THE Liberal Democrats snatched Itchen Valley from the Conservatives in the Hampshire County Council elections.

In a 76.22 turnout, Jacqueline Porter took the seat from Tory hopeful and Winchester City Council member for Wonston and Micheldever, Barry Lipscomb, by just 56 votes after a second recount.

A disappointed Mr Lipscomb said: "I was looking forward to joining an extremely good team at Hampshire County Council. One of the biggest problems was fighting the county election at the same time as a General Election.

"I won't be standing for the county council elections again - but that is not sour grapes, I had made that decision before the result."

Mrs Porter said: "I am extremely pleased and honoured that so many people took the trouble to come out and vote. I don't think I know of a time when the seat wasn't in Tory hands."

She added that the issues she would be concentrating on were road safety in the whole division and the quality of the roads, as well as, social care in the area.

Despite this Lib-Dem victory, the outlook for Winchester's county districts remained much the same.

Conservative city council member for Denmead, Frederick Allgood, took the newly-created Winchester Southern Parishes and Helen (Felicity) Hindson held the Meon Valley for the Tories.

Charlotte Bailey retained Winchester Downlands for the Liberal Democrats, after Anne Bailey - no relation - stood down, although the Tories lost out by only 420 votes.

The count for the Gosport district of Leesland and Town continued until Monday, when Peter Edgar, Conservative, and Keith Gill, Lib-Dem were declared winners of the two seats up for election.

The Conservative party retained overall control of the council.

They won 46 seats; the Liberal Democrats won 28 seats and the Labour party won four seats.

Due to boundary changes, there are now 78 councillors instead of 74 and since the 2001 elections the Tories have gained one seat, the Liberal Democrats, eight seats and Labour lost five seats.

l There were also two Winchester City Council by-elections on Thursday in last week, both seats remaining in Tory hands with comfortable majorities. Michael Anthony replaces Caroline Watts at Whiteley while Stephen Godfrey succeeds Kenneth Oxley at Wonston and Micheldever.

COUNTY councillors for the area covered by the Hampshire Chronicle are as follows:

Alton Rural: Mark Kemp-Gee (Con).

Bishopstoke and Fair Oak: Angela Roling (Lib-Dem).

Botley and Hedge End: Derek Blampied (Lib-Dem).

Chandler's Ford: Colin Davidovitz ( Con).

Eastleigh East: Glynn Davies-Dear (Lib-Dem).

Eastleigh West: Alan Broadhurst (Lib-Dem).

Hamble: Keith House (Lib-Dem).

West End and Hedge End Grange Park: Carol Boulton (Lib-Dem).

Baddesley: Alan Dowden (Lib-Dem).

Romsey Extra: Roy Perry (Con).

Romsey Town: Mark Cooper (Lib-Dem).

Test Valley Central: Michael Woodhall (Con).

Bishop's Waltham: Peter Mason (Lib-Dem).

Itchen Valley: Jacqueline Porter (Lib-Dem).

Meon Valley: Felicity Hindson (Con).

Winchester Downlands: Charlotte Bailey (Lib-Dem).

Winchester Eastgate: Winchester Southern Parishes: Frederick Allgood (Con).

Winchester Westgate: Phrynette Dickens (Lib-Dem).