CHANGE is here say the Liberal Democrats after taking control of Stratford District Council.
The Lib Dems won 25 seats at SDC at the local elections – an increase of 15 since the last election in 2019 and ending a 22 year-long Conservative reign.
And newly appointed SDC Leader Coun Susan Juned said she couldn’t wait to get started.
She continued: “We’re really looking forward to the next three to four years. We campaigned on our manifesto and now we have the opportunity to put it into action. We want people to know we will be a listening council, to restore trust in local democracy.”
She acknowledged the sacking of Stratford’s Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi as national Conservative Party chair for ‘serious breaches of the ministerial code’ had helped their cause, but what really resonated on the doorstep was the cost-of-living crisis and the lack of affordable housing.
And she said tackling climate change could be dividends on both these issues.
The Lib Dems also released a bold mission statement to radically alter how operation were run – under the heading ‘Change is here’.
The statement on the party’s website reads: “We will restore trust and create a listening council that acts for residents and puts them first. We will create excellent services that are value for money. Public money should be spent wisely. We will create a healthy, green environment and continue to lead the fight against climate change.
“We will create strong active communities – every community and place is different, but everywhere should be a good place to live.
“We will create a working relationship with communities to support affordable, well-built homes and infrastructure in the right places and a strong sustainable economy that looks after our high streets and small businesses and develops the economy of the future.”
The Conservatives lost 14 seats at the May 4 local elections, leaving them with just 12. Among those to lose their seat was former leader Tony Jefferson.
The Greens won two seats to give them three overall, alongside one independent councillor.
Chairman of Stratford Conservative Association, Lynda Organ, nevertheless said the Tories had much to be proud of.
She continued: “There have been difficult results for the Conservatives across the country. This election cycle follows on from 2019, when we lost many good district councillors in Stratford and opposition parties gained momentum.
“Our candidates have fought very hard, and we would like to give them credit for being fantastic representatives of our party. We are proud of our achievements and the local Conservatives have helped to shape the Stratford district as one of the bests places to live in the country, with excellent council services.
“Your newly elected Conservative councillors will continue to campaign for value for money services and common-sense decisions.”