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New Basingstoke and Deane Independent councillor pleased Bramley rejects 'party politics'

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The Basingstoke and Deane Independents (BDI) became the majority party in the Bramley ward as Tony Durrant ousted one of the Conservative incumbents Simon Mahaffey.

Mr Durrant, who is also the Bramley Parish Council chairman, becomes the second BDI councillor alongside Chris Tomblin after securing 1,330 votes to Mr Mahaffey’s 938, with a turnout of 36.5 per cent.

Conservative Nick Robinson makes up the three.

Tony Durrant, the new BDI councillor for Bramley (56539057)
Tony Durrant, the new BDI councillor for Bramley (56539057)

Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News after his win, Mr Durrant said he was pleased the ward was rejecting “party politics”.

He said: “I’m pleased Bramley has said it wants a strong independent voice, and that party politics is not for us – and that pleases me from a local council point of view.

“I’m looking forward to getting on with the job and representing the whole of the ward whoever and wherever.”

Tony Durrant becomes the second BDI councillor for Bramley (56507668)
Tony Durrant becomes the second BDI councillor for Bramley (56507668)

Mr Durrant said he wanted to focus on potential developments within the ward to ensure the villages didn’t become overdeveloped, and he was keen to encourage the borough council to be more proactive with its climate strategy, “rather than waiting for someone to deliver a solution”.

Mr Durrant was one of the key campaigners against the huge solar farm between Silchester and Bramley, and said he was “delighted” that it had been turned down.

He said the farm would have started to coalesce the two communities

He said: “I was delighted because of its location and its impact on our countryside.

Conservative Simon Mahaffey (centre) lost his Bramley seat
Conservative Simon Mahaffey (centre) lost his Bramley seat

“All the negatives were very clear and all the pros were a bit airy fairy and mathematical and questionable whether they could be delivered.

“I would like to see more renewable energy – I think the council and the Government should encourage brownfield sites.”

This will be Mr Durrant’s first time on the borough council, after being a parish councillor for 10 years and chairman for eight of those years.

He stood in the 2019 General Election as an independent “purely to give people choice”.

Before he retired, Mr Durrant was in finance and operations, describing his job as helping companies “get to a level where somebody would acquire them”.

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