THE Conservatives lost control of Rochford District Council for the first time in 21 years after the recent May elections.
The party lost three seats, leaving them with 14 out of 39 councillors.
The rest of the seats were made up of nine Independents, eight Lib Dems, seven from the Rochford Residents, and one Green.
Any coalition would need 20 councillors to command a majority, which no one part reached.
Conservative ward member for Roche North and Rural Simon Wootton, who became leader of the council in 2020, described the human cost of the result: “From a Conservative perspective it was a night of great disappointment. We lost four seats, and with that, four very hard-working councillors.
“Behind every one of those seats is a real person who has worked very hard for the district, and it is a loss to us all.”
Rochford Council has been under Conservative control for 35 of its 49 years since it was created in 1974, but had been steadily losing its majority, after three councillors quit the party earlier this year.
The local elections reflected a grim picture nationally for the Conservatives, who overall saw a loss of over 1,000 councillors.
Coun Wooton added: “Elections always throw up surprises and disappointments, but unfortunately this one threw up more disappointments than surprises.
“Looking to the future, we will work hard for our residents to continue to make Rochford the nice place it is to live in.”
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