The Conservatives have lost their long-standing control of Arun District Council, with the Liberal Democrats now the largest party.
All 54 seats were up for grabs, with the Tories previously holding 42 of them.
Arun has never been anything other than a Tory majority, with its history dating back to 1973
But early losses of leader Gill Brown, along with several cabinet members, saw their massive majority eaten away – and now they hold just 21 seats. according to our calculations.
The Lib Dems, thanks to a final flourish, ended on 22 seats, with the Greens winning their first two, Labour on one and Independents on eight.
Commenting on the success, Lib Dem group leader Dan Purchese said: “It’s important now that all the parties take a good look at what the parties have said, what they voted for. It’s time for serious thought about how we can best serve local residents because quite frankly they have been really let down.”
“The turn out is not as low as some people were predicting. A lot of people are passionate about the problems facing Arun and they came out and voted with their feet.”
The Lib Dems notably took both Yapton seats, with Amanda Worne and Henry Jones being elected.
Councillor Worne said: “I think we were hoping we were in with a good chance of doing quite well but the results blew me away.”
The paralysed Yapton mum added: “I think the people in the district of Yapton feel that over the past few things Yapton has changed significantly and their voices of protest have not been heard.
“I feel Henry and I struck a chord with many people as we are both local and both want the same things as many of the local people want.
We are going to try and do our very best to work with our fellow villagers and hopefully make some positive changes ahead of us. Without their support and votes we would not be in the position we are now so now we need to work really hard to look after our village in the people who live in it.”
Councillor Jones said the Lib Dems’ campaigns ‘really focussed on local issues’. He continued: “I think our success came from listening to residents’ ideas and working with those, rather than any Brexit-related protest voting.
“Of course I’m sure there are many remainers who did vote for us, but we only won because we were able to show we stand for local issues first and foremost. It’s also interesting how well our district mirrors the national results – losses for Conservatives; gains for Lib Dems, independents and a few greens too!”
Lib Dems’ Francis Oppler said it was a ‘fabulous result’. He added: “Four years ago, we had five councillors elected, now we have got 22 elected and a minority control of Arun District Council. It’s a huge vote of confidence and we will be listening and accountable to everybody.”
Councillor Oppler also expressed his feeling that the Conservatives had got the Local Plan ‘desperately wrong’.
He continued: “They have been chance after chance to alter it and they haven’t. That will be one of our first jobs. Also Bognor Regeneration has been going nowhere for ten years and that is another big task ahead. We will commit to the Sunken Gardens not to be destroyed.”
Lib Dem councillor Matt Stanley hailed an ‘amazing day’.
He said: “We had a huge opportunity in Bognor Regis and also in the Arun district and it’s fantastic that our community has taken that opportunity.”
RIVER – LIB DEM HOLD/ TWO LIB DEM GAINS: Tracey Baker (Lib) 912, George Blampied (Con) 414, Philip Booker (Con) 494, Ian Buckland (Lib) 962, Alan Butcher (Lab) 488, Bernadette Millam (Lab) 441, George O’Neill (Lab) 514, David Paige (Con) 365, Emily Seex (Lib) 821, Steven Trigg (UKIP) 362
PAGHAM – IND GAIN: Alistair Black (Lab) 147, Paul Davis (UKIP) 283, Dawn Hall (Con) 475, June Hamilton (Ind) 1257, David Huntley (Ind) 1438, Ash Patel (Con) 378, Helen Scutt (Lab) 103, Paul Wyatt (Green) 156
PEVENSEY – IND HOLD/LIB GAIN: Sandra Daniells (Ind) 403, Pat Dillon (Con) 266, Inna Erskine (Lib) 396, John Erskine (Lib) 319, Simon McDougall (Lab) 197, Linda Sheppard (Lab) 182
MARINE – IND HOLD/LIB HOLD: Nigel Alner (Lab) 173, Jim Brooks (Ind) 684, Alison Sharples (Lab) 212, Matt Stanley (Lib) 429, Kim-Marie Stone (Con) 253
BERSTED – LIB GAIN: Kenton Batley (Lib) 760, Susan Bence (Con) 427, Keir Greenway (Con) 474, Graham Levell (Con) 375, Martin Lury (Lib) 704, Ann Rapnik (UKIP) 433, Heather Robbins (Lab) 228, Jeremy Tomlinson (Lab) 208, Michelle White (Lab) 179, Gillian Yeates (Lib) 742
ORCHARD – LIB HOLD/LIB GAIN: Jan Cosgrove (Lab) 231, David Darling (Con) 238, Alan Foster (Lab) 139, Susan Livett (Green) 169, Francis Oppler (Lib) 501, Samantha Staniforth (Lib) 381, Phil Woodall (Ind) 306
RUSTINGTON EAST – CON HOLD/CON GAIN: David Chace (Lib) 466, Alison Cooper (Con) 975, Shaun Gunner (Con) 861, Jessica Halligan (Lib) 497, Christopher Walsh (Lab) 177
FERRING – CON HOLD: Roger Elkins (Con) 1070, Dorothy Macedo (Lab) 269, Adrian Midgley (Lib) 215, Peter Muncey (228), Colin Oliver-Redgate (Con) 1069
EAST PRESTON – CON HOLD: Ricky Bower (Con) 1524, Robert Burn (Lib) 634, Terry Chapman (Con) 1528, Anthony Dines (Lab) 493, Paul Kelly (Con) 1443, Malcolm Taylor-Walsh (Lib) 640
BARNHAM – TWO CON HOLDS, GREEN GAIN: Michael Chapman (Lib) 654, John Charles (Con) 753, Christopher Hughes (Con) 932, Adrian Thorpe (Lib) 498, Isabel Thurston (Green) 822, Kristian Vill (400), Laurence Wiltshire (Con) 659
COURTWICK WITH TODDINGTON – TWO CON HOLDS, LAB HOLD: Kevin Blake (388), June Caffyn (Con) 645, Jill Long (Con) 547, Maralyn May (Lab) 543, Mike Northeast (Lab) 631, Vicky Rhodes (Con) 586, Freddie Tandy (Lab) 543
ANGMERING & FINDON – CON HOLD: Alison Baker (Lab) 539, Paul Bicknell (Con) 1405, Mike Clayden (Con) 1168, Andy Cooper (Con) 1177, Jean Dunning (UKIP) 450, John Richards (Lib) 760, George Schlich (Lib) 680
MIDDLETON-ON-SEA – CON HOLD/IND GAIN: David Box (129), Shirley Haywood (Ind) 637, Graham Jones (Ind) 522, Richard Missenden (Lab) 80, Jacqui Pendleton (Con) 643, Lawrence Walder (Lib) 112, Sam Walker (Lab) 80, Paul Wotherspoon (Con) 582
ARUNDEL & WALBERTON – TWO CON HOLDS/GREEN GAIN: Faye Catterson (Green) 884, Gilbert Cockburn (Lib) 642, Paul Dendle (Con) 1088, Paul Graydon (Lib) 546, Grant Roberts (Con) 923, Elizabeth Wallace (UKIP) 388, Michael Ward (Lab) 423, Robert Wheal (Con) 852
RUSTINGTON WEST – LIB DEM GAIN: Jamie Bennett (Lib) 1226, Philippa Bower (Con) 942, Pauline Gregory (Lib) 1281, Stephen Horne (Con) 885, Nigel Stapley (Lab) 258, William Tilbrook (Lib) 1128, Lucy Toynbee (Lab) 269, Mark Turner (Con) 876
FELPHAM WEST – CON HOLD: Jeffrey Daws (Lab) 151, Richard Gotheridge (Lib) 361, Gillian Madeley (Con) 747, Bernard May (Lab) 142, Elaine Stainton (Con) 693, Robert Waterhouse (Lib 343)
ALDWICK WEST – LIB DEM HOLD/LIB DEM GAIN: Lynne Armstrong Lilley (Lab) 121, Carol Birch (Green) 274, David Gerrie (Con) 529, Ian Manion (Lab) 156, Claire Needs (Lib) 595, Martin Smith (Lib) 722, Caroline Spencer (Con) 552, Matilda Watson (UKIP) 382
FELHAM EAST – CON HOLD: David Edwards (Con) 698, Paul English (Con) 725, Wayne Smith (Lib) 480
HOTHAM – LIB DEM HOLD/IND GAIN – John Barrett (Lib) 334, Jeanette Chapman (Lib) 340, Joan English (207), Steve Goodheart (Ind) 415, David Meagher (Lab) 154, Roger Nash (Lab) 137, Chloe Newby (UKIP) 193, Stephen Reynolds (Con) 201
BROOKFIELD – LIB DEM GAIN: Christopher Blanchard-Cooper (Lib) 1376, Billy Blanchard-Cooper (Lib) 1401, Neil Campbell (Lab) 236, Alan Gammon (Con) 709, Mick Warren (Con) 707, Christine Wiltshire (Lab) 240
YAPTON – LIB DEM GAIN: Derek Amber (Con) 371, Stephen Haymes (Con) 382, Joshua Jones (Lib) 550, Douglas Maw (Green) 254, Patricia Wales (UKIP) 277, Amanda Worne (Lib) 800
ALDWICK EAST – IND GAIN: Tony Dixon (Independent) 1,089, Hugh Coster (Independent) 1,086, Trevor Bence (Con) 789, Gill Brown (Con) 742.
BEACH – LIB DEM HOLD: David Britton (Con) 337, David Gaskin (Con) 336, Robert Gowland (Lab) 136, Stephen McConnell (Lab) 135, Dan Purchese (Lib) 833, James Walsh (945)