THE Liberal Democrats have seen off the challenge of UKIP and strengthened their hold in Eastleigh.

Despite early predictions last night that UKIP might take seats in the borough the party failed to take a single seat.

In fact the Liberal Democrats have gained a seat from an Independent candidate.

The two Conservative candidates Judith Grajewski and Margaret Atkinson both held on to the seats for the party.

Both UKIP and Labour failed to make any in-roads, though in several wards UKIP came within a few hundred votes of victory.

The make-up of the council now stands at 40 liberal democrats and four Conservatives.

Keith House hailed the result and said he felt the UKIP "bubble has burst exactly as we said it would".

He felt the Liberal Democrats past record in the area had been a large factor in the result.

However, UKIP's Martin Lyon, county councillor and branch secretary, said : "I think it's good to have a bit of optimism but we need to temper that with some realism.

"The Liberal Democrats on the ground are very strong and we're planning and we're slowly building."

He pointed out that in many wards UKIP had leapt from third or fourth place to second, but admitted the party was disappointed not to have gained a seat.