The leader of the Wokingham Conservatives has celebrated after the party held the line in the Local Elections 2021.

The result saw the Conservatives hold on to their majority on the council and unseat the leader of the Wokingham Labour party Andy Croy.

However, the Liberal Democrats gained three seats at the expense of the Conservatives, as six Conservative councillors chose to retire ahead of the elections.

ELECTION 2021: Full results for Wokingham borough elections here

Giving his opinion on the result, re-elected councillor and Wokingham Conservative leader John Halsall said:  “I’m really pleased with the result, we have the same majority as we were.

“We have lost some great and good councillors. I thank Dianne King for her outstanding service on the executive, UllaKarin Clark for her long service as a councillor, Charlotte Haitham-Taylor for her leadership and her support, and Malcolm Richards, who has been a great mayor in such difficult circumstances. I would also like to thank Oliver Whittle, Emma Hobbs and Ken Miall for their work on the council.

“On the other hand we welcome back Shahid Younis and Norman Jorgensen, and for the first time we are welcoming Sam Akhtar, Rebecca Margetts, Anne Chadwick, Jackie Rance and Philip Cunnington.

“It’s a nice package. In terms of the overall vote, we have progressed almost every year since the last elections in 2019, and we received the biggest share of the vote.

“The last thing I’d like to say is thank you very much for everybody’s support. Our objective is to ensure Wokingham Borough continues to be a great and happy place to live, work and bring up a family.”

READ MORE: Conservatives hold the line and Liberal Democrats make three gains in Wokingham elections 2021

The ward seats contested this year were last contested in 2016, as councillors elected typically serve four year terms. There were meant to be elections in 2020, but these were postponed because of the pandemic.

Going in to the 2021 election, the Conservative party were defending 14 out of 18 of the seats up for grabs. Ultimately, they won 12, with the Liberal Democrats winning six.

The Conservative party only lost one of their incumbent councillors, Cllr UllaKarin Clark, who had served as the ward councillor for Emmbrook for 18 years. She had served as Executive Member for Children’s Services along with a number of other committee appointments. Former Cllr Clark and the Wokingham Conservatives were accused of lying about the council’s finances in their campaign material by the Liberal Democrats. She has been replaced with Liberal Democrat candidate Morag Malvern.

Dianne King, representative for Evendons, chose to retire after 24 years on the council. She has been replaced by Ian Shenton, a Liberal Democrat.

Former leader of the council Charlotte Haitham-Taylor served as the councillor for Shinfield South since 2010. She resigned the leadership in 2018 after Conservative party turmoil that year. Her seat will be filled by fellow Conservative Jackie Rance.

Malcolm Richards represented Norreys since 2012, and served as the Council’s Mayor. He has been replaced by fellow Conservative Philip Cunnington.

Emma Hobbs representative for Charvil, served two terms, from 2008 to 2012 and 2016 to 2021. She has been replaced with Conservative and Charvil Matters campaigner Sam Akhtar.

Ken Miall represented Maiden Erlegh for 11 years. His seat has been taken by fellow Conservative and returning Councillor Norman Jorgensen, whose wife Pauline was re-elected to serve as councillor for Hillside.

Rebecca Margetts, newly elected councillor for Finchampstead South replaces Ian Pittock, who was elected as a Conservative in 2012 and 2016 but is believed to have left the party to be an Independent in 2017. He then retired from the council in 2020.

READ MORE: Labour suffer blow as Wokingham party leader is defeated

In the Loddon ward, Anne Chadwick (CON) replaces Richard Dolinski, who was elected a Conservative in 2016 and became Independent in 2018.

The local election took place on Thursday, May 6 and results were delivered on Saturday, May 8, at the Loddon Valley Leisure Centre in Lower Earley.

Cllr Halsall stressed that he is not the Wokingham Borough Council leader yet, as Conservative members vote for their leader annually. He has already put his name forward for the leadership. If other councillors put their names forward, there will be an election on Tuesday, May 11.