New Elmbridge leader announced after former lost seat

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Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Rollings has been confirmed as the new Leader of Elmbridge Borough Council.

A full meeting of the borough council, the first since one third was up for election on May 2, chose the new leader.

Cllr Rollings is taking over from the previous leader, Bruce McDonald (also of Claygate) who lost his seat to an Independent candidate in the local elections. Mary Marshal, previously a Lib Dem deputy leader for Elmbridge Council, won 1,020 and to 858.

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The council will continue to be run as a coalition between the Liberal Democrats and Residents’ Association councillors. Gaining four more seats at the elections, the Lib Dems are still the largest party taking their total number to 23.

Cllr Mike Rollings as new leader of Elmbridge Council (middle), deputy council leader Cllr Simon Waugh (right) and Cllr Gill Coates (left). (Credit Elmbridge Borough Council meeting webcast)Cllr Mike Rollings as new leader of Elmbridge Council (middle), deputy council leader Cllr Simon Waugh (right) and Cllr Gill Coates (left). (Credit Elmbridge Borough Council meeting webcast)
Cllr Mike Rollings as new leader of Elmbridge Council (middle), deputy council leader Cllr Simon Waugh (right) and Cllr Gill Coates (left). (Credit Elmbridge Borough Council meeting webcast)

Cllr Simon Waugh (Esher Residents’ Association, Esher) continues to be the council’s deputy leader for a second year.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Rollings said: “I’ve known Simon ever since I joined the council [in 2018]…Simon is very clear in his own mind on what the right thing to do is, not always the right, but he’s very clear on it.”

He added in statement: “Elmbridge Borough Council is a financially robust council with a strong sense of community and civic pride. The Liberal Democrat and Residents’ Association coalition will continue to work in the best interests of the borough, and we will press on to deliver our vision for a sustainable and thriving Elmbridge.”

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The full cabinet and responsibilities on the borough council was announced as follows:

  • Council Leader & Portfolio Holder for Policy & Transformation: Cllr Mike Rollings (Lib Dem, Claygate)
  • Deputy Leader & Leisure, Culture and Commercial Strategy: Cllr Simon Waugh (Esher Residents’ Association)
  • Environmental Services, Sustainability and Climate Change: Cllr Ashley Tilling (Lib Dem, Weybridge Riverside)
  • Community Services: Cllr Gill Coates (Thames Ditton & Weston Green Residents’ Association)
  • Finance and Resources: Cllr Jez Langham (Lib Dems, Long Ditton)
  • Housing: Cllr Alex Batchelor (Thames Ditton & Weston Green Residents’ Association)
  • Planning: Cllr Caroline James (Thames Ditton & Weston Green Residents’ Association)
  • Enterprise and Local Economy: Cllr Kirsty Hewens (Lib Dem, Walton South)

In a statement released after the meeting, Cllr Rollings said: “With our strong results at the last election, our team of Councillors across the borough remains committed to our Elmbridge 2030 vision, with a continued focus on remaining financially robust and resilient.

“We look forward to continuing our strong record in administration with our coalition partners and we will continue working to deliver a thriving and sustainable Elmbridge.”

Cllr Neil Houston (Lib Dems, Long Ditton) was elected Mayor for the coming year, after being deputy the previous year. Cllr Steve Bax (Conservative, Molesey East) was selected as Deputy Mayor. “Neil has a straightforward manner,” Cllr Rollings said. “You always know what he’s thinking and he’s not worried about telling you pretty quickly.”

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The Mayor’s role is to represent the council at formal and ceremonial events, chairs council meetings and is the “first citizen of the borough”. Cllr Houston named his local charity as Homestart Elmbridge which promotes welfare and emotional support for families who are struggling to cope.

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