THERE was late drama in the borough’s election counts as the final ward to declare their new council leaders, Hoe Valley, voted in three Liberal Democrats.
The party’s yellow insignia shone in sun-filled skies in the south Woking ward as the Lib Dems swept to victory to wrestle some of the political power away from the once again dominant Conservatives.
Sitting local leader Will Forster retained his seat, having campaigned vigorously for residents in the area, while former Old Woking Councillor Louise Morales made a return to office alongside Governor of Westfield Primary School Deborah Hughes as the triumphant trio persuaded nearly half of the electorate (49%) to vote for them.
Beaming Cllr Morales said: “It’s actually been a fanastic year off for me and I’ve been involved in many community projects, but now I am looking forward to getting back in the council and holding them to task over issues such as planning.
“I’m really looking forward to a ‘Yellow’ year. The main thing for me is that people feel represented by their councillors, and I think the results here today are a reflection of the voting public not feeling represented by the sitting councillor (John Lawrence).”
Meanwhile, Cllr Forster was quick to lavish praise on his fellow winners.
He told the News & Mail: “As current group leader I’m delighted to be re-elected as councillor alongside the other excellent Lib Dem candidates.
“The Lib Dems have held their own in the new council, unlike the Conservatives who have, proportionately, lost out drastically.”
The new council make-up comprises 17 Conservatives, seven Liberal Democrats, three Labour, and three Independent.
HOE VALLEY RESULTS:
BOURNE Natalie (Conservative): 614
CARPENTER Frances (Labour): 275
FORSTER-WARNER William (Liberal Democrat): 1,126
GORE James (UKIP): 322
HUGHES Deborah (Liberal Democrat): 967
JACKSON Nigel (Labour): 276
LAWRENCE John (Conservative): 567
MARTIN Christopher (Labour): 249
MORALES Louise (Liberal Democrat): 1,022
SHATWELL Robert (UKIP): 315
SMITH Daryl (Conservative): 506
*(6 rejected ballots)