Outsted Mayor of Sunderland says ‘contentious planning applications’ may have cost him his seat

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OUSTED Mayor of Sunderland Bob Heron has vowed to continue on in politics after losing his seat on election night.

The Labour councillor lost by just 70 votes to independent candidate Anthony Allen in the Copt Hill ward.

Bob Heron

Bob Heron

Mr Heron conceded “contentious planning decisions” in the ward may have harmed his campaign.

“I’m gutted. We knew it was going to be close, it’s been very close over the past 10 years or so – but it’s been closer,” he said.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved with the city council and I’ve had a phenomenal year as mayor.

“But we’ve had quite a few contentious planning applications in the ward and that may well have swayed the decision.”

Copt Hill and neighbouring Houghton are always closely-fought battle grounds between Labour and independents from Residents Against Toxic Site (RATS), who campaign against the Houghton Quarry landfill site.

His wife and mayoress Juliana Heron herself lost her seat in Copt Hill in 2007 to independent leader Colin Wakefield, and failed to regain it in 2011.

Mr Heron said he was now going to have a rest and make a decision on the direction of his political career.

“I won’t be walking away from politics, I’ll still be there somewhere.”