Crawley’s Conservative group has started its tenure in opposition with the election of a new leader.
Cllr Duncan Crow was elected to take over from Cllr Howard Bloom during a meeting at the town hall on Wednesday (May 27).
In his first statement since the Tories lost control of the council to Labour, Cllr Crow promised to keep the new administration on its toes and to speak out against any perceived overspending.
He added: “Naturally, moving into opposition isn’t the best feeling in the world, but we are very positive as a group looking forward and we don’t intend to stay in opposition for too long.
“We will work to regain the support of the town as we genuinely believe that ultimately, a Conservative run council is better for Crawley.”
Cllr Richard Burrett (Pound Hill North) was named as deputy leader.
Cllr Bloom, who was elected to the Pound Hill South & Worth ward at the recent election said he felt his loss of the post came because the Conservatives wanted “a different approach” to leadership and added: “That’s democracy.”
Cllr Bloom became leader in Spetember 2013 following the resignation of Cllr Bob Lanzer, who served as leader for seven years. As for his brief time as leader, Cllr Bloom said: “I think very few people get to be leader of a council and to occupy the role, even for a short time was an honour.
“It was a very steep learning curve but I was grateful to be able to do it.”
Regarding his hopes for the Conservatives, Cllr Crow said the short-term aim was to “draw a line in the sand from anything that’s happened before and move forward”.
The past year has been one of turmoil for the Tories, with the loss of one of their number – Cllr Karl Williamson – to UKIP.
Cllr Crow added: “I am very much looking forward to this new challenge. We intend to be a constructive opposition and will work with the Labour group for the benefit of the town. However, we will keep Labour on their toes and we will highlight any poor policies or wasteful spending.”