A SEAT on Colchester Council, vacant since the death of the mayor, has been filled.

Andrew Ellis retained the Birch and Winstree seat for the Conservatives in a by-election held on Thursday, following the death of Peter Crowe.

Mr Ellis, who won with a majority of 322, said he was “delighted” to be back on the council, but expressed his regret that it had to be in “very sad circumstances”.

Mr Crowe, who died in September, aged 72, had represented the area on the borough council for 19 years.

Mr Ellis said: “Peter was a very good friend of mine and a mentor in my early days as a councillor.

“I aim to build on his legacy of hard work on behalf of the people of Birch and Winstree.

“At 33 square miles it’s an enormous ward and Kevin Bentley and I will work as a team to cover it as well as its residents deserve.”

Mr Ellis had previously represented Stanway on the authority for a four-year term, but lost his seat at the May local elections to Lib Dem Laura Sykes.

The result will not change the political balance of the council, with the Conservatives having 27 seats, Lib Dems 23, Labour seven and three independents.

BIRCH & WINSTREE RESULTS Andrew Ellis, Con, 745 Jonathan Longman, Lib Dem, 423 James Spencer, Lab, 83 Katherine Bamforth, Green, 32 Turnout 1,286 (29.3 per cent)

Meanwhile, The Three Colnes by-election in the Braintree district was also won by a Conservative. Chris Siddal was elected with 647 votes.

Wendy Anne Partridge, Green Party candidate, received 72 votes, while Richard Tincknell, Labour Party candidate, received 121 votes.

The turnout was 21.5 per cent.

The by-election was held after Rosemary O’Shea, former district councillor for the Three Colnes ward, left her Earls Colne home to move to Scotland.

Mrs O’Shea had also represented the Conservative Party.

  • A LONG-SERVING Lexden councillor has been named Colchester’s deputy-mayor elect for next year.

Conservative councillor Sonia Lewis was appointed to the role for 2009/10 at a meeting of Colchester Council’s cabinet.

She is set to succeed councillor Henry Spyvee (Lib Dem, Castle) who is himself due to replace councillor Margaret Fairley-Crowe (Con, Tiptree) as the mayor.