Basildon is blue again after the Labour party was ousted in a dramatic turn at the polls which saw the leader of the town step down.

The Tories have taken back control of the council as they won four seats from the Labour party, with outgoing council leader Gavin Callaghan fearing the result would have “lasting consequences”.

Senior Conservatives admitted national politics may have provided councillors with a huge boost, sending a huge thank you to Prime Minister Boris Johnson for helping to secure votes.

Following the count, Craig Rimmer, councillor for Pitsea South East, announced he is set to push to become Tory leader of Basildon.

He said: “We are totally delighted and this is a fantastic result.

“Now we’ve got a group of councillors with great representation of the new town who will work hard for the community.

“It’s really fantastic testament to people power against the arrogant Labour plans for the town centre.

“Some of it was the Boris Johnson vaccine boost that helped us a lot.”

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The Tories now have control of 22 council seats, while Labour ended the day with 12 seats.

The Wickford Independents have two seats while the Independents have four and Absolute Independents won two seats.

The Conservatives took Vange, Pitsea South East, St Martin’s and Laindon Park.

The previous Labour and Independent-led administration had plans for up to 4,000 high-rise homes in the town centre, a 5,000-seat arena, new transport hub and improvements to the Towngate Theatre.

But the Tories have vowed to redraft the £1billion overhaul of the town centre after winning control of the council.

Craig Rimmer, Tory councillor for Pitsea South East, said: “We will stop the high rise and consult with residents to come up with a plan that they want to see and agree with.”

Carole Morris, Tory councillor who was re-elected for Wickford North, raised concerns that the previous consultation was “loaded with leading questions”.

Ms Ademuywia also feared the administration were pushing ahead with the major plans without consider the impact on people’s lives and infrastructure.

She said: “What was so important for this election was the direction in which our town centre is going to take.

“The main issues were over development of the town centre. The residents felt they were not being listened to about their concerns of this.

“It’s not right for such major development was set to change Basildon so much and residents to feel they are not being listened to.”

She added that plans to reduce the size of the Asda shop within the Eastgate Centre as part of plans for 4,000 homes “did not make any sense”.

The newly-elected councillor said there would also have been issues for older and disabled people in the town centre if the major proposals did go ahead.

She added: “The council was pushing through the plans without even thinking about it properly.

“It’s also essential we do not overload our doctors and health services and this would have happened if these plans to through and we cannot have that at all.”

The shift in power at the council comes after plans to partly demolish the Eastgate Shopping Centre and build 2,800 homes were given the green light, despite calls to defer the decision for further talks.

The project, which is now likely to be redrafted under the new administration, was set to see flats built and the Asda store demolished and rebuilt in a smaller store in the centre.

The development would also have created up to 600 new jobs.

The Labour and Independent administration’s vast masterplan also included a £8.4million youth zone off Ashdon Way, in the town centre.

It was set to be funded by the council and charity OnSide and offer a sports hall, a floodlight 3G pitch, a climbing wall, a fitness suite, and entertainment facilities.