Lib Dems in Rayleigh are celebrating after winning three by-elections in one day.
James Newport won the Rayleigh North Essex County Council Division with a massively increased majority. Jim Cripps won the Downhall & Rawreth District Council seat and Elizabeth Brewer won the Rayleigh Grange Town Council seat.
All three vacancies resulted from the tragic death of Lib Dem Councillor Craig Cannell, at the age of 32. James Newport dedicated his victory to Craig and to Chris Black, another Lib Dem Councillor who died five years ago. In his victory speech James Newport said "Craig and Chris were my inspiration during this campaign".
The Lib Dems have been campaigning against the threat to Rayleigh facilities like Mill Hall and Civic Suite with its beautiful gardens in the Rayleigh Conservation area.
Although there is a 'review' of plans for Mill Hall (which remains shut after giving great service as a vaccination centre during the pandemic) the Conservative run Council still want to sell off Civic Suite and gardens to property developers to build flats and other high density flats and housing. The Lib Dems were also campaigning for repair of the many potholes and broken pavements that blight the town.
James Newport told the Echo, "some of the pothole repairs have been very poor, they often start to deteriorate after a matter of weeks. With the huge volumes of traffic being generated these days by overdevelopment in Rayleigh, we really need first class permanent repairs, for the safety of local people whether they be drivers, cyclists or pedestrians".
Rayleigh North, Essex County Council
Liberal Democrats (James Newport) - 1,658
Conservative - 929
Independent - 164
Labour - 137
Downhall & Rawreth, Rochford District Council
Liberal Democrats (Jim Cripps) - 791
Conservative - 265
Labour - 51
Grange, Rayleigh Town Council
Liberal Democrats (Elizabeth Brewer) - 675
Conservative - 228