There are 18 Conservative candidates who will be competing for seats on Wokingham Borough Council at this year’s local election.

The party is looking to keep control of the council, as it currently holds 31 of the 54 seats.

There will be 18 seats up for grabs at this year’s election, which will be held on May 6, and the Tories are looking to win all of them.

Last year’s election was postponed by the coronavirus pandemic, but people are being assured it will be safe to head to the polls in 2021.

Here are the Conservative candidates who are competing for seats on Wokingham Borough Council:

John Halsall, Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe

Cllr John Halsall.

Cllr John Halsall.

Mr Halsall has been a councillor since 2011 and he became leader of the council in 2019.

He said: “As a direct result of our leadership, Wokingham Borough is regularly recognised as one of the top 10 places to live in the United Kingdom, the healthiest, has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, the Silicon Valley of Britain and the Hollywood of Europe.

“While other councils have cut services, we have innovated, sought additional sources of income to offset government funding cuts and successfully delivered our promises to you, our residents, businesses, charities, and communities.

“Unsurprisingly, we are exceptionally proud of all we have achieved for you over the last two decades particularly the council’s outstanding performance during the Covid pandemic. But we are not complacent.

“We have a vision for the future that we want to deliver for you,” he added.

“It is a vision for services for our old age as well as for our younger residents. It is a vision for future investment in our services and in our communities.”

Charles Margetts, Finchampstead North

Cllr Charles Margetts

Cllr Charles Margetts

Mr Margetts was first elected in 2016 and he is the executive member for health, wellbeing and adult services.

He said: “As lead councillor for adult services and public health, I was responsible for organising the successful local Covid-19 response.

“We overcame local PPE shortages, formed a task force to manage local outbreaks, sourced and deployed testing kits and assisted the local vaccination programme.

“We helped protect care home residents by making the early decision to refuse discharges from hospital into care homes without a negative test.”

Pauline Helliar-Symons, Wokingham Without

Cllr Pauline Helliar-Symons

Cllr Pauline Helliar-Symons

Ms Helliar-Symons has been a councillor since 1982 and served as executive member for adult social care and housing, executive member for children’s services and the borough mayor.

She said: “I have had only one aim – to make life better for everyone in our local community: the community I’ve lived in and been part of, for over 30 years.

“I believe I have made a difference, but you are the best judge of that. Look to my recent record, particularly in championing our environment.

“I’ve played an integral part in making sure that our council collects and spends our money efficiently and provides good value in delivering our services.”

Julian McGhee-Sumner, Wescott

Julian McGhee-Sumner

Julian McGhee-Sumner

Mr McGhee-Sumner was a councillor between 2007 and 2019.

He became leader of the council in 2018 – after serving as the executive member for finance and the executive member for health and wellbeing – but lost his seat the following year.

He said he is focused on stopping “speculative development”, securing more investment for infrastructure, and supporting the recently redeveloped Wokingham town centre.

He added: “I am a strong advocate of residents associations and have worked with a number to resolve many and varied issues such as resurfacing roads and footpaths, preventing parking on verges, providing better leisure facilities and a regenerated town centre which now thrives despite the opposition voting against it.

“I would like to set up more local residents associations to develop better understanding of the very local concerns that matter to residents and be able to take action to resolve these.”

UllaKarin Clark, Emmbrook

Cllr UllaKarin Clark

Cllr UllaKarin Clark

The former lawyer has been a councillor for 18 years and she is now the executive member for children’s services.

She said: “I campaigned for many years to reduce congestion through Emmbrook and am looking forward to the Northern Distributor Road opening soon. This will take traffic away from the town centre.

“I am passionate about ensuring all children are educated in good local schools, and proud to be developing a great new Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) policy as well as building the new SEND school in nearby Winnersh to provide excellent specialised teaching locally.”

Pauline Jorgensen, Hillside

Cllr Pauline Jorgensen

Cllr Pauline Jorgensen

The former computer programmer has served as a councillor since 2008 and is now the executive member for highways and transport.

She said: “As your borough councillor for more than 12 years, I have helped thousands of residents: answering queries, keeping you fully informed on Facebook and with regular newsletters.

“Always available to offer advice, I work hard to ensure that you receive the excellent council services you deserve.

“Executive responsibility for housing and now for highways has enabled me to bring real change to improve the lives of residents across the borough.”

Norman Jorgensen, Maiden Erlegh

Conservative candidate Norman Jorgensen

Conservative candidate Norman Jorgensen

He served as a councillor between 2007 and 2019 and was the executive member for environment, leisure and libraries.

The scientist, who has a PhD in Chemistry, now provides scientific and engineering consultancy.

He said: “An active member of the Earley community, I have been knocking on doors, listening to your views and helping people resolve issues for many years.

“Until 2019, I was the leader of Earley Town Council and a member of the Executive at Wokingham Borough Council.

“I am proud of the record of the Conservative Group when we controlled the town council where we kept council tax low while expanding services and facilities.”

Rebecca Margetts, Finchampstead South

Conservative candidate Rebecca Margetts

Conservative candidate Rebecca Margetts

Mrs Margetts, who has lived in Finchampstead for 15 years, sits on Finchampstead Parish Council.

She has worked in nursing working for the NHS, but now runs her own company and is a governor at Nine Mile Ride Primary.

She said: “As a long-term Finchampstead resident I will bring together, on your behalf, all my local wide-ranging experience in local private and public enterprises.

“I know the needs and aspirations of our community and will work hard to deliver them.”

Shahis Younis, Bulmershe and Whitegates

Conservative candidate Shahis Younis

Conservative candidate Shahis Younis

He was first elected in 2011 and appointed as deputy executive member for children’s services in 2018.

But Mr Younis, who is the chief executive of Data Whizz Academy, lost his seat during the 2019 election.

He said: “During my eight years as your borough councillor, I campaigned to improve services.

“Living in the ward since 2002, I recognise the issues that impact the residents because I have lived through many of them myself.

“I am proud of my involvement in a record of over £30 million investment in Bulmershe and Whitegates, including £6 million for a new sixth form block in Bulmershe College, £6 million building a high-quality elderly care home in Fosters Lane and £14 million to build a new Bulmershe Leisure Centre.

“In addition, I am heavily involved in the community in charitable and social enterprise work.”

Daniel Hinton, Evendons

Conservative candidate Daniel Hinton

Conservative candidate Daniel Hinton

Mr Hinton is the leader of the Conservative Group on Wokingham Town Council.

He said: “I have been working hard for Evendons residents. Every day I strive to repay those who put their trust in me.

“I am now asking for your support again as I want to represent you on the borough council as a strong voice; to not only speak out for residents but to get things done.”

Bernadette Mitra, Winnersh

Conservative candidate Bernadette Mitra

Conservative candidate Bernadette Mitra

Mrs Mitra, who is a freelance finance consultant, was born in South African and moved to Wokingham 14 years ago.

She said: “I will be a strong voice for the people of Winnersh and have already started working closely with a number of residents, the council and other stakeholders on issues such as flooding, HMOs and antisocial behaviour.

“This is what drives me – an insatiable ambition to improve people’s quality of life and to serve the community.”

Grant Woolner, Twyford 

Conservative candidate Grant Woolner

Conservative candidate Grant Woolner

Mr Woolner is a teacher who moved to Twyford three years ago after teaching religious studies in London and Cambridge.

He said: “I’m running for one of Twyford’s two Borough Council seats in order to better represent the interests of all families and children of Twyford, both long-established residents and relative newcomers like me.

“I pledge to get Twyford moving once more after the pandemic, ensuring that the village – often forgotten about by the Wokingham-centred council – has a voice which befits its status as a thriving place to live and do business, and with desirable transport links.

“Issues I wish to address immediately include the lack of parking at Twyford’s busy mainline station and improved residents’ parking surrounding it, protection of the greenbelt alongside the provision of much-needed affordable housing.”

Eileen Kessel, Hawkedon

Conservative candidate Eileen Kessel

Conservative candidate Eileen Kessel

Ms Kessel worked for global investment bank Credit Suisse for 25 years before she co-founded a legal resourcing business called Make Law Simple.

She said: “I will champion support for local businesses, residents, the community and organisations in creating a place where everyone can thrive and feel a sense of belonging. It’s about you, not me.”

She added: “From infrastructure to housing, potholes to public safety, my overall goal is to deliver effective and timely communications, keeping the local community well informed.”

Phil Cunnington, Norreys

Conservative candidate Phil Cunnington

Conservative candidate Phil Cunnington

He has lived in Norreys for 25 years and was elected as a town councillor in 2019.

He also stood as a Wokingham parliamentary candidate in the 2015 General Election, when he was a member of UKIP.

“My passion for Norreys and the wellbeing of its residents remains strong, so I have campaigned and fundraised for local schools and facilities, including the saving of the Denmark Street Car park,” he said.

“Two years ago, I was elected to represent Norreys as a town councillor.

“I’ve enjoyed working hard to make a difference for my community and by representing you on the borough council I can give Norreys an even stronger voice.”

Jackie Rance, Shinfield South

Conservative candidate Jackie Rance

Conservative candidate Jackie Rance

The former town councillor and magistrate currently runs a cleaning business.

She said: “We need a renewed focus on supporting what makes life worthwhile and why we love where we live.

“These include expanding sports and leisure opportunities, more community facilities and making journeys easier.

“The coronavirus will leave an impression on everyone. Communities have shown heartfelt compassion, neighbourliness, and innovative support services during the last year and we need to build on that.

“I will focus on improving the experiences for our youth in Shinfield South. They need an outlet for their energy and creativity as well as a route through education and training into the world of work.”

Sam Akhtar, Charvil

Conservative councillor Sam Akhtar

Conservative councillor Sam Akhtar

Mr Akhtar is a community activist who works as a relationship manager for Isosceles Finance.

He said: "I am very passionate about the environment and set up a local eco-group called Charvil Matters back in the summer of 2019 with the aim of keeping Charvil clean, green and eco-friendly.

"You may have seen me around the village completing a litter pick with our dedicated team of volunteers.

"I would like to use my platform as councillor to promote eco-friendly initiatives in the village.

"My other main priorities are to fight housing overdevelopment, tackle antisocial behavior and to ensure there are sufficient school places for residents in the village."

Anne Chadwick, Loddon

Conservative candidate Anne Chadwick

Conservative candidate Anne Chadwick

Ms Chadwick, who has been a town councillor since 2011, said she is passionate about helping children in Woodley fulfil their potential, tackling climate change and providing more cycle routes.

She said: “I want the chance to speak up for you, my neighbours, the residents of Loddon.

“I can only do that if you vote for me and elect me as a borough councillor for Loddon.”

Wayne Smith, Hurst

Mr Smith has been a councillor for nine years and he is the executive member for planning and enforcement.

Has been approached for a comment.