CONSERVATIVE leader Barry Wood said it was business as usual after the party retained control of Cherwell District Council.

There were three casualties on the night. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Cotter lost his seat to Conservative candidate Lynn Pratt.

Labour gained two seats from the Conservatives. First time councillor Andrew Beere won the Banbury Grimsbury and Castle seat beating sitting councillor Chris Smithson, Conservative, by just 15 votes.

Former district councillor Patrick Cartledge retook the Banbury Ruscote seat, beating Keith Strangwood, Conservative, by 296 votes. He lost the seat in 2008.

After his defeat Mr Cotter said the result reflected results for the Liberal Democrats nationwide.

He said: “We will be looking for a new group leader.

“It was a rather disappointing night for the Liberal Democrats both locally and across the country.

“But at the end of the day you have got to take the rough with the smooth.”

A total of 16 seats were up for election for the Bodicote based council. All other sitting councillors retained their seats. Mike Kerford-Byrnes, conservative, replaced Luke Annaly who stepped down.

Mr Wood said: “Obviously we are sorry to lose a couple of seats to Labour but they are coming back in the national polls. We are pleased to win the Liberal Democrat leader’s seat – this is indicative of the Liberal Democrats slipping away in local Government.

“For us it’s business as usual.”