Cllr James Friend is the Leader of Mole Valley District Council

The Conservative Group has retaken control of Mole Valley District Council for the first time in six years.

If we are totally honest, it’s been six years too long as a result of ineffective targeting, when we really knew what we should have been doing, and six years of compromise decision making under no overall control as a result.

The residents of Mole Valley deserve council leadership that is dedicated to serving everyone – focusing on helping individuals and families to access the services they need, protecting the character of our outstanding local area whilst encouraging the delivery of affordable housing and constantly delivering value for money through innovatively minimising the size of local government – never forgetting that the council’s money belongs to our residents and trying to keep as much of it as possible in their pockets to support them and our local economy.

Our election campaign centred on very local issues, community by community and we were hugely fortunate to have an extremely strong group of candidates – all of whom are passionate about the communities they sought to represent. Winning all but one seat up for election was at the top end of our expectation and came about through the hard work of the candidates in their communities for years and months before the election.

Collectively we have campaigned to ensure our greenbelt is not developed and residents have understood that the environment and council services are safe with us. The faith and trust placed in us through the ballot box is humbling for all councillors and we are determined to match that faith with a clear track record of delivering our pledges.

In the coming weeks will we take a close look at the infrastructure needs of residents and businesses, now and for generations to come, and bring more momentum to the development of neighbourhood plans so that residents that have dedicated endless hours to bringing these plans forward are rewarded with the certainty that effective planning polices bring. Alongside this we will be looking at how to reduce the cost to taxpayers of the council’s central functions and to ensure that everything council officers are working on is strictly focused on our corporate priorities – Community Well Being, Prosperity and the Environment.

It promises to be an exciting time in Mole Valley’s towns and rural communities as we lay the foundations for the coming decades.