MORE members of the public voted in the May elections in Wyre Forest than in previous years, according to official figures.

Turnout at the district council election grew by almost five per cent compared to 2012 while a 19 per cent increase was recorded at the Bewdley Town Council election.

Attendance at the West Midlands European Parliamentary election was, however, two per cent lower than in 2009.

Financial data also reveals the cost of running the elections stood at £1.28, £1.20 and £0.35 for each vote cast in the European, district and parish ballots respectively.

In the district council election, held on Thursday, May 22 alongside the European and parish polls, 13 out of 14 wards had a higher percentage turnout.

The Bewdley and Arley ward achieved the greatest level of democratic engagement, with 44 per cent of the electorate voting, closely followed by the Wribbenhall ward with 40 per cent.

There was more apathy, however, in the Oldington and Foley Park ward, which recorded an attendance of just 27 per cent.

Turnout at the Bewdley Town Council election was particularly strong, with each of the three wards boosting voting rates by between 17 and 20 per cent, but those rises were attributed, in part, to the standalone nature of the count in 2010.

A response of 36 per cent to the European Parliamentary election was almost three per cent higher than the average for local authorities in the West Midlands but was still a drop of two per cent on 2009.

The number of postal votes also grew this year, by nine per cent in the district and eight per cent in the town council elections.

Conservative council leader Marcus Hart said: “I am exceptionally pleased to see that overall voter turnout was up on last year.

"I suspect that part of the reason for this is that local elections were held on the same day as the European elections.

"I would encourage all members of the public to vote in order to have their say on how local services are run.”