THE Liberal Democrats have gained another seat on Mid Devon District Council, where the party has a majority.

FOUR candidates were in the running for the Upper Yeo and Taw ward by-election for Mid Devon District Council held on Thursday, March 7, following the resignation of Conservative Stuart Penny, because of personal reasons.

The candidates for the vote were Peter Heal (Conservative), Mark Scotland (Green Party), Hayden Sharp (Labour), and Alex White (Liberal Democrat).

Alex White won the seat with 405 votes (52.2 per cent)(+10.9 per cent), Peter Heal receiving 226 (29.1 per cent)(-14.3 per cent), Hayden Sharp receiving 91 (11.7 per cent)(-3.6 per cent) and Mark Scotland receiving 54 (7 per cent)(+7 per cent).

Valid votes cast was 776.

Alex previously represented the area as a LibDem councillor.

He grew up locally and went to Exeter University.

Before the election he said: “I’m excited to be standing again for Upper Yeo and Taw,” said Alex. “I’d really wanted to stand for re-election last May but needed a break. I had stood in two General Elections and, with my Councillor duties, I needed to recharge my batteries. I come back refreshed and eager to support my friends and neighbours in the Yeo and Taw area.”

Residents in the Bow, Coldridge, Copplestone, Down St Mary, Morchard Road and Zeal Monachorum areas took to the polling stations to vote.

Prior to the vote, the LibDem Leader of Mid Devon District Council, Luke Taylor, said: “At the local elections in May of last year it was a very close race between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives in Upper Yeo and Taw.

“It looks like it will be a two-horse race again, so I’d ask local Labour and Green Party supporters to consider loaning Alex their votes to get him elected. Liberal Democrats have really turned Mid Devon Council around since last May, and Alex’ experience will help us continue the good work.”

Cllr Natalia Letch (LibDem) is the other previously elected candidate for the ward.

Previously, Councillor Guy Cochran, Chair of the local Liberal Democrats, said: “I am delighted that Alex has agreed to stand.

“Alex has represented the area previously as a Councillor. He has an excellent reputation for supporting local residents, having won key fights over keeping local post offices and stopping disruptive land development.”