A partnership has been formed at Wokingham council after the Conservatives lost overall control at the recent local elections. 

The Liberal Democrats, Labour and Independent Group have formed the Wokingham Borough Partnership, which will see the Lib Dem’s Clive Jones becoming council leader. It will be the first time in 20 years that the council is not under Conservative control. 

The election results meant that the 54 council seats are now made up of 26 Conservatives, 23 Liberal Democrats, three Labour and two Independents. 

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Cllr Jones will officially take up his new role at Thursday’s annual council meeting, after current leader John Halsall chose to step down having been left “disappointed” by the election results. 

Cllr Jones said: “There’s so many things that we agree on that it seemed silly not to try and come up with a partnership.”  

“We are very much aligned with the Labour group on wanting to seriously tackle the climate emergency and we are aligned with the independent group to deal with the development crisis in Wokingham, there’s just too much of it.” 

Labour gained a council seat in the Bulmershe and Whitegates ward at the elections, where Labour’s Andy Croy defeated the Conservative’s Wazir Hussain. 

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Cllr Croy said of the new partnership: “We have enough things in common that the Labour group was prepared to lend its support to the Lib Dems and for a Lib Dem to be elected leader.  

“There will be differences, but the hope is the differences can be sorted out between the political parties and compromises reached rather than have a winner takes all attitude we had under the Conservatives. 

“It is a very exciting time to be a councillor but for the Labour group our main focus will, as always, be on our residents.” 

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Independent Group councillor, Gary Cowan, was re-elected for Arborfield ward in May’s election. He added: “Over the years there have been many cases where the three groups were aligned. 

“I am looking forward to seeing a new administration works and as long as it has Wokingham’s residents at the forefront of their thinking.”  

The partnership will now look to address the concerns raised by residents on the doorstep. 

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Cllr Jones added: “We all realise that we have a huge job in front of us. We know there are some issues with the local plan because so many people are unhappy with the conservatives plans to concrete over the borough. 

“On Thursday night I will be revealing who the executive members are. We will have the usual portfolios, but the transport and highways portfolio will be changing to active travel, highways and transport – as we are going to give some more emphasis to cycling and walking.  

“We will also be introducing a brand-new executive position which is going to be entitled equalities, inclusion and fighting poverty – so very different from the Conservatives approach.”