03:16PM, Tuesday 11 May 2021
Wokingham Borough Council offices. Photo by Ian Longthorne
Elected councillors in Wokingham Borough have expressed their 'honour' and delight following this year's local council elections as they discussed forthcoming plans for their terms.
The election saw voters in the Borough take to the polls on Thursday, May 6, before their votes were counted at Loddon Valley Leisure Centre on Saturday, May 8 to reveal the final results.
The council now consists of 31 Conservative councillors, 18 Liberal Democrats, three Labour councillors and two Independents.
The Liberal Democrats held the Twyford ward with the re-election of Cllr Lindsay Ferris, with 1,677 votes.
While the Conservatives maintained the Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe ward with the re-election of WBC leader John Halsall with 1,137 votes, the Hurst ward with the re-election of Cllr Wayne Smith with 749 votes and the Charvil ward with the election of Cllr Sam Akhtar with 728 votes.
Discussing his re-election, Cllr Lindsay Ferris (Lib Dem, Twyford), said: “I'm very humbled with the size of the majority and lot's of people have said congratulations, and such like, so it is very pleasing to represent Twyford again.
“It's really that mixture of of being pleased and very humbled."
He added: “I am a member for Twyford so I'm obviously going to be very interested in ensuring that the new Twyford library that has been been pushed for for a long time, it is finally delivered, and I will do whatever I can to assist to do that."
Cllr Ferris added that as ward member he will also be tackling the issues such as parking in Twyford, road resurfacing, the Local Plan and ensuring they have the services the ‘deserve’ in the north.
As leader of the opposition at WBC, he added that his party will also be pushing ‘harder’ to see if they can hopefully ‘take over control of the council’ at some point.
Of his re-election, WBC Leader John Halsall (Con, Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe), said: “I'm delighted, humbled and honoured and thank you very much to my residents.”
Discussing his plans, he added: “My overarching ambition is to ensure that Wokingham Borough continues to be a great, safe and happy place to live, work and bring up family.
“Specifically in the ward the issues with which I'm dealing are greenbelt protection, roads, potholes, speeding, schools."
He added: “The biggest part of the ward which is Wargrave, [the issues are] speeding and highways, schools.
"We've got a project of trying to put the two primary schools together. Both Graham and I are heavily engaged in the preschool and making sure the academy is capable of coping with the numbers.”
Cllr Sam Akhtar, who is co-founder of the Charvil Matters eco-group and is a newly-elected councillor to WBC, said: “I feel honoured to have been elected in my first election.
“The residents of Charvil have elected me to represent them at a borough level and I won’t let them down.
“I could not be happier to now be part of the new WBC [councillor] intake. I promise to be an active and visible [councillor] in Charvil and be a strong voice for Charvil at the borough council.”
He added that some of his plans include being ‘visible’ and ‘proactive’, using his platform as councillor to make Charvil more of an eco-village and look for initiatives that can be brought in, ensuring that housing development is ‘sustainable’ and looking to reduce the level of housing development in the village, working on the matter of school places, and being a ‘visible presence’ to help support with tackling anti-social behaviour in Charvil.
Cllr Akhtar added: “It is great to hear that the residents have put their faith in me, and I'm really keen to work hard and to not let people down.”
Cllr Wayne Smith has been contacted for comment.