At Wednesday’s council meeting, it was confirmed that a coalition of the Liberal Democrat Group and the Residents Association (RA) Group will take on the administration of the council for the coming year. The Liberal Democrats number 10 and the RAs number 17, so together we have 27 seats compared to the Conservatives 21. This is a significant change from last year when the council was in no overall control at 24 each. In the elections on May 2nd, not only did we gain Ashley Tilling as our new Lib Dem councillor for Weybridge Riverside, but there were gains for Residents’ candidates in the St George’s Hill and Esher wards.
We have taken the decision to form a coalition administration because we believe that we are elected in order to effect change as well as safeguard what we cherish in our communities. These are far better achieved by being in control of both the agenda and the decision-making processes.
Whilst the Leader of the council will be from the RA group, our long-standing Weybridge Riverside councillor Andrew Davis will be the Deputy Leader. Lib Dem councillors will hold cabinet seats and so be responsible for portfolios on Highways, Community and Corporate Affairs, and Environment. It has also been agreed that we will provide the Chairmen of some of the most important committees.
Your Lib Dem group deliberated the move towards a coalition through a number of long meetings and we have not entered into it lightly. We presented a number of policies to the Residents which they have agreed to support as priorities for the coming year. These include, for example, our strong green agenda relating to the climate emergency. We are also mindful of the dynamic nature of government – events can, and do, appear out of nowhere; so we have processes in place to give an agreed approach to tackling such developments. We therefore feel that we are in a strong position to make a success of our time in administration.