01:00PM, Wednesday 25 September 2019
The new leader of the Royal Borough has promised changes to how the council is run.
Cllr Andrew Johnson (Con, Hurley and Walthams) was voted into the post at Tuesday’s full council meeting, having only been elected to the borough in May.
He replaces Simon Dudley, who suddenly announced his resignation two weeks ago.
Cllr Johnson, who since then has served as cabinet member for infrastructure, transport policy, housing and property, described his election as a ‘privilege’ at the meeting.
Speaking to the Advertiser yesterday, Cllr Johnson said: “The last couple of weeks have been slightly unexpected to say the least.”
But he added he is ‘delighted and honoured’ to have been chosen to ‘take the Royal Borough forward’.
Despite only joining the council in May, he served as a councillor at Hammersmith and Fulham from 2006 – 2014.
In 2008, he made national headlines for becoming the UK’s youngest mayor aged 28.
The 40-year-old moved to the borough over two years ago and works in corporate communications.
Cllr Johnson described himself as a ‘prudent’ Conservative who cares about the environment and providing opportunity to people in the borough.
After opposition councillors asked for a named vote to approve his appointment as leader, 20 councillors voted in favour, 15 against and two abstained.
He told members at Tuesday’s meeting that ‘there will be some changes’ and that he has a different style of leadership to his predecessor.
“I think you will start to see that style emerge in terms of not only in the decision making process going forward but also our revised vision for taking this borough forward,” he said.
“The vision of this administration is to make the Royal Borough an even better place, an even more dynamic place, an even more creative place, not only for our residents who live there and clearly cherish living here but also businesses looking to invest.”
He said his council will be ‘one that listens and responds and devises innovative and creative ways’ of achieving its goals – and he mentioned his priorities as financial prudence, low taxes, crack down on crime, protect the most vulnerable, and delivering opportunities in education and housing.
Cllr Johnson takes the reins at a critical time - the borough’s financial state has been criticised, its borough local plan has stalled and regeneration works continue.
He also praised Mr Dudley for ‘unlocking’ Maidenhead’s regeneration.
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