Victoria Ward residents have re-elected Ian Gilbert as councillor in the May 5th elections where he took 987 votes compared to the Tories’ 279 and UKIP’s 357.
Ian said, “ It’s been a great pleasure to represent Victoria Ward and I am very grateful that people have decided to put their trust in me again. As a town centre ward we have our fair share of problems but I have had the opportunity to work with some great people and am particularly pleased this year to see our pressure paying off with work starting on the Victoria Avenue “eye-sore” buildings.
“I will continue to work alongside residents and community groups and ensure that the views of Victoria Ward are heard”.
Anne Jones ousted the seemingly unassailable Dr Velmurugan (a self-described independent minded Conservative) in Westborough, Helen McDonald won in Kursaal and Julian Ware-Lane retained Milton. Mike Fieldhouse was a very close 2nd in Prittlewell, Matt Dent narrowed the gap considerably giving us 2nd place in Blenheim Park and Donna Richardson did similar in St. Luke’s against long-standing independent Brian Ayling.
Conservatives join with UKIP to take control
Despite Labour’s best results for over a decade, the Tories won seats from the Liberal Democrats in the West of the borough giving them a chance to take back council control with the help of the two UKIP councillors.
This brings to an end the two-year run of a coalition between Independent, Labour and Liberal Democrats, which included Ian Gilbert serving as Deputy Leader and David Norman serving as Executive Councillor for Housing & Planning.
The Conservatives have already broken their election pledge to reduce cabinet numbers, instead doing the exact opposite and increasing numbers to eight.
The deal involved a UKIP councillor attaining an important position chairing the planning committee for which he is not trained and having already described residents objecting to planning applications as “nosy” and “complainers”.
Ian Gilbert said, “ I’m very proud of what we achieved in two years and will make sure as much of it as possible continues”.
This article is an edited extract from the Victoria Voice newsletter being delivered to residents over the next couple of weeks by volunteers. To see a copy of the full newsletter please click here.