D-Day for future of Colchester Borough Council

Who will take over Colchester Town Hall?

Who will take over Colchester Town Hall? - Credit: Su Anderson

Today is D-day for future of Colchester Borough Council (CBC) over the next year.

EADT news Essex
Colchester Borough Councillor Dennis Willetts
Picture Owen Hines

EADT news Essex Colchester Borough Councillor Dennis Willetts Picture Owen Hines 25.7.08

After last week’s elections the Conservative party increased their number of seats to 27 – not quite half on the 60-seat council, but making them the largest single party.

Currently a Liberal Democrat-led coalition with Labour and the Independents groups runs the ruling administration at the authority.

But the Independents have not ruled out switching and backing the Tories to run the council.

Gerard Oxford, leader of the Independent group, has said they will make a decision this morning on what they will do.

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Speaking yesterday he said: “We are not much further forward than the weekend, though we have had a renewed offer from the Conservatives.

“That is being considered, and we are having to trawl through their manifesto and budget to see how compatible it would be, but we have also had calls from Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

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“We don’t have an answer yet, but we will probably be making a decision one way or the other in the morning.”

Whoever does take over running the council will only do so for a year.

Next May the borough will see its first all-out elections to choose the 51 councillors to make up a reduced-size authority after a shake-up co-ordinated by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.

Dennis Willetts, leader of the Conservative group on CBC, said: “We believe as the largest party having almost half of the seats we have a legitimate mandate to form an administration to run the council.

“We have gained ground, the Lib Dems are in recession and morally we probably should be running the council, either as a minority or in conjunction with another party.

“The borough needs a sound administration to tackle the short-term issues and put a long-term plan in place. It’s important to have stability, and a decision soon. If we are just coasting along another month it will be bad news for Colchester.”

CBC’s annual meeting, where a new leader will be formally selected, takes place on May 27.

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