A Fresh New Start!……

…….Residents Group and Liberal Democrat Partnership takes control of Elmbridge Borough Council

Last night was the Annual Council meeting at Elmbridge Borough Council. It is traditionally a ceremonial occasion that sees the election of the Mayor for the coming year, who is almost always the Deputy Mayor of the past year. This year was no exception to that practice, and Tannia Shipley, a former schoolteacher and a Residents Group Councillor for Hinchley Wood and Weston Green, which she has represented on the Council for 17 years,  was duly elected Mayor.  Tannia was not only the Councillors’ choice, but she also gained the highest number of votes ( 1950) out of all the 118 candidates in this May’s elections, so she is clearly the people’s choice too.
What was unusual was that this year the Annual Council meeting followed “all out ” elections for all 48 Councillors across the Borough, after a reduction in the number of Councillors from 60 to 48 and extensive boundary changes. As previously reported the Residents’ Group Councillors and Liberal Democrats held on to the same number of seats as they had had before the changes, (19 and 7 respectively),  while the Conservative Group ( including its “ungrouped” member) saw its numbers reduce from 34 to 22. This meant that they had lost control of the Council, and the Annual Council meeting therefore was also the forum for making the decision as to who should run the Council for the coming year. The outcome of many discussions was that the Residents Group Councillors and the Liberal Democrat Councillors felt that they could work together in partnership under a formal agreement with agreement on sharing of the Cabinet posts. While this was challenged by the Conservatives, the partnership of Residents Group Councillors and Liberal Democrats won the vote for Leader by 25 to 21.


This means that Stuart Selleck, a Molesey Residents Association  Councillor for Molesey East and Leader of the Residents Group of Councillors  has been elected Leader of the Council and working with him as Members of the Cabinet will be :-

Andrew Davis, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transport, Liberal Democrat Member for Weybridge Riverside,

Chris Sadler, Portfolio Holder for Resources, Walton Society Member for Walton Central,

Barry Fairbank, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Liberal Democrat Member for Long Ditton,

Roy Green, Portfolio Holder for Housing, Hersham Village Society Member for Hersham Village,

Ruth Lyon, Portfolio Holder for Social Affairs, Thames Ditton and Weston Green RA Member for Thames Ditton,

Mary Marshall, Portfolio Holder for Community Development, Liberal Democrat Member for Claygate,

Karen Randolph, Portfolio Holder for Planning Services, Thames Ditton and Weston Green RA Member for Thames Ditton, and

Janet Turner, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Cultural Services, Hinchley Wood RA Member for Hinchley Wood and Weston Green.

In addition, Shweta Kapadia, Liberal Democrat Member for Long Ditton was elected as Chairman of the main Planning Committee for the coming year, Ivan Regan, Molesey Residents Association Member for Molesey East was elected as Chairman of the Licensing Committee, and Alex Coomes, Liberal Democrat Member for Claygate was elected as Chairman of the Audit and Standards Committee. The Chairmanship of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which is always held by a member of the Opposition, will be taken by Tim Oliver, Leader of the Conservative Group.

It may take some time for the new team to review the situation the Council now finds itself in, but there is a strong desire to see the concerns  expressed in our manifestos, such as the introduction of free parking on Saturdays and Bank Holidays, the review of staffing levels in the Planning Department, and the review of the Waterside Drive / Stompond Lane Sports Hub Project addressed as soon as possible


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