THE overall turnout in Wyre Forest at this year's local election hit a three-year high but was just 36 per cent.

More voters turned out this year than the 30 per cent from Wyre Forest who voted at last year's Worcestershire County Council elections and the district council poll in 2012 despite heavy rain on Thursday last week but 64 per cent still did not bother.

It is thought several first-time electors and voters who had not turned out for many years were galvanised by the UK Independence Party's offering but district council staff and leaders will still be disappointed at the poor showing.

District returning officer Ian Miller said: "It was encouraging to see turnout increase to 36 per cent, compared to 30 per cent who voted in the local elections in 2012 and 2013 but no one should be happy about the level of participation in elections.

"I expect the turnout at the general election in 2015 to be much higher, in line with past trends, however, I will continue to take steps to encourage registration and participation. For example, the participation rate for people voting by post again exceeded 70 per cent and therefore encouraging more people to register for a postal vote may assist the overall turnout."

The highest individual ward turnout was 44 per cent in Bewdley and Arley where Conservative councillor Stephen Clee was re-elected.

The lowest was Oldington and Foley Park, in Kidderminster, at 27 per cent, where UKIP's Michael Wrench was victorious.

Next year's general election, which will also feature an all-out district council election and Kidderminster Town Council yes or no referendum, is expected to attract a turnout of about 60 per cent.