RYEDALE District Council waved in some new faces - and said goodbye to two council stalwarts - at the local elections last week.

Of the 30 members elected to council on Thursday, 13 members are new to the authority, with the rest successfully standing again.

The election also saw two councillors - with about 67 years’ experience on the council between them - fail to regain their seats.

Elizabeth Shields, the Liberal Democrat who has represented Norton for 39 years, with spells as a county councillor and MP, lost her seat on the Norton East ward. An emotional Mrs Shields said: “It would’ve meant a lot to sit on this council. People have been very lovely over the years and I’m grateful to them.”

Linda Cowling, the former Conservative who led a defection of six Tories in 2017 and who very recently formed the Ryedale First group of independents, also lost her seat in Pickering West - though there was widespread success for Ryedale First elsewhere in the district.

Linda has been on the council for 28 years. She said she had thought twice about standing and she couldn’t say her defeat was unexpected - adding that she had lost to strongly anti-fracking candidates. But she said: “I was delighted at the result for the Ryedale First independents. From a standing start, to get seven out of 11 councillors elected was pretty good.”

The defections of six disaffected Conservatives of 2017 softened the impact of these local elections on the council’s make-up.

The Conservatives, who in 2015 won 20 of the 30 seats, won just 12 this time round. Aside from an extra Liberal Party councillor, the gains were exclusively made by independents, including Ryedale First and candidates like Angela Kirkham-Raine and Simon Thackray.

But although the council make-up has not radically altered, the hung council means that discussions about co-operative working have started in order to decide how the authority might reach decisions.

There were some tight results. In Ampleforth, Jim Bailey retained his seat by eight votes. In Sherburn, John Raper retained his by 11. Elsewhere, Keane Duncan of Norton East retained his seat with the exact same number of votes - 745 - as in 2015.

Once again, no members of Labour or the Green Party secured a district council seat.