THE new coalition of independent councillors leading a new era for Castle Point Council insist they can work together despite their differences.

The Canvey Island Independent Party (CIIP) is now working with the People's Independent Party (PIP) to run the council following a dramatic election last week. 

The Conservatives lost overall control for the first time in nearly two decades after six councillors lost their seats to PIP candidates. 

Although no party gained overall control, a deal was struck between the independent parties to form a coalition and jointly run the council.

New leader and CIIP councillor for Canvey Central, Dave Blackwell, has sought to reassure residents his priorities lie with the entire borough, despite admitting the coalition faces “major challenges”.

Echo: In waiting - Dave Blackwell will be Castle Point Council's next leader In waiting - Dave Blackwell will be Castle Point Council's next leader

He said: “We get on well with The People’s Independent Party and they’re all good people.

"They’re all just normal people like us who only want to so the best they can for the community.

"Why can’t we work together?

“Yes we’re an independent party on Canvey and we probably know our area better but the most important thing is we all agree to support each other.”

He added: “If you don’t that’s when the finger-pointing comes in but it won’t happen to us.

"Of course we’ll have disagreements but I’m looking to tackling the challenges with them.”  

Mr Blackwell’s deputy leader will be Steven Cole, leader of PIP and councillor for St George's.

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Despite his party's focus being on the mainland, he is also confident the coalition can be a success. 

The parties plan to split the 12 cabinet positions evenly, with each one filling half the roles.

Mr Cole said: “We’re working together as a group for the benefit of this community. We’re all united in the common good.

“We want to be a beacon to other independents throughout Essex and throughout the country that groups can work together."

He added: “Councils should not be run by major political parties.

"We’ve all got the same purpose and the same ethos.”