CASTLE Point Council has a new leader after the Conservatives agreed to run the authority.

Tory councillor Colin Riley, who represents Victoria Ward, was chosen to lead the council during a council meeting in Kiln Road, Thundersley.

Bill Sharp, Conservative councillor for St James’ ward, was elected as his deputy.

The council will now be run as a minority by the Conservative Party, but Mr Riley is confident all parties will be able to work together.

He said: “I am confident we will be able to lead the council for the better of the borough.

“Obviously, there will be times when there will be challenges, but we are determined to work with the other two parties.

“We are due to have a leaders’ meeting next Friday and will update the leaders of the other two parties on all matters.”

Mr Riley added he hopes councillors will be able to get involved with residents on a regular basis through a new community forum which he has introduced.

Councillors will organise meetings at least twice a year to discuss residents’ concerns.

He said: “We want to open up the process to get our members more involved with the community, which is why we’re introducing community forums.

“We feel it is important to get the residents to meet with councillors to put forward their views, because we are working for them.”

Mr Riley has also introduced a new portfolio – Canvey Island floods and water management – which Tory councillor for Canvey West, Ray Howard, will be responsible for.

He said it was important the island was represented and Mr Howard was the best man for it.

Mr Howard said: “I am very honoured. There is a lot of work to be done for Canvey.”

Mr Sharp added he hopes the council will be even more successful over the next year.

Mr Riley takes the leadership from Tory councillor PamChallis, who led the council for 11 years.

Mrs Challis lost her seat for St Peter’s Ward to Ukip councillor Ron Hurrell.