The Conservatives have bucked the national trend to emerge as the largest party in Herefordshire following yesterday's (May 4) elections - but are still without an overall majority in the county.

The party took 21 seats, up from from 14, but short of the 27 required for an outright majority in the 53-seat council.

Dan Hurcomb, chairman of the North Herefordshire Conservative Association, who took the Bircher ward from council chairman Sebastian Bowen of the True Independents, admitted being surprised at the outcome.

"If I had been told this morning we would keep the seats we had, I would have been happy," he said.

"The results show people are fed up with the status quo. But the single biggest issue was potholes. People want us to get the basics right."

All parties will now discuss their options.

"We need to look at areas that we have in common with other parties," Mr Hurcomb, on his way to a post-election party meeting, said.

"We need to get the western bypass back on the agenda, and explore the funding for that."

Among the other parties, only the Liberal Democrats, who doubled their haul of seats from six to 12, also favour restarting the western bypass project, cancelled by the Independents for Herefordshire / Green coalition  two years ago.

"We stood on our manifesto," its newly elected councillor for Hereford's College ward Dan Proctor said. "We now need a group meeting on what happens next."

Foir the Greens, who went from seven councillors to nine, group leader Ellie Chowns said the party was open to working again in coalition with other parties, but the "ideological divide" with the Conservatives was likely to prove too great to overcome.