At the final Council meeting of the 2014-18 term, tributes were paid to Councillors who were not seeking re-election. Whether they had served four years or forty, the commitment they had to public service was praised by other members of the Council.
The formal campaigning got underway for the 3rd May local election. These would be the first ones taking place under new ward boundaries to elect 30% fewer Councillors – in line with our 2014 election manifesto.
Our positive campaign that focused on Bexley’s future was underlined by our candidates signing a clean campaign pledge – however, despite many requests, no other candidates seeking election would sign such a pledge; hardly surprising giving the relentless negative campaigning of other candidates.
While the negative attacks from other parties and candidates – who seemed to spend the entire election attacking us – continued we were out and about every day talking to real people about real issues in all parts of the Borough. We were pleased to welcome so many supporters from other parts of London and the South East throughout the campaign.
The voters of Bexley responded to our solely positive campaign and gave us a fourth landslide election victory in a row in what was in fact our most successful ever election campaign. We saw our share of the vote go up 12%, winning 55% of all votes cast, and a 7% increase in the number of seats we hold.
Having boasted how they were going to win at least 22 seats and probably take control of the Council, Labour’s negative campaign based on running down Bexley was humiliatingly rejected by voters for a fourth time, with a dramatic reduction in the number of seats they held.
The new administration took office formally at the end of the month, but rather than waiting until then we all started back to work on 4th May, planning what needed to be done to begin the implementation of our manifesto commitments.
May also marked four years since the Council had moved into a single office in Watling Street, with new figures showing the decision to move sites was delivering annual savings of over £2m a year – our 2014 manifesto pledged to deliver savings of £1.5m so once again we delivered more than we promised.
Labour Councillors had voted against this entire project, opposing the saving of £2m a year and opposing the new homes for local families that were built on the sites of the former civic office sites.
Our manifesto commitment to make the litter enforcement pilot scheme permanent was delivered. At the same time fly-tippers received a crushing blow after illegally dumping waste in Slade Green. The perpetrators were identified and their vans were crushed to little pieces.
A fantastic Borough celebration to mark the anniversary of the Windrush generation was staged in Bexleyheath, the event included the annual Civic Parade.