THE Tories have held on to Worcester City Council with a one seat majority.

The party successfully maintained the status quo by holding on to all seven of their seats contested last night in the Faithful City, despite a resurgent challenge by the Labour Party.

Tory leader Simon Geraghty welcomed news that the Tories had held on.

But he expressed disappointment that the party failed to win the Arboretum ward with controversial candidate Melanie Heider.

Coun Geraghty refused to blame the revelation that Miss Heider had joined the UK Independence Party just weeks before the election on their failure to win. "It's very difficult to say what impact that had," he said.

On a brighter note, Coun Geraghty welcomed the Conservative's performance in Warndon Parish North where the party increased its majority to 269 votes.

Its new councillor for the ward is Douglas Wilkinson, who will replace Martin Clarke, who stepped down to concentrate on his business interests.

Coun Geraghty was particularly pleased with the result because Labour had fought an "ugly campaign", distancing themselves from a "decision" to introduce fortnightly rubbish collections.

The shock result of the night came in Nunnery ward, where Independent Keith Burton lost his seat to Labour's Simon Cronin.

Mr Burton attracted 700 votes, Mr Cronin, gained 804 votes - giving him a majority of 104.

Reacting to the result, the city's council's Labour leader Adrian Gregson said: "That's really good news. It shows that no matter what happens nationally Worcester people willingly back their belief in the Labour party.

"It's another nail in the coffin for the Independents and it means that the Tory cabinet can no longer rely on the independent vote to prop it up."

Mr Cronin said: "I'd like to thank all the team that helped in this election campaign."

It rounded off a bad night for the Independents who now have only one councillor left on the authority - Mike Layland. The Conservative's David Clark got the biggest majority - attracting 831 more votes than his nearest rival in the Bedwardine ward.

At the other end of the scale, Labour's Simon Cronin gained the Nunnery ward seat with a majority of just 104 votes.