CONTROL of Hyndburn Council remains with the Conservatives after they increased their one-seat majority to three.

Tory councillor Sue Haworth tightened her party's grip after taking Altham Ward from Labour.

The night saw Conservatives retain all seven of their seats which were being contested. The Conservatives now hold 19 seats, compared to Labour's 13, with three independents.

Labour party leader Coun Graham Jones kept hold of his seat in Accrington's Peel ward, but the party failed to make the one overall gain they needed to wrestle overall control from the Tories.

Cabinet member Allah Dad emerged victorious and retained his seat after a tight battle with Labour's Tariq Ali and Lib Dem's Ifty Khan in Central ward while Labour stalwart John McCormack lost his bid for a town hall comeback when he failed to take the seat of overview and scrutiny committee chairman Brian Walmsley in St Andrew's ward.

Returning council leader Coun Peter Britcliffe said: "It's an outstanding victory for us. Besides holding difficult seats, we have gained Altham, which we have not held for many years and we have increased our majority in Hyndburn Council. We are absolutely delighted with the result, which we have worked very hard towards."

Coun Jones said: "We are not disappointed. We have seen how committed the Labour group are to residents. The Conservatives have only won by a handful of votes, when the wind is in their sails. I would like to thank all the Conservative supporters in Hyndburn who voted for us, because there are a lot of them.

"They committed to something they do not believe in nationally because they were more concerend about the local council. They are the real heroes."

Coun Haworth's victory in Altham marks her return to the council following a six-year break. She said: "I'm very pleased, I had no idea which way it would go. It can be very close and you never know how low the turn-out will be. I have no plans at present for the ward, I'm more interested in hearing what the people there have in mind for a while."

Hyndburn turn-out of votes was 37.9%, similar to last year. Hyndburn was controlled by Labour for 15 years until 1999 when the Tories won power. They have stayed in control ever since except for the 2002/03 year.