A LANDSLIDE local election result saw the Liberal Democrats sweep to power in York - an outcome that also saw the Conservatives wiped out and the city's first Green Party councillors elected.

The new council has 29 Liberal Democrats, 15 Labour, no Conservatives, two Greens and one Independent, Janet Hopton.

It means two decades of Labour rule in York has been brought to an end, with the party losing ten seats.

The Liberal Democrats took key marginal seats in Heslington, where young candidate Ceredig Jamieson-Ball ( unseated the Labour Sheriff of York, Martin Brumby, and in Holgate, where they won all three seats.

They also took Fulford from Labour and won Wheldrake, a result which meant Tory Leader John Galvin was ousted from the council.

New council leader Steve Galloway said: "This result is the result of 30 years of hard work. We are absolutely delighted with it.

"There were times when we thought perhaps it was never going to happen, but people have said they want change, they want fresh faces, people who will hit some of the seemingly endemic problems head on.

"We recognise that a lot of people in York have given us their confidence. We must not let them down."

In a night full of shocks, Green Party candidates Andy D'Agorne and Mark Hill comfortably won seats in Fishergate Ward, both hundreds of votes ahead their nearest rival.

Sitting Labour councillor Roger Farrington was pushed into fifth place, behind Tory candidate Robin Dickson.

Coun D'Agorne said: "I have been a candidate in other elections, so to be elected as one of the first Green councillors in the city of York is a real honour."

A tense count took place at The Guildhall, with a tight first result requiring a recount.

Former city council executive member for education Janet Looker held her Guildhall Ward seat by more than 100 votes.

But Labour veteran Brian Watson scraped home by just 32 - throwing Liberal Democrat Nick Blitz off the council in the process.

Former council leader Dave Merrett spoke of his disappointment - and vowed Labour would be back.

He said: "We respect the voters' decision. We'd like to thank those who have continued to support us, but say to everyone that we have been listening to what people have been saying, and recognise there are issues to address both nationally and locally.

"By listening to residents, we will learn from this result and come back stronger than ever."

Coun Looker said Britain's backing of the US in the was on Iraq had been a factor.

"There was a very strong anti-war feeling in some wards," she said.

Mr Galvin said: "Yes I am disappointed, but that is democracy. The Liberals now will have to deliver. I would like to think I would be back, but we are talking four years down the line."

Click here to view the election results in full

Updated: 10:34 Friday, May 02, 2003