POPLEY has elected three new Labour candidates as two wards combined to create one.

Sajish Tom, Jacky Tustain and Grant Donohoe all secured seats in their first borough council elections.

Describing himself as “inexperienced”, Sajish told the Gazette: “The main thing is we need to prove ourselves. We have a lot of enthusiasm.

“I would like to say a massive thank you to our Popley community. Popley stands with Labour, and it is our job now to do our best for them.”

Labour party leader Andy McCormick described the Popley results as “the highlight of our day” and welcomed the election of “fresh blood”.

“It is sad to see people go but we will embrace the change,” he said.

“It was great to see us get three candidates in Popley who are all brand new.”

Jacky Tustain, who was also elected to Hampshire County Council on Friday in the Basingstoke North division, added: “I’m fresh blood but an old resident.

“I have lived in Popley for 25 years and Basingstoke for 50 years. I have brought my boys up here. So I really know the area.”

She added that the group “see ourselves as a team” and are “really excited to get this opportunity and try and make some change.”

Grant Donohoe echoed this sentiment, saying: "What we are really excited about is that we really wanted all three of us.

“Popley is on it’s way up, and we are going to try and help that happen.”

Grant said that all three are “keen environmentalists” and the others agreed that the environment, including local parks, litter and waste disposal, and parking, would be priority areas of focus.

The election of three fresh faces comes after Jane and Paul Frankum (Labour) both retired from their roles in Popley West after 23 and 22 years respectively.

Meanwhile from Popley East, Janet Westbrook (BDI) also stepped down, while David Potter (BDI) was not reelected.

Jane Frankum previously expressed her concern about the inexperience of the incoming candidates.

“The candidates that are taking our place have absolutely no experience of council work,” she said.