DUDLEY Council remains Conservative-controlled despite three gains for Labour.

Last year the Conservatives stormed the polls – gaining 12 seats and Labour losing 11.

However, this year the picture remained largely the same with both Labour and Conservative parties claiming it was a successful night.

The tightest ward of the night, which resulted in a Conservative gain, was St James's where Labour’s Kurshid Ahmed lost by seven votes to Sara Bothul.

Halesowen News: Sara Bothul. Sara Bothul.

She said she was "absolutely honoured to win" and was inspired to seek election after helping the community during the pandemic.

However, Conservatives lost their seat in Upper Gornal and Woodsetton with Chris Neale losing out to Adrian Hughes from the Labour and Co-operative Party by 114 votes.

Halesowen News: Cat Eccles.Cat Eccles.

Labour made a huge gain in Wollaston and Stourbridge with Cat Eccles achieving a 329 majority over Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and social care.

She told the News: "I'm really glad I can officially represent the area where I live.

"I've done a lot of campaigns in the ward. I've worked hard for three years. It's really nice to have that continued support from the community."

Labour won back their seat in Halesowen North.

Former deputy mayor, Hilary Bills lost her seat last year but is now back in office after beating Conservative Joe Roberts by 619 votes.

Deputy Dudley Labour leader Judy Foster retained her seat in Brockmoor and Pensnett with a 700-vote majority.

She said is absolutely elated to be doing another four years representing Brockmoor and Pensnett.

“The Labour party has not won anything in Brockmoor and Pensnett since I was last up for election in 2018 so this has been a wonderful result,” Cllr Foster added.

“I think the key issue on the doorsteps has been High Oak surgery – getting GP facilities back in Pensnett where they should be. That’s going to be my number one priority now moving forward.”

Speaking to the News about whether any more Labour gains were predicted, she said: “We always thought we would have Upper Gornal and Woodsetton and Halesowen North but we weren’t certain about other seats.

“Wollaston was a fantastic outcome for us, and Cat will be an amazing councillor.

“We are also delighted to have the amazing Hilary Bills back on our team and of course Adrian Hughes who ran a fantastic campaign.”

Overall, Cllr Patrick Harley said: "It's been a pretty good night for the Conservatives."

He added: "I think Labour will be disappointed that they've not made serious gains."

He said the results had shown the ambition and hard work of the Conservatives in Dudley and that victory in St James's ward had been the result of the night.

He added that he was disappointed to see hardworking councillors Nicolas Barlow and Chris Neale lose their seats, but he added: "Both will come back, I'm very confident."

The turnout of voters was considerably lower than last year with the lowest turnout in Quarry Bank and Dudley Wood with just 22.52 per cent compared to 26.08 per cent last year.

The highest turnout was for Wollaston and Stourbridge Town with 40.24 per cent.