MALVERN Hills District Council (MHDC) looks set to be led by a coalition administration, with intense discussions being held behind closed doors after last week's elections.

The results saw 13 Conservative members returned to the council, alongside 10 independents, nine Lib Dems, five Greens and one Labour councillor.

This represented a loss of 10 seats by the Tories, a gain of five by the Lib Dems, three for the independents, two for the Greens and one for Labour.

Councillor Sarah Rouse, leader of the Democratic group, which was formed during the last council as an opposition alliance, said: "The group are keen to develop a council that works together and sets aside party politics.

"As the largest group we have spoken to the other groups and set out that we do not want a continuation of the last four years.

"We want every councillor to be heard and to be involved. Without isolating valuable members just because they are not part of a political group.

"As yet, no agreements have been reached but we all promised to put people before politics and that is what we aim to do. We want a council that works together and gets things done."

Cllr Tom Wells, the longest-standing Liberal Democrat councillor in Worcestershire, said: “This has been a great week for the Liberal Democrats across the country and in Malvern Hills.

“The electorate has overwhelmingly rejected the Conservatives mandate and want to see a fresh approach. They keep saying to me they are fed up with extremes and want to see a moderate, inclusive approach that takes into account the needs of our elderly, vulnerable and importantly the next generation who will carry the baton forward."

Cllr Wells and his wife Kathy secured the two seats in Powick. She said: "We will be able to work together closely for the benefit of our ward residents.”

Fellow Lib Dem and newly-elected Priory cllr Beverley Nielsen said: "Many people have told us they’re very upset with the tired and split Conservative and Labour parties, and it's time for something different.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Samantha Charles became the first MHDC Labour councillor since 1997, after being elected to Chase.

She said: “Local people voted for us because we work hard to represent residents on local issues all year round, not just at election time.

"On the doorstep, people from all walks of life were telling us that they were seeing the huge impact the Conservative government’s cuts were having on local services, whilst yet more luxury housing was being built on our green spaces. They want local councillors who stand up for the whole community.”

Among the Tory losses was long-serving Roger Hall-Jones, who had held a seat since 1972. He occupied one of the two Priory Ward seats, both of which were lost by the Tories, one to Cllr Nielsen and the other to Independent Cynthia Palmer - a former mayor of Malvern Town Council.

Another notable victory was for Dan Walton, who secured one of the two Broadheath seats. Mr Walton stood as an Independent, but had previously campaigned as a Labour candidate for West Worcestershire at the last General Election.

He said: “For a lot of people, Brexit was the big issue, but going door to door in my ward, I found local issues such as housebuilding to be big concerns.”

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