A NEW councillor, who only decided to stand for election at the last minute, said he was “euphoric” when he heard that residents had chosen him as one of the candidates to represent Hook on Hart District Council.

Independent candidate Robert Leeson won 1,406 votes, in front of Conservative candidates Mike Morris (1,215), Brian Burchfield (1,143) and Jonathan Glen, who lost his seat with 1,134 votes.

Cllr Leeson said: “It was a rollercoaster ride through the campaign. It was a late decision to stand as I only really made my mind up about a month ago. It’s been absolutely hectic since then.

“There was a small group of friends and supporters who have been out campaigning, and we have been out for three weeks solid, calling on every house in Hook.”

Cllr Leeson said he decided he wanted to become a councillor because of the “planning situation” in Hook.

He explained: “Hart failed to get its Local Plan agreed so it is defenceless against developers coming in. Hook had an agreed level of development, and we now have applications surrounding the village.”

The 58-year-old father-of-two, who works as an IT consultant, added: “It’s a great place to live but it won’t be if someone concretes over the green space.”

Cllr Leeson, of Garden Close, Hook, said he was “shocked” when he heard the result at the election count, adding: “As they started counting, there was this dawning realisation that loads of people had voted for me. I was absolutely shocked. I’m euphoric about it.”

Mr Glen, who was Hart’s Cabinet member for the environment, was one of two top Conservative members to lose their seats. Gavin Evans, the Cabinet member for Fleet, also lost his seat in Fleet Central.

The election night results mean the Conservatives are still the single largest party with 14 councillors, followed by the Liberal Democrats and Community Campaign Hart, both with nine, and there is one Independent.

Talks were expected to take place this week about how the council would be run with no single party, or group, in overall control.