The leader of the Wokingham Conservative Party has made an emphatic appeal to voters ahead of the council elections.

Councillor John Halsall has been the leader of Wokingham Borough Council since 2019, when his Conservative colleagues chose him to lead the borough following their former leader Cllr Julian McGhee-Sumner’s defeat in that year’s elections.

Cllr Halsall is now up for election in his ward of  Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe, which he has represented since 2011.

He has led Wokingham Borough’s administration through the pandemic.

READ MORE: All the Conservative candidates standing for election in Wokingham in 2021

In an appeal to voters, Cllr Halsall  said: “The Council is the golden thread that runs through our Borough, the indispensable partner for our residents and businesses. Diversity, Equality, Antiracism and addressing need must be at the heart of everything we do and of the example we set. No rational person would take any other point of view. 

“Our goal is to provide the best quality services and the best value for money possible. It is residents’ money the council spends. Residents deserve to know that it is being spent wisely and prudently where-ever it is required.

“Our ambition is to make the Borough the best place to live, learn, work, grow and do business in Britain.

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

“Whilst 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.”

You can read Cllr Halsall’s full statement to the Local Democracy Reporting service here:

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This election, Cllr Halsall is fending off challenges from Labour’s Stuart Cranier and Martijn Andrea, the Liberal Democrat candidate for  Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe.

In conversation with us, Cllr Halsall said:“We have a 30 point plan which we are working towards and is the basis of the community vision and corporate delivery on the council. We have the healthiest authority in the country, one of the top 10 places where people would want to live, the least deprived authority in the country, and that’s the reason why we are the lowest funded in the country.

“Why would you want to change that story of success?

“It’s a very well managed council, the staff are highly motivated. I’m really proud of having headed it up over the last few years, and receiving support by staff and residents during this difficult period.”

Bracknell News:

Cllr Halsall has been campaigning extensively, joining Conservative candidates and activists in Earley, Shinfield, Woodley, Charvil, Wokingham Without and Finchampstead.

Cllr Halsall was coy when asked where he would like to see the Conservatives make gains. “We would like to make gains everywhere” he said.

It is clear that the Conservatives are hoping to get Julian McGhee-Sumner, Norman Jorgensen and Shahid Younis back in the council chamber. The candidates are running in Wescott, Maiden Erlegh and Bulmershe & Whitegates ward respectively.

Cllr Halsall added: “The voters need to make their own decisions and we need to respect the decisions they make.

“From the doorstep it’s been very positive. The residents as a whole agreed with the proposition that we are putting forward, that I ran a very good Covid response, and I have spoken about our plans for recovery. I’m being greeted rather very favourably.”

READ MORE: Wokingham local election 2021 battlegrounds and clashes to watch as familiar faces try to reclaim seats on the council

The Wokingham Borough Council elections will be held on Thursday, May 6. This year, voters have been encouraged to vote by post, but if you would prefer to vote in person, you can find out where to vote by typing in your postcode here.

For more information, you can view the Wokingham Conservative Manifesto online and the council’s thirty point plan on its Community Vision webpage.

The News has also interviewed Cllr Lyndsay Ferris, the leader of the Wokingham Liberal Democrats, and Cllr Andy Croy, the leader of the Wokingham Labour party, both of whom are up for election this year.

Cllr Ferris said seizing control of the council was unrealistic - but hopes to make gains from the Conservatives, and Cllr Croy said "the Tories have a fight on their hands."