that people appreciate what we have done in the area over the years and this is an opportunity to carry on.

“We want to continue to improve the economic viability of our village centres and preserve the community in the way people want us to, instead of allowing the relentless development of our green belt and green spaces.”

Coun Margaret Bates was also pleased to retain her seat.

She said she was disappointed at the low turn out, but vowed to continue to tackle the issues in her ward without playing party politics.

“I can only think that people are turned off by politics at the moment,” she said.

“However, this is about local issues and I feel people have taken national issues and punished us locally for policies decided in London.”