The make up of a coastal council is in the balance, with no party having an overall majority at East Suffolk Council. 

In only its second election as a unified authority, following the merger of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney four years ago, there was joy for the Greens, dismay for the Tories and gains for both the Lib Dems and Labour after a fascinating day. 

As a thunderstorm hit the east coast, the winds of change swept through the corridors of power as the district’s election count was held at Waterlane Leisure Centre in Lowestoft. 

With the council previously run by the Conservative administration, with 39 seats, the Tories lost 24 seats on a day where the overall turnout was 34.2pc. 

The Green Party gained 11 seats, to take them up to 16 – just ahead of the Conservatives on 15. 

Labour gained five seats, while the Liberal Democrats gained eight seats to move both parties up to 12 and 11 seats respectively, with one independent. 

The final make-up of the council was Green 16, Conservative 15, Labour 12, Lib Dem 11 and Independent one.  

With the Conservatives the only group to contest every seat on the 55-member council, two of the first three wards to declare – at Carlton Colville, and the Carlton and Whitton ward - saw the Tories hold all four of the Lowestoft-area seats. 

But the tone was soon set, as the Greens gained an early seat from the Tories in the Carlford & Fynn Valley ward. 

Lowestoft Journal: Craig Rivett and Myles Scrancher, the Carlton Colville elected candidates, with Waveney MP Peter Aldous. Picture: Mick HowesCraig Rivett and Myles Scrancher, the Carlton Colville elected candidates, with Waveney MP Peter Aldous. Picture: Mick Howes (Image: Mick Howes)

East Suffolk Council deputy leader Craig Rivett retained his Carlton Colville seat in the opening declaration of the morning, but his prediction of a "difficult day" for the district's Conservatives soon became apparent. 

He had said: "Do I think we are going to buck the national trend?  

“I definitely don't think so. I think it is going to be a difficult day." 

There were jubilant scenes as Toby Hammond and Anthony Speca were elected for the Greens in Bungay and Wainford, as they gained two seats from the Tories. 

Similarly, Beth Keys-Holloway and Geoffrey Wakeling were elected in the Halesworth & Blything ward as the Greens captured two more seats from the Conservatives. 

The victorious Greens in Halesworth and Blything believed the election of the Green Party's Annette Dunning to Suffolk County Council was a turning point that has triggered a swathe of Green councillors being elected to East Suffolk Council. 

Mr Wakeling said: "It made people sit up and realise that the Green Party is not a wasted vote and Greens can make a difference." 

His fellow newly-elected Green councillor, Ms Keys-Holloway, added: "The younger generation are very aware of the importance of green spaces and they are using their vote to make a change." 

Not long after this, the Greens held their three seats in Beccles & Worlingham as Sarah Plummer, Sheryl Rumble and Caroline Topping celebrated a memorable day for the Green Party.