THE MOST closely contested seat in this year’s Horsham District Council elections turned out to be Broadbridge Heath where the Liberal Democrats clung on with a majority of just six votes.
After being a member of Broadbridge Heath Parish Council for more than 20 years, Malcolm Curnock narrowly won the village’s only seat on Horsham District Council with 391 votes.
Conservative candidate Linda Pettitt - formerly a district councillor for Holbrook East - had 385 votes, Labour candidate Raymond Chapman had 164 votes and Valerie Gray from the UK Independence Party had 91.
Mr Curnock replaces Sally Horner, also a Liberal Democrat, who served the ward for 22 years before moving to Greece last year.
He said: “I could see the pile building up and I was thinking ‘there’s not much in it’. I really feel for the Conservative candidate who didn’t win the seat.
“If I had been on the losing side of the six votes I would have felt gutted, but it’s first past the post.
“I am passionate about the village. I first lived in the village in 1974 when I got married. We moved out in 1991 as the family grew, but I always retained my links within the parish.
“I’ve been a member of the parish council since 1987, making me the longest-serving parish councillor, and when my children were are Shelley School I was a parent governor. I’ve been a member of the football club for the last 30 years.
“Although I live in Horsham, I have kept all my links with Broadbridge Heath.
“My primary concern is the development of 1,000 houses to the south of the village. I will do my best to ensure that the community facilities drawn up by the developer are delivered. I want to make sure there is no back tracking.
“Also I am very keen to make sure every effort is made to embrace the new development so we end up with a village community that is fully integrated.”
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