Wimbledon Residents Dominate Conservators' Election

Low turnout at 21% was 4.6% higher than in the 2015 election

The Wimbledon-based 'Supporters of the Commons' group won four of the five Conservator positions up for election, with Peter Hirsch, Sarah-Jane Holden, Diane Neil Mills and David Hince receiving the most votes.

Former Conservator Shirley Gilbe, from Putney, received the fifth largest proportion of the 13,867 votes and was also elected to join the Board of eight Conservators, which includes the three Conservators appointed by Government Departments. In the 2015 election she had received the most votes.

Former Conservator John Cameron who has consistently criticised the Conservators over the issue of a sale of land on Putney Common came second last in the vote.

Simon Lee, Chief Executive said: "The turnout at 21% is 4.6% higher than in the 2015 election, the increased turnout is welcomed and demonstrates that the Commons remain at the very heart of the local community. The opportunity in this election for electors to utilise electronic voting, which 46% did, has undoubtedly helped increase turnout and helped the finances of WPCC".

The number of eligible voters was 66,179. The number of votes cast was 13,867, of which 365 were invalid, giving 13,502 valid votes.

The results, as reported by ERS, are shown below:
Peter Hirsch 7,136
Sarah-Jane Holden 7,011
Diane Neil Mills 6,545
David Hince 6,339
Shirley Gillbe 5,822
Timothy Bowen 5,472
Brian Rutherford 4,809
Jonathan Callaway 4,340
John Cameron 4,335
Andrew Bignold 3,756.

Outgoing Board Chair Prue Whyte said afterwards: "Firstly I’d like to give my thanks to Appointed Conservator Mr Michael Rappolt, who as Returning Officer has overseen the election process in conjunction with ERS. Turnout was up by 28% from 16.4% to 21% which is very much welcomed and with the voice of the electorate having been received, I wish the new Board every success in moving forward from the turbulence of the past three years, to focus on the future governance of our cherished Commons.

"Another welcome trend in voting patterns was that the percent of those electors voting on-line, at 46% of the total of those voting, was much higher this time than last and this has saved the WPCC in the region of £700 in postage.

"In addition, ERS has provided a more detailed analysis of the 365 votes that were invalid. Of these 285 were spoilt papers, the majority where the voter had cast too many votes by writing in their own names into the box intended for candidates who nominated themselves after the ballot papers were printed as allowed by the 1871 Parliamentary Act.

"These voters effectively cast six votes rather than the five allowed. Of the rest eight were duplicates where the voter had cast a vote on-line and also submitted a postal response and 55 were from people on the Electoral Register who are under the age of 18 years of age whose vote had to be discounted."

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March 2, 2018