LABOUR remain in control of Bury Council following a set of results which left the Conservatives ruing what they saw as a lost opportunity.

Overall Labour lost one seat to finish with 27 but the Tories were unable to make any real gains across the Borough and remain with 15 seats.

Labour were able to win Ramsbottom from the Conservatives with voters also returning to the party in Prestwich following previous concerns about Labour's antisemitism issues.

Sedgley also voted Labour with Conservative Carrol Bernstein losing her seat.

Perhaps the story of the day was the success of the hyper-local party Radcliffe First who gained two seats at the expense of Labour to add to their two seats in the town.

For Labour's Council Leader, Eamonn O'Brien, it was an evening where he and his colleagues could breath a sigh of relief after the widely predicted Conservative onslaught failed to materialise.

"Considering our expectations and the national picture we think this is a very decent set of results for us," said Cllr O'Brien. "Yes, we've lost a few areas but we've got to plan to win those areas back. It will take time but we need to listen to people there and bring them along with that plan and I have total confidence that we can do that in the future.

"But overall it is a decent set of results. The Conservatives must be kicking themselves because quite frankly this was a great opportunity for them to take control of the council and the people of Bury told them 'we don't want you'.

Bury South's Conservative MP Christian Wakeford agreed it had been a disappointing night for his party in Bury despite gaining Elton and Radcliffe North.

"I think it's a chance missed," said Mr Wakeford, who pointed to the popularity of Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, as a deciding factor."When we look at the national picture we are on course for the hat-trick of Tees Valley, Andy Street and Hartlepool so nationally we've done fantastic and across the country we've done incredibly well but locally we are treading water with two gains and two losses.

"In Radcliffe it looks like the town has finally given up on Labour after being forgotten for so many years, but it does feel like more could have been done.

"I think there has been a 'Burnham-effect' here and that has certainly cost us one seat and maybe more."

Mr Wakeford added that the rivalries between Bury's council and its MPs also created its own problems.

"It's something we need to overcome," he said. "We need to find a way to compromise more and achieve everything we want to. Compromise isn't a dirty word and we need to start making sure some of these forgotten towns across Greater Manchester are actually listened to."

For Radcliffe First, four councillors at the Town Hall means the party's aim to give the town a "strong voice" is being fulfilled with 24-year-old Gareth Staples-Jones now representing Radcliffe West.

"It has been a great day for us," said Mike Smith, who was elected as Radcliffe West's councillor in a by-election in August 2019. "We were relatively confident but to get 900 votes in Radcliffe North from a standing star was absolutely amazing. It was something we didn't expect and is one of the most pleasing aspects for us.

"The Green Belt has been a huge issue in Radcliffe East and regeneration and the feeling that we're a forgotten town has been massive in Radcliffe West.

"The plan now is to drive the regeneration that was promised in 2004 to some sort of fruition. I'm sure the opposition parties will agree that they have been over-promising and under-delivering for such a long time and that is what brought about the creation of this party and that is what will drive us forward in the future."

One third of the council’s 51 seats were contested, one in each of the borough’s 17 electoral wards. A further two seats, in Moorside and North Manor, were up for election.

The new balance on Bury Council is: Labour 27 seats, Conservatives 15, Liberal Democrats 4, Radcliffe First 4 and Unaligned 1.