The Liberal Democrats have taken control of West Lindsey District Council in Lincolnshire after a by-election victory.
The Lib Dems have 19 seats after Ian Parsons' victory in the Lea Ward, while the Tories have 17 seats.
The Conservatives lost power a fortnight ago in the local elections leaving a hung council.
Turnout was 57% in the by-election, which was called after the death of independent councillor Keith Whaley.
'Victory for democracy'
A controversial multi-million-pound plan for a new Guildhall in Gainsborough was a key issue in the election.
Mr Parsons said he was delighted to have won. "I am a bit shell-shocked really. One always hopes to win but it's a pleasure and a surprise to find one's romped home with a comfortable lead.
"This is a victory for common sense and democracy."
Unsuccessful Conservative candidate, Hugh Mc Daniel said he hoped the Lib Dems would carry on with Gainsborough's regeneration.
"This has tipped the balance so the Lib Dems are taking over the council and a very healthy economy and I hope they'll concentrate on creating jobs in Gainsborough," said Mr McDaniel.
He added that the Lib Dems were able to exploit a badly articulated and complicated Conservative issue.
Ian Parsons had 621 votes while his Conservative opponent Hugh McDaniel had 391 votes.