The two newly elected councillors on Horsham District Council have spoken of their success at last week’s by-election.
The seats in the wards of Cowfold, Shermanbury and West Grinstead and Chantry became vacant after the resignations of former Tory councillors Chris Mason and Andrew Dunlop. In Thursday’s by-elections Conservatives won both seats keeping their majority at 31 district councillors.
In Chantry, also where council leader Ray Dawe has a seat, Diana Van Der Klugt received 1,181 votes, UKIP’s Peter Westrip came second with 1,101 votes and 426 people voted for Liberal Democrat Rosalyn Deedman. The turnout was 35.13 per cent.
Mrs Van Der Klugt said: “I’m very pleased to have won and I will be working very hard to represent the electorate.”
She said one of the biggest issue voters raised on the doorstep was development in Storrington.
Mrs Van Der Klugt is involved in the community in various ways, including being a warden at Greatham Parish Church. She has recently started guiding at Parham House in West Sussex and has been a parish councillor in Parham since 2007, serving on the Planning sub-committee.
She is also the Director of the Wiggonholt Association, which is a charitable organisation promoting the conservation protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment in West Sussex.
Roger Clarke won the seat in Cowfold, Shermanbury and West Grinstead with 873 votes, with Liberal Democrat candidate Andrew Purches receiving 243. The turnout was 27.16 per cent.
Mr Clarke, who has lived in Partridge Green since 1975 and sits on West Grinstead Parish Council, said: “I’m absolutely delighted. This is my first time I’ve sat in an election. I’ve been a member of the Conservative Party for over 50 years.
“I would like to thank all who voted for me and those who helped do leafleting. I am looking forward to serving the three parishes to the very best of my ability.
“All of them have their particular issues. In Cowfold traffic at the A272 roundabout needs to be looked into, in West Grinstead there are traffic issues with speeding, anti-social driving and there are also going to be planning issues coming up as the council is taking a fresh look at where housing is going to be put.”
The make-up of the council remains at 31 Conservatives, eight Liberal Democrats, two Independents and one UKIP member.