The Conservatives won back a majority at last night's local council elections in Elmbridge.

Four extra seats were won by the Tories in Long Ditton, Walton Central, Walton North and Hersham North, stretching their influence to 32 of the 60 councillors in the borough.

Among the winners was Rowan Cole, who at the age of 20 is the borough's youngest councillor, winning the Walton Central seat by a tight margin of 44 votes.

The former Rydens school pupil, who now works in marketing in Byfleet, is the first Tory to take over the Walton central seat since 1987, before he was even born.

Sun columnist Kelvin MacKenzie failed to grasp the Weybridge South vote, despite a high-profile media campaign based on the cost of car parking in Elmbridge.

Independent candidate Mr MacKenzie lost by 227 votes to 679 for Conservative seat holder Glenn Dearlove.

Despite his bad result, Mr MacKenzie vowed to stand again for the next two years and to keep a close eye on the council through the eyes of the media.

He said: "This is from a standing start. I decided to stand a month before the election so I'm very grateful. It just goes to show that conservatism is in the DNA of Weybridge so to get that result is fantastic.

"They knew the point I was making. My job is to make sure that money is not being misspent and I will strive to do that even if I'm not sat on the top table."

Councillor Glenn Dearlove claimed he never viewed the Sun columnist as a threat.

"He fought a campaign just through the media and he thought he would get away with it and it didn't work," he said.

"He has taken the socialist vote that wasn't there and unfortunately he has taken it from the Lib Dems."

Of the 60 seats on the council, 20 were decided this year. Eight councillors stood down, including Elmbridge Mayor Councillor Rosemary Dane, who retired after 20 years.

The most apathetic ward was Walton North, which saw a turn out of 27.79 per cent, while 46.16 per cent of electors in Weston Green turned out to vote Residents' Association candidate Lorraine Sharp into power.