New leader of Gravesham Council Cllr John Burden speaks out on election results

THE new leader of Gravesham Council has spoken out about his success.

Councillor John Burden and his party won back control of Gravesham Council after a four-year Conservative term.

Voters across the borough turned out yesterday (May 5) to give the party a 25 seat majority over the Conservatives' 19.

Cllr Burden, 48, was the leader of the council from 2002 until 2007 before the Conservatives took over.

Now back in power, he says he will run the council differently to its previous leader, Cllr Mike Snelling.

Speaking to News Shopper this morning, Cllr Burden said: “There is a need to reconnect with the local community.

“We will deliver the routine services and make sure we are listening to the community and taking their views into consideration.

“There is concern in wards across the area that the council has forgotten about them.

“For example, in Singlewell, the roads need to be cleaned and there is still fear of crime.

“We need to get involved.”

He is celebrating the recent victory today in Gravesham with leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband.

Attributing his party’s success to breaking away from national Conservative policies, Cllr Burden said: “We won because the residents want to send a clear message to government about their concerns, including the NHS, and they want a local government that cares.”

Cllr Burden lives in Istead Rise with his 55-year-old partner Jenny, who works as a secretary.

He will continue working as a freelance building surveyor while carrying out his role of leader of the council.

Cllr Burden added: “It’s important local councillors have a connection to the real world, which you only get by still working and having family connections.

“Just to be full time councillors takes you away from the community.”

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