Thames Ditton's newly re-elected councillor has set out her agenda - and explained why she believes independent candidates in Elmbridge and across the country were so successful in last week's local elections.

Karen Randolph, of the Thames Ditton and Weston Green Residents' Association, won 67% of the vote, easily defeating challengers from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour.

Speaking after the result, she said: "Generally, I think voters are fed up with the deadlock over Brexit - regardless of which way they voted in the Referendum. However this has been as much as anything a failure of politics. It has made people sceptical about the ability of the national parties to handle difficult questions and this loss of confidence is extending to a lack of confidence that they can understand local issues or give them any priority."

Nationally, independent parties gained 661 new councillors, whereas the Conservative Party and Labour both suffered, with the Conservatives losing 1330 councillors across the country.

Locally, Ms Randolph said she would remain focused on environmental issues, such as single-use plastic, as well as parking and planning issues. She said her particular area of interest is local planning, and revealed: “Elmbridge is having to prepare a ‘Local Plan’.  This will outline the overall strategy and broad local policies which will manage how and where built development occurs in Elmbridge for the next 15 years.”

She added: “So one of the main headaches I may have, depending upon how responsibilities are organised following the election, is how Elmbridge increases the number of homes while not damaging the character and quality of our urban areas, and while not permitting building in the Green Belt, but with the Planning Inspector’s approval!”

Next door in Hinchley Wood and Weston Green ward, another independent, Janet Turner, also won. She gained more than 73% of the vote. Karen Randolph believes that the rise in independent politics has encouraged volunteering, and helped local residents to take more interest in local issues.

Overall in Elmbridge, the Residents' Association Group gained two seats - Esher & Weybridge St George’s Hill.  The new seat distribution for Elmbridge Borough Council is:

     Conservatives   21

     RA Group         17

     Lib. Dems.        10