IT was business as usual in North Yorkshire as the Conservatives swept to an easy majority in the county council elections.

The Tories gained ten seats to bring their total up to 55 out of 72 available, ensuring the authority remains under its control for the next four years. The party took several seats from the Liberal Democrats, including in Knaresborough and Ripon South.

In the Pickering and Malton area where fracking is a hot topic, Conservative candidate Greg White won the Pickering seat with a slim majority of just two votes, whilst the anti-fracking Independent Lindsay Burr kept her Malton seat.

The Stokesley area was the most closely contested in the Hambleton district, with a re-count needed to confirm that Liberal Democrat Bryn Griffiths retained his seat with just ten votes more than his Conservative competitor Richard Hudson.

Overall voter turn-out was 35.34 per cent, slightly higher than the 31.6 per cent who voted in 2013.

North Yorkshire County Council deputy leader Gareth Dadd, whose Thirsk seat was uncontested, said he "held out the hand of friendship" to all residents regardless of their political persuasion.

After the Hambleton count concluded at Hambleton Leisure Centre in Northallerton – with the Stokesley result announced last – Mr Dadd said: “I think it’s fair to say we are pleased.”

He added: “I think now we have a duty as elected members from the controlling group or opposition groups to work together and deliver for the communities of North Yorkshire which is what we exist for.”

Seven counts took place yesterday around the county. Dozens of councillors retained their seats, but there were also some new faces elected including Swale division winner Annabel Wilkinson who is entering county politics for the first time.

She admitted to being both "nervous and excited" before the result was announced and was delighted to have secured the Conservatives 1,376 votes more than her nearest rival, Fiona Yorke of the Green Party with 316.

A life-long Yorkshire resident, Ms Wilkinson said: “I have great fondness for the people and I want to do my best for them, and I will certainly try my best.”

The feeling on the streets of Northallerton following the result was somewhat apathetic, with many of the shoppers who spoke to The Northern Echo admitting that they did not vote in the council elections.

Pensioner Colin Walker, who has lived in the town for 60 years, said he takes an interest in local politics.

He added: “While there are some things I don’t quite agree about with them, you will never please all the people all the time.”

Another Northallerton resident of 30 years, who did not wish to be named and did not support the Tories, said it was “no surprise at all” to hear the Conservatives won another majority.

“I would never not vote, but I can see why people don’t bother because this result is par for the course in this part of North Yorkshire, whether locally or nationally."

She added: “It can feel like a waste of time."