All of the results from the Worthing Borough Council election are in and Labour has taken control for the first time.
Fourteen seats were up for election. The local Labour Party took a total of ten seats, holding four and gaining six. They also took the Tarring ward seat which had been held by the Liberal Democrats for 20 years.
The Conservatives held four seats.
New council leader Dr Rebecca Cooper said: “It is an incredible result – We were positive and optimistic that things were looking good for Labour in Worthing.
“But we didn’t take it for granted, we worked really hard.”
Dr Cooper said the party was ‘absolutely ready’ to take control with a 100-day plan. “Our priorities include our housing crisis- we don’t have enough council or social housing,” she said.
“We’re obviously very limited for land here so we’re going to have to be very creative and think outside of the box. People really want their town to be green and community friendly. First we’re going to look at the Town Centre – it’s a concrete jungle and it doesn’t need to be.”
One of Labour’s main promises is a ‘big listening campaign’ as she claims residents on the doorstep ‘did not feel listened to’ by the previous administration.
Freshly elected Marine ward councillor Andy Whight (Labour) said the result was ‘like winning the world cup’.
Dr Cooper won in Marine several years ago and another seat turned red in December, at a by-election.
Outgoing council leader Kevin Jenkins is now the Goring ward councillor.
Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service he said: “My message to the Labour group is ‘congratulations’ but today’s result isn’t unexpected.
“They’ve consolidated in the wards where they already have councillors, and you’d expect that. Yes, we’ve lost some councillors in Castle and Northbrook wards which is really disappointing because they’re hard working councillors who have really served their communities. But what you’ve seen today is a reflection of national, rather than local, issues. People on the doorsteps are fed up with the shenanigans of the political parties as a whole, whether that’s Labour or Conservative, at Westminster. Sadly they’ve taken that frustration out at a local election with local councillors.”
In terms of the future of Worthing’s Conservative group, Mr Jenkins said they would ‘hold Labour to account’ and ‘scrutinise everything that they do’.