CONCERNS are mounting Darlington could have seen one of the lowest ever turn-outs for a borough council election.

After several hours of voting, electoral officials at numerous polling stations reported that much fewer voters had attended than had in 2015, which saw up to 77 per cent of the electorate voting in wards such as Park West and Humersknott.

More than 2,700 residents were eligible to vote at the Park West polling stations in All Saint’s Millennium Centre, Ravensdale Road, and at St Augustine’s Parish Centre, Larchfield Street, but the scenes at both were very quiet as the fifth hour of voting started.

Park West candidate and Tory group leader Heather Scott said while it was difficult to gauge the overall level of turn-out across the town, it was clear “certain areas have been very slow”.

She said: “I think the turn-out will be down – local election turn-outs are usually less than general elections – Brexit could well have had an effect in certain parts of the town.

“However, when we were canvassing only a small number of people referred to Brexit. Residents said they wanted change following many years of Labour.”

Across town in North Road ward Liberal Democrat candidate Anne-Marie Curry said despite a lack of voters she was optimistic that her party could take all three seats in the ward.

“In 2015 it was buzzing, there were loads of people voting all the time. There is a lot of people who are really disgusted with politics”, she said. “Some people have said they will never vote again.”

There were similarly quiet scenes in the early afternoon at the polling stations in Geneva Road Evangelical Baptist Church and Firthmoor Community Centre in Eastbourne ward.

Entering the latter, Roddy Crichlow, who is stepping down from the authority after 32 years as a Labour councillor, said he believed the apparent low turn-out could be related to national political issues, such as the NHS.

However, Independent candidate for the ward Kevin Nicholson said he remained convinced that councillors who visible and followed through on their pledges encouraged loyalty among voters.

He said he had walked 32 miles canvassing voters on the day before the election.

Mr Nicholson said: “It was a real shock when I was elected four years ago, but I am more nervous this time around - it is a four-year job interview. Whatever the result, I am really proud to have engaged with people in my area.”