SADDLEWORTH SEATS were shared in the borough elections in May with one apiece for the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats.
There were just 11 votes in it in Saddleworth South as incumbent John Hudson was re-elected for the Conservatives with 1201 votes ahead of Lib Dem Alan Belmore on 1190 votes.
A recount was called by Cllr Belmore, who serves along Cllr Hudson on Saddleworth Parish Council, after a first count showed a majority of just 13.
Cllr Hudson, 76, said: “I have lost by nine votes before so I know how it feels. I think this is my lowest ever majority. What a great achievement for a young person to do so well.
“I have been ill for the last six or seven weeks so have not been able to go out delivering leaflets and canvassing.
“I want to thank my team for their hard work and residents for voting for me. I am so pleased people remember what I have done and that they have re-elected me.
“I had good news from the specialist earlier this week that I am progressing so this is the icing on the cake.”
Cllr Belmore, 26, admitted he was disappointed to lose by such a fine margin but will continue to work hard for the people of Saddleworth.
“Time and time again people kept trying to write us off,” he said. “The Conservatives were saying in their leaflets that Lib Dems couldn’t win here. This result disagreed with that.
“We have closed the gap of several hundred votes right down to just 11 votes.
“Across Saddleworth we will continue to work hard for local people and campaign on local issues both at borough and Parish level.”
In Saddleworth West and Lees, the seat – which long-time councilor Val Sedgwick chose not to re-stand in for the Liberal Democrats – was one of only two in the borough to change control.
It was taken by Stephen Hewitt of Labour with 955 votes, with Ian Nurse in second place for UKIP with 768 votes.
But Cllr Hewitt insisted: “It is not about taking a seat off the Lib Dems. I’ve put in a lot of work with Cllr Adrian Alexander and taken his advice.
“We’ve worked that little bit harder and want to make a difference. I am very pleased to win the seat.
We live in a nice area. The streets are clean, there aren’t that many potholes and not that much crime so I want to help keep it like that.”
He added his priorities will be helping young people into work and accessing job opportunities as well as looking after old folk across the area.
Finally, in Saddleworth North incumbent Garth Harkness received 995 votes to hold onto his seat for the Lib Dems, with Valerie Leach of the Labour Party second with 552 votes.
Cllr Harkness said: “I am always a bit nervous but I am very pleased to hold the seat and even increase my majority – it was only about 56 votes last time.
“I am very pleased the people of Saddleworth have picked me to represent them for another four years.
“I have really enjoyed going out and speaking to them and seeing what their priorities are.”
He listed these as getting roads sorted, including addressing pot hole problems, and bringing a new health care centre with expanded services to Saddleworth.
“The school hasn’t come up that much,” revealed Cllr Harkness. “The majority of people just want the school to be built now.
“I have always said from the beginning we need a new school. If Diggle is the best site, I will support that.”
Elsewhere across the borough candidates contested 17 other seats, trying to win a spot on Oldham Council for the next four years.
The only other seat to change hands was In St Mary’s where Independent Aftab Hussain won with 2190 ahead of Labour councillor and cabinet member Arooj Shah on 1801 votes.
The Mayor of Oldham Ateeque Ur-Rehman held onto his seat for Labour in Medlock Vale with 1,954 votes.
This leaves Oldham Council comprised of 45 Labour councillors, nine Liberal Democrats, two Conservatives, two UKIPs and two independents.
The lowest voting turnout in the borough was in St James Ward (26.83 per cent) and the highest in St Mary’s (52.72 per cent).
Turnouts locally were Saddleworth North – 39.05 per cent, Saddleworth South – 40.00 per cent and Saddleworth West and Lees – 35.10 per cent.
Sean Curley (Conservative Party) – 479
Garth Harkness (Liberal Democrats) – 995
Catherine Hunter-Rossall (Green Party) – 81
Rob Knotts (Independent) – 444
Valerie Leach (Labour Party) – 552
Harry Moore (UKIP) – 424
Alan Belmore (Liberal Democrats) – 1190
John Hudson (Conservative Party) 1201
Ian Manners (Labour Party) – 785
Saddleworth West and Lees
Stephen Barrow (Liberal Democrats) – 705
Andris D’Adamo (Conservative Party) – 460
Stephen Hewitt (Labour Party) – 955
Ian Nurse (UKIP) – 768