COLCHESTER Council’s ruling coalition has agreed a deal to run the council for at least another year.

The Progressive Alliance of the Lib Dems, the Labour Party and the Highwoods Independents will form a refreshed coalition after strengthening their position on election night.

The group now has 27 councillors compared to the Conservative Group’s 23.

READ MORE: Coalition strengthens its grip on Colchester after council elections

Lib Dem Mark Cory will remain as leader of the council with Labour’s Julie Young taking the deputy role.

Mr Cory said: “There will be some new faces and we are negotiating together to work up a plan for bringing Colchester forward.”

Mrs Young added: “We hope to listen more and act accordingly to ensure we provide the quality of public services and the vision for Colchester the public expect and deserve.”

Gazette: Julie YoungJulie Young

Tina Bourne, who took over from Tim Young as leader of the Labour group on the council, said talks between the parties had been “very productive”.

Gazette: Tina Bourne is the new leader of the Labour GroupTina Bourne is the new leader of the Labour Group

She said: “Change is inevitable. It is our job as leaders to show change can be refreshing.

“We have a slightly strengthened majority and there are a couple of new people on the council, including a new group leader for the Conservatives. “

Gerard Oxford, leader of the Highwoods Independents, said the coalition was working on an exciting work package for the coming year.

He said: “We have come to an agreement on a plan going forward to deliver items which the public want to see delivered.”

Martin Goss, leader of the Lib Dems in Colchester, said: "Positive talks are ongoing about building on the work carried out in the last municipal year.

"It is about putting Colchester and all residents first."

Gazette: Lib Dem leader Martin GossLib Dem leader Martin Goss

However, Colchester’s first Green Party councillor Mark Goacher decided against joining the governing group in order to remain an independent voice on issues like garden communities.

Gazette: Mark Goacher will not join the coalitionMark Goacher will not join the coalition

He said: “On our election material we made it clear I would be an independent voice who would put residents of Castle ward first and I would not be told how to vote by anybody.

“You should not break your promises within the first days of being elected.”

Mr Cory said he still wanted to work with Mr Goacher and would be offering him a position on the new sustainability and environmental taskforce. 

He addded: "I think it would be positive to include him in the running of the council but I fully understand and respect he wants to maintain his independence."