The Conservatives lost two seats on Epping Forest District Council today (May 7), in elections that saw little other change across the district.

In Buckhurst Hill East, the Green party’s Simon Heap replaced Neville Wright and in the Loughton Forest Ward, Amy Beales and Roger Baldwin from the Loughton Residents Association (LRA) were successful while the Conservatives lost one councillor.

The majority-holding party now has 35 seats on the district council, while the LRA remains the second largest party.

Parish and town council votes were also counted today, with the biggest upset coming in Buckhurst Hill West.

Freshly independent Sylvia Watson pushed out her former Conservative colleague and council chairman Aniket Patel by just seven votes out of 7,020.

Speaking after all counts were finished, Epping Forest Conservative Association chairman councillor Gagan Mohindra said: “I think generally it has been a good result.

“We have lost a couple of hardworking district councillors but it is a hard time in the electoral cycle, so all-in-all an OK result.”

“The hope is to take back the seats, the aim is to have Conservatives in the whole of the district.”

Simon Heap said he was “humbled” to join Steven Neville as a Green councillor in Buckhurst Hill, receiving 45 per cent of Thursday’s vote compared to his Conservative predecessor, who took 41 per cent.

He added: “As a councillor, what I am hoping to achieve is protecting the green belt and improving public transport so we don’t have to be so reliant on cars, by making sure buses keep running for a start.”

The LRA said it was “delighted” that all its candidates were elected.

The Conservatives held 12 seats, the LRA took eight overall and Liberal Democrat Jon Whitehouse said he was “very grateful for local people’s support” as he kept his Epping Hemnall seat.

Conservative council leader Chris Whitbread – who has been joined by his daughter Holly on the council – claimed his party has done well given the general election was one year ago.

He said the council’s main priority is the creation of a new local plan, which designates areas that can be developed.

However, he was unable to say whether this would be completed by 2017, saying instead that consultation will be carried out in autumn this year.

He said: “By the end of the local plan I will be 70 and my children will be 40, so clearly we are looking at future generations but we are also thinking of what will protect our green belt… we are getting there slowly, we need to do it once and do it right first time.”

Across the district, the average voter turnout was 30.46 per cent.

Buckhurst Hill East had the highest turnout, with 41 per cent of registered voters having their say, while Waltham Abbey Honey Lane and South West wards had the joint lowest turnouts with 23 per cent each.

Conservative Roger Hirst was announced as the new Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Essex yesterday (May 6).