UKIP won three seats on Rochford District Council in Thursday’s elections as the Conservative grip loosened.

Labour also won their first seat on the council as the number of parties represented in the 39 seats increased to seven.

Despite losing three seats on the night, the Conservatives still have a majority 26 seats and escaped the chastening experience of their Tory colleagues in other parts of south Essex.

UKIP won the first two wards to be declared with Jamie Burton winning Grange and Neil Hookway victorious in Foulness and Great Wakering, proclaiming the win as a building block for the party.

He said: “This is a ground breaking result in this area.

“It is an extremely good result for us and is just a building block for us to help change and build the lives of our residents.”

It was not all positive for the Euro-sceptics though as they lost out in Hawkwell North, a hotly contested ward, as Conservative Jo McPherson maintained her seat by 68 votes over Rayleigh South county councillor Keith Gibbs.

She said: “I am looking forward to returning to work for a council that is debt free, award winning and lead by the Conservatives."

Labour’s Jerry Gibson unseated James Cottis in the Rochford ward to give his party a sole seat on the council.

He said: “I am very pleased, it was a hard fought campaign but I have been living in Rochford for 20 years and so have a bit of a personal vote in the town."

Elsewhere, Liberal Democrat Chris Black held his Downhall and Rawreth seat, for a 31st year on the council, as did sitting councillor Rochford District Residents’ John Mason in Hawkwell West, and the Green Party’s Michael Hoy in Hullbridge.

UKIP’s third seat was won by John Hayter in Trinity, and the Conservatives won their remaining five seats in Wheatley, Whitehouse, Hawkwell South, Hockley Central and Rayleigh Central.