The Conservatives strengthened their hold on East Dorset District Council, taking seats from the Liberal Democrats and standing unopposed in eight wards.

Election night saw few surprises, but a few closely fought contests, particularly in Corfe Mullen South, where Conservative councillor Patrick Edwards won by just six votes.

All of the council’s political heavyweights were re-elected. Council leader, Cllr Spencer Flower, was returned unopposed in Holt, while Liberal Democrat group leader, Cllr Anne Holland, retained her Corfe Mullen North seat by a comfortable margin.

Cllr Flower said his candidates had communicated a strong message, adding that the AV referendum had boosted turn out for a district council election he said had been contested in a good spirit.

Cllr Holland said that she and her husband, Corfe Mullen Central councillor, Paul Holland, were pleased by “the continued endorsement of voters" in their Corfe Mullen wards, and in Colehill East, where two Liberal Democrat councillors were returned, but disappointed by the loss of four councillors in Corfe Mullen and West Moors.

Verwood councillor, Toni Coombs, said voters had responded to strong leadership from the council's new chief executive and to the "coalition effect."

Long-serving councillor, Pat Hymers, topped the poll in Wimborne Minster for the Liberal Democrats, finishing ahead of Conservative town and county councillor, and her Liberal Democrat colleague, Cllr David Morgan.

Alderholt, Crane, Ferndown Central, Ferndown Links, Handley Vale, Holt, Verwood Dewlands, and Verwood Stephen’s Court were all uncontested, returning Conservative councillors in each ward.

West Moors returned three Conservative councillors with large majorities.