A newly elected Independent councillor has pledged to put residents’ needs first after taking over a formerly Labour seat.
The by-election for the vacant Hart Ward seat on Hartlepool Borough Council saw James Brewer (Independent) elected on Thursday night.
Coun Brewer got 637 votes, followed by Aileen Kendon, the Labour Party candidate, who got 582 votes.
Cameron Stokell, the Conservative candidate, got 200 votes and Green Party candidate, Michael Holt, got 27 votes.
Coun Brewer’s victory marks a gain for the Independents in Hartlepool, which now have eight representatives on the council, with the seat previously belonging to Labour’s Paul Beck.
After serving as mayor last year Mr Beck announced in August he would be resigning from his role as councillor for the Hart ward, leading to the by-election.
Coun Brewer will work alongside fellow Independent Coun Thomas Cassidy in representing the Hart Ward.
He said his intentions are to stay away from party politics and focus on residents needs, and added he expects Independents to continue to grow in Hartlepool.
Coun Brewer said: “It’s a huge relief to be successful, we put in so much work to the election.
“I’m glad that people are finally starting to work out the way things are changing in Hartlepool.
“People are sick of party politics, the whole idea of an Independent is that they just focus on the residents.
“The first thing I want to do is set up a properly recognised Clavering and Bishop Cuthberts residents group to work with the council.
“I want to try and focus on adult services, definitely not enough is being done, some steps are being taken in the right direction but there needs to be more.
“We’ve got seven months in office before re-election and it’s time for people to see what two Independents in one area can do in a short space of time, I think people will be pleasantly surprised.”
The make-up of the council is now: Labour 18, Independents 8, Conservatives 3 and Putting Hartlepool First 4.