THE Conservative Party regained control of Basildon Council after securing a majority in the local election.

The Conservatives, who went into the vote with 18 seats, took control of Laindon Park, Wickford Castledon, Wickford Park and claimed two seats in Pitsea South East to take their tally up to 23.

Previously, Labour, Ukip and independent councillors had joined forces to overthrow the Tory administration, but the Conservative councillors now out number them.

Labour, who went into the day of the local election with nine seats on the council, could only add Fryerns, Lee Chapel North and Pitsea North West to result in a gain of three councillors.

Ukip’s 10 seats were halved, while Kerry Smith and Imelda Clancy were independent winners in Nethermayne and Langdon Hills respectively.

But it was the Conservatives who were celebrating as Luke Mackenzie and Craig Rimmer’s gains in Pitsea South East - which was the final count to be announced - allowed the party to claim a majority.

And Andrew Schrader, who managed to retain control of Billericay East, admitted he was delighted with the result.

Mr Schrader, who notched 2,584 votes, said: “I’m chuffed to bits.

“It was a disappointing result for us in Langdon Hills because we really hoped to pick that one up.

“Other candidates in Pitsea North West and Nethermayne put in really stellar campaigns but were unable to take control.

“But what a winner Pitsea South East was, along with Laindon Park.

“Of course, it now means we have taken administration and we’re back in charge of the council, so the hard work starts here.

“We’ve got a lot of ambitions for the borough.

“We have a lot of regeneration plans for Basildon town centre, as well as a range of targets we want to achieve in Laindon and all over the borough.”

The Conservatives profited from Ukip being unable to prop up Labour.

And Mr Schrader, who has big plans for his Billericay East ward, confirmed it was important to snap up seats lost by Ukip.

He added: “It was important to pick up a lot of the seats that Ukip lost and we’re over the moon with what we have achieved.

“I’m very pleased that the good people of Billericay East have placed their trust in me.

“It’s a real honour to represent that seat because it’s where I grew up and I’ve got a lot of love for the town, so I’m absolutely delighted to be representing them for another four years.

“I want to see Pitsea swimming pool renovated and some work done in Billericay High Street.

“I’m sure other people in the group will have ideas of what they want to do in their areas.

“We have got a lot of work to do now.”

Meanwhile, Gavin Callaghan - who began the day as the leader of the council - took to social media to reveal his frustrations.

Mr Callaghan tweeted: “Fun while it lasted.

“Pitsea South East has gone into the top 10 per cent most economically deprived wards in the country. The Tories have won two seats there to take back control of Basildon Council. Shouldn’t be happening.”