A YOUNG Labour candidate has been elected as a county councillor after winning a by-election last night.

Curtis Bihari, 25, already a Ferryhill town councillor, won the Durham County Council Ferryhill by-election with 876 votes.

He and six other candidates stood in the by-election.

Independent candidate Glenys Newby came in second with 528 votes, followed by Conservative Party candidate Dave Farry with 348.

Another Independent candidate Joe Makepeace had 166 votes, Green Party candidate Rebecca Dixon-McWaters 165, Freedom Alliance candidate Kaela Banthorpe 28, and Liberal Democrat candidate Bill Thorkildsen had nine votes.

Read more: Call to scrap Durham 3% council tax rise is defeated

Councillor Bihari said: "I'm absolutely delighted to be honest.

"We've run a brilliant campaign, a really positive message, we've had a lot of support and we really put the work in on the ground.

"I always expected it to be close. We could see it unfold and we were going to win by a comfortable margin so I really was over the moon with that.

"I'm really looking forward to getting my teeth into it. I'm going to go on my first walkabout as a county councillor on Sunday."

The Northern Echo: Cllr Curtis Bihari. Picture: Curtis Bihari.Cllr Curtis Bihari. Picture: Curtis Bihari.

He said he wanted to start tackling anti-social behaviour: "I'm going to contact the Police and Crime Commissioner (Joy Allen) and the local police team.

"I want to be up to date and make sure the plans I've spoken to people about on the doorstep, to get those in place."

Durham Labour group leader Cllr Carl Marshall said: "What Curtis provided was a local fresh candidate who was really enthusiastic about where he lives and somebody who, already in his short time on the town council, made a real difference to people's lives.

"I think the residents just really feel upset and betrayed by the Conservative Party.

The Northern Echo: Cllr Carl Marshall. Picture: Northern Echo.Cllr Carl Marshall. Picture: Northern Echo. (Image: Northern Echo, Newsquest)

"He's already been working with the PCC to deal with anti-social behaviour down there and working with the existing Labour councillor Peter Atkinson.

"I know that's something he's really keen to get into.

"Tackling some of the social housing issues in Ferryhill was another area that Curtis spoke passionately about during the campaign so he's really really keen. He's eager to get going."

Read more: Durham Council to spend £120,000 on new chiefs

The by-election was held on Thursday (February 24) with a turnout of 26.2% following the death of veteran councillor Brian Avery last October.

Cllr Avery had served the Ferryhill, Kirk Merrington and Chilton areas of County Durham for decades, initially as a Labour member then Independent, and represented the Ferryhill ward of Durham County Council since May 2008.


Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054