LIBERAL DEMOCRATS in Earley have been celebrating after securing a huge majority on Earley Town Council.

The Conservatives had previously been in control of the authority but this changed on Friday, May 3, when it was announced the parties had swapped roles.

Taking 21 of 25 available seats, the Liberal Democrats now have a comfortable majority whereas the Conservatives have joined Labour in opposition with two seats each.

Liberal Democrats councillor Clive Jones told the News: “It was a landslide for us and a wipeout for the Conservatives.”

Councillor Jones claimed the “huge turnaround” was largely in part because of residents’ opposition to plans to build on the woodland at Chalfont Park and to expand Aldryngton School.

He added: “Residents didn’t want the Aldryngton School expansion because it would mean more cars on the road and it is already dangerous around there.

“A lot of them grew up going to the school and they didn’t want to lose the swimming pool either.

“We had hoped to do well in these elections so we were delighted the people of Earley have trusted us to run the Town Council for the next 4 years.

“Lib Dems will do our best to ensure that Earley Town Council is as open and as transparent in our decision making as possible and will work hard to ensure that the council is run efficiently and effectively.”

The Lib Dems’ town council success comes after the party gained all three Earley-based seats on Wokingham Borough Council at the local elections last week.

Conservative councillors lost out to Lib Dem candidates in Hillside, Hawkendon and Maiden Erlegh.

The party gained another five seats in addition to these three, meaning the Lib Dems now have 16 councillors compared to the Conservatives’ 31.

Councillor Jones continued: “Although not a Town Council issue, many residents were very unhappy that neither the Conservative nor the Labour Party supported the Lib Dem policy of reducing the time for assessment for children and adolescents with possible mental health issues from 9-12 months to a maximum of 6 weeks. Residents found this totally inexcusable.

“The Conservative handling of Brexit and Labour’s indecision over Brexit were also factors in these elections.”