A new political era is beginning in West Oxfordshire after the Conservatives lost control of the district council after 24 years in power.

Following last week’s local elections, the council went into no overall control with the Liberal Democrats agreeing to form an executive with Labour and the Greens.

Liberal Democrat Andy Graham is expected to become the leader and this week he confirmed the political parties are cooperating to form a new administration.

He said: "There is a strong political will there and we're now in the process of negotiations. The intention is not to draw it out so we can get on with the job."

He said the new leadership will prioritise climate change, pollution, providing affordable and social housing and delivering acceptable levels of service to residents.

He said: "There are big decisions to be made, not least that the Tories have not done enough about the housing land supply.  We will work closely with the other local authorities in Oxfordshire to deliver what residents have called for, and you will hold us to account."

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He said voters liked the Lib Dems' green travel and public transport policies, including the potential for rail to Oxford from Witney and Carterton.

A key priority would be to create more two- and three-bed homes rather than bigger ones and many voters were concerned about "housing developments being plonked without regard to the existing settlement".

He said: "People have realised that the Tory obsession with keeping council tax low has led to backlogs of planning applications and a failure to deliver services.  There is a recognition that, once you have cut out all the waste, any additional cuts mean people will suffer."

A Liberal-Labour-Green alliance would resemble the Fair Deal Alliance put together to change the guard at Oxfordshire County Council last year.

However, Mr Graham has said he wants any new West Oxfordshire administration to make its own way.

“They will be there to advise but I don’t think they will create the mould, that mould is already created firstly by this fantastic result and the candidates that are now councillors,” he said after the results came through.

“We have new ideas and a rich vein of experts from different walks of life.

“I am delighted for these new people who have stepped up to the mark to represent the communities in a real way. 

“It is a really positive step that will bring honesty and integrity back into politics.”

As for his view on the downfall of the Tories, he said: “I think they were complacent. I think they stopped caring and really they just didn’t, they ran negative campaigns which we ignored. We campaigned positively.”

Oxfordshire county councillor Liam Walker, who represents Hanborough and Minster Lovell, said:  “Clearly it was a disappointing night for us, and I think the reason was a mix of local issues, the national picture, and the candidate deals the Lib Dems have openly admitted to doing in some seats to help them seize power.

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"The district council is up for election again next year and we will now fight to take it back and in the meantime highlight why, just as we are seeing at the county council, a left-wing coalition of parties running the council is bad news for residents.

“We have seen at OCC an administration that in just a year has hiked up council tax to the legal limit, raised councillor allowances while residents feel the pinch, borrowed £88million this year alone, turned their backs on Oxfordshire farmers by imposing vegan only food at the council, spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on gender neutral toilets and they have hiked up parking charges in parts of Oxford.

"There is nothing fair about this new Fair Deal Alliance!" 

At last week's local elections, the Liberal Democrats gained five seats from the Conservatives with Labour and the Greens winning another one each.

Just four of the 11 seats being defended by the Conservatives remained blue.

Deputy leader David Harvey and cabinet member Merilyn Davies were high-profile casualties.

The Tories dropped from 27 seats to 20 overall with the Liberal Democrats moving from 10 to 15. Labour have nine, the Greens have two and there are three independent councillors, none of whom were involved in this year’s elections, in West Oxfordshire.

A Liberal-Labour-Green alliance will have 26 of West Oxfordshire’s 49 seats.