02:36PM, Thursday 13 May 2021
Newly elected councillors representing Buckinghamshire spoke of protecting the greenbelt, tackling potholes, anti-social behaviour and parking as they discussed their plans following the local elections.
Voters took to the polls on Thursday, May 6 to vote in Buckinghamshire Council’s first election, since it became a unitary authority last year.
Ballot’s were counted on Saturday, May 8 at venues across Buckinghamshire, before the final results were revealed.
In Stoke Poges and Wexham, Conservatives and former Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) and South Bucks District (SBDC) councillors Ralph Bagge (1712 votes) and Trevor Egleton (1656 votes) were elected as well as new councillor Thomas Hogg (1317 votes).
In the Cliveden ward Conservatives Cllr Kirsten Ashman, a new councillor (1480 votes), and former SBDC councillors Paul Kelly (1352 votes) and Cllr George Sandy (1317 votes) were elected.
In Farnham Common and Burnham Beeches, Conservatives Cllr Dev Dhillon (1384 votes), formerly a BCC and SBDC councillor and councillors David Anthony (1421 votes) and Nick Naylor (1372 votes), formerly SBDC councillors, were elected.
In Marlow, Conservatives Cllr Alex Collingwood (2063 votes), formerly a BCC and Wycombe District (WDC) councillor, new councillor Carol Heap (1795 votes) and Cllr Neil Marshall (1624 votes), formerly a WDC councillor were elected.
In Iver, three former SBDC councillors were elected, including Independent councillor Paul Griffin (1437 votes) and Conservatives Cllr Wendy Matthews (1225 votes) and Cllr Luisa Sullivan (1052 votes), who is also a former BCC councillor.
The share of new seats won leaves the Conservatives with 113 seats, the Liberal Democrats with 15, the Independent with six seats, the Wycombe Independents with six seats, Labour with four, the Independent network with two, and the Green Party with one.
Of his election, Cllr Dev Dhillon (Con, Farnham Common and Burnham Beeches), said: “I am absolutely delighted and thank you to all my supporters and residents [who gave me] their support and selected me for the next four years to serve the communities of the Beeches ward.”
He added: “We have a huge task and challenge to support our local traders and high streets, improve our roads and pavements.
“[We are] working on the Local Plan, better education facilities, home to school transport, better care and facilities for youths and vulnerable members of the society.”
Cllr Dhillon explained that issues of anti-social behaviour, speeding, parking and protecting the greenbelt are also on the agenda.
“All the above are definitely the need of today and help us progress mentally and physically and towards better employment post COVID-19.”
Discussing her victory as a new councillor, Cllr Kirsten Ashman (Con, Cliveden) said she was ‘delighted’ to have been elected and was ‘very grateful’ to the people of her ward for selecting her to represent them.
“I'm looking forward to delivering on the commitments we made in the run up to the election and ensuring the voices of our residents are heard on the new Buckinghamshire Council.”
Cllr Ralph Bagge (Con, Stoke Poges and Wexham) echoed his fellow councillors’ ‘delight’ at being elected, while adding that his immediate priorities including following through on the work he started in resolving ‘longstanding’ drainage issues and getting more ‘focus’ and ‘value’ on repairing potholes through requesting ‘a review and comparison with neighbouring authorities’.
He added: “The fight to protect our greenbelt continues and I will be active in opposing harmful proposals.”
Cllr Bagge added that he will be asking for ‘more covert surveillance of hotspots and looking for more prosecution of offenders, as well as lobbying for a ‘greater police presence’ across the area, alongside his colleagues in order to ‘discourage pet thieves and door-to-door scams.’
Discussing his victory, Cllr Thomas Hogg (Con, Stoke Poges and Wexham), who has previously set up activist group KeepSouthBucksGreen.co.uk, which allows people to sign up for alerts about ‘major’ and ‘unsustainable housing or commercial development’ to provide the opportunity for ‘feedback or objection, said: “[I am] humbled and determined to support and be an advocate for local people as much as possible.”
Highlighting his plans, he said: [I want to] protect our greenbelt, bring communities together, especially by welcoming newcomers and, of course, lobby for fixing our roads faster and more permanently.”
Cllr Alex Collingwood (Con, Marlow), said: “I feel honoured and privileged to be re-elected to serve the people of Marlow where I grew up, went to school and live.”
Cllr Collingwood’s forthcoming plans include: protecting green spaces and trees and planting more around Marlow, promoting COVID-19 recovery and revitalising the High Street, safeguarding the future of ‘historic Marlow’, its buildings and Marlow Bridge.
He also cited, clearing out the drains and gullies to reduce flooding, repairing potholes and improving the quality of roads and pavements, promoting local initiatives such as the Trinity Road quiet way to tackle climate change, protect the environment and improve air quality and focusing on vulnerable children and the elderly and providing ‘care for all’.
Cllr George Sandy (Con, Cliveden), said: “I'm very happy to be elected because I think that our whole area, which includes Maidenhead and Slough ect is under a great deal of developmental threat.
“We'll have a few battles ahead of us I think and I'd be very happy to be part of those.”
He added: “The biggest project we have is defending our green spaces.”