Monday, 14 June 2021
THE leader of Wokingham Borough Council was re-elected as his Conservatives retained control.
John Halsall will now serve a fourth term representing Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe.
He received 1,137 votes (63 per cent) compared with 425 for his closest challenger Martijn Andrea (Liberal Democrat).
The turnout was 42.15 per cent, nearly 10 per cent higher than the last election in 2016.
Cllr Halsall, who has lived in Remenham, for 40 years, said: “I’m absolutely delighted — thank you very much to the electorate.
“We hope that we can do what we are here to do, which is to improve the life of our residents.
“Thank you to all the people who supported me and those that did not vote Conservative can be reassured that I will represent them as well.
“We did as much campaigning as possible within the restrictions but when we started the country was in full lockdown, so I really regret not being able to speak to as many voters as possible and not being able to go around and see people, which is what I would normally do, but that was life as it was.”
Cllr Halsall, who is married with three grown-up children, is a chartered accountant who moved to Remenham from Henley and has been a member of Remenham Parish Council for more than 24 years.
Charvil ward was also a Conservative hold with Sam Akhtar receiving 728 votes (59 per cent) ahead of Martin Alder (Liberal Democrat) with 367 votes.
The turnout was 52 per cent, the second highest for the council behind Twyford ward.
Councillor Akhtar replaces Emma Hobbs, who had served as a councillor for nine years.
He said: “It was my first time running and I’m really happy with the result. It’s an absolute honour and privilege to be able to represent Charvil. I’m very keen to crack on and work with the residents and do a good job.”
Cllr Akhtar said he had enjoyed campaigning despite the difficulties of the coronavirus restrictions.
He said: “We would only send one person to a household and were knocking on doors but keeping a big distance, so it was safe.
“I definitely enjoy speaking to the residents and, standing for the first time, I wanted to introduce myself.”
He said he was pleased to see young first-time voters and new residents at the polls.
Cllr Akhtar, who works as a relationship manager, set up eco-group Charvil Matters in the summer of 2019 with the aim of keeping the area clean and tidy.
The Conservatives gained three seats, one each from Labour and the Liberal Democrats and one from an independent. The Lib-Dems gained three seats from the Conservatives.
The council now has 31 Conservatives, 18 Lib-Dems, three Labour and two independents.
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