2nd May 2019 will go down in history as the day that East Devon finally threw off Conservative control of the district council, which goes back to its creation in 1974. Along with other Independents, Liberal Democrats and Greens, Independent East Devon Alliance candidates swept away the Tory majority.
11 EDA Independents stood in 8 wards. Every single candidate was elected, and all topped the polls in their wards! Only 4 were members of the old Council, so EDA gained 7 seats, four from the Tories, two from the Liberal Democrats and one from another Independent.
EDA strengthened its dominance of the Sidmouth area political scene with the election of John Loudon in Sidmouth Rural and Denise Bickley in Sidmouth Town, as well as the return of three sitting members, while gaining a swathe of seats in every ward in the Axe Valley, including Seaton, Axminster, Yarty and the Coly Valley, where EDA leader Paul Arnott was elected.
In contrast to the overwhelmingly male, retired councillors they replaced, EDA’s contingent includes six women and five men, with members in their 20s, 30s and 40s as well as 50s, 60s and 70s. The youngest new EDA councillor, Dan Ledger, who won 1561 votes in Seaton, gained the highest score of any candidate in the whole election.
After the election, Independent East Devon Alliance councillors pledged to work with other non-Conservative councillors and parties to form a new administration to reform EDDC and pursue progressive policies for the benefit of the people of East Devon.
Full ward results for the whole district are available here. These are the EDA councillors:
AXMINSTER Sarah Jackson
COLY VALLEY Paul Arnott
NEWTON POPPLEFORD & HARPFORD Val Ranger
SEATON Dan Ledger and Jack Rowland
SIDMOUTH RURAL John Loudon
SIDMOUTH SIDFORD Marianne Rixson and Dawn Manley
SIDMOUTH TOWN Cathy Gardner and Denise Bickley
YARTY Paul Hayward