FOLLOWING Labour's election win last night, and the council coming out of Conservative control after 14 years, Labour leader Andrew Western sets out his plans for change.

You mentioned to supporters that the Tories has lost a mandate to rule, how so?

Well, I think the mandate was clear that we won the popular vote by an incredible margin and a margin I never thought was possible in Trafford — almost 10 per cent. The Tories lost six seats, yes they gained one back, but that is a damning indictment on their performance running this borough over the past couple of years and I think it is clear that they have no mandate now."

When you were out on the doorstep what do you think convinced people that they should vote Labour?

The big issue Trafford wide is the feeling that people had had enough. The biggest issue that came up on the doorstep was the privatisation of environmental services, so the Amey contract and residents were really clear that the Tories had lost the plot with it. It had failed spectacularly and their previous reputation, which even I would acknowledge, was up to a couple of years ago that it was a solidly run authority.

"Since we last had local elections, yes, we had some indication that things were going well, we had had the General Election and the GM Mayoral Election, but since that last set of local elections, we have had the green bin charge come in and we have had the collapse of the Amey contract."

Amey was brought in just before those last local elections but the problems became apparent after May, 2016.

"Council tax has gone up 5 per cent twice, so the implication that only we would put up council tax when they have done in almost to the legal limit two years in a row is a nonsense.

"So there are a number of things which were big plusses for them that have turned into hug negatives. And then in those key wards up in Flixton, Davyhulme East and Davyhulme West, some real hot topic issues around Flixton Green Belt and the proposed closure of George H Carnall."

As far as George H Carnall is concerned what is the plan on that?

"It is a difficult one because we do understand that talks are at a fairly advanced stage with the Tories proposal for a basketball stadium and health club so really.

"If we form an executive, in other words, if we take control of the council, we will get all of the information as to where that is up to, but what we have told the community is that you haven't been listened to, you haven't been kept fully informed and it was literally pulled as a rabbit from a hat and we will launch a full consultation with the community in order to find out what they want and the future of that site."

And as far as Flixton Green Belt then and William Wroe what have you promised there?

"The proposals to build hundreds of homes on Flixton's Green Belt that will be scrapped if we take over the council, no questions asked."

And what is happening with Turn Moss?

"I have spoken to the Trafford chief executive this morning and she has confirmed because of what happened last night it wouldn't be sensible to have the planning application heard on May 17 which was a view that I strongly held and therefore for now the application has been postponed. But, again, if we form an executive, it will be withdrawn because the council is the applicant."

I thought you said originally that it would be scrapped?

"No, what our manifesto said was that we would withdraw it and engage with the community to come up with a plan for future use of Turn Moss that delivers demonstrable community benefits because the existing plans benefit nobody but a private football club — or certainly that is the strong view of local residents.

"We will work with the residents of Turn Moss because it is true that the facilities aren't great, the public at the minute have two flooded pitches and I have always argued that if it's good enough for Salford City to have the drainage improved then that drainage should be improved for residents as well.

"It's a public space and at the minute there are no changing facilities for women on site, that is something that we would like to look at if possible but the real key here is that that must not come at the expense of loss of access to public land with no demonstrable community benefit.

"And if residents say to us well you are throwing us a few scraps here and there, but ultimately, we lose big here if we lose access to two football pitches.

"We have got people in an out of Turn Moss all day and, basically, from a private organisation, that is not what green belt land in that area is for and should be for the enjoyment of local residents and that's a principle I will be taking forward."

Now for the local elections you had a lot of people out on the streets, do you think that's what made the difference?

"Make no mistake, we have been at this a good 12 months, week in week out, dozens, if not hundreds, of members contributed to this campaign.

"We had more than 200 people out yesterday and everybody recognises the importance of this council in terms of its symbolic nature for the Conservatives which is classed as a Tory flagship council so in terms of what it means for national politics, it is a real blow to the Tories.

"I think people were really up for getting the result we achieved last night."

When you use the word flagship, do you mean it was a ship heading for the rocks?

"Well it has been over the past couple of years because it has always been THE Tory council people talk about in the North of England. It's their only metropolitan borough in the North of England one of only two in the country. And the simple fact is that they have slipped into a position of managing decline in services which, in my view, is not good enough."

At this early stage what are the chances of Labour forming a coalition in Trafford?

"There are a number of options available to us. Obviously if we were in a dead heat situation with the Conservatives, a coalition would have been be absolutely necessary.

"We would have looked to form a coalition even if we had not been the largest party, but there's a possibility now that the two minority parties, the Lib-Dems and the Greens, may just decide to sit on their hands with us as the largest party. That would enable us to form an executive as well."

Is that what you are going to be pushing for?

"Not all all, I am really open to constructive conversations with both parties. What I think is absolutely clear is that there is a significant progressive majority in Trafford now with Labour, the Greens and the Lib-Dems and together, I think we can make real positive change for the borough."

Finally, what would you message be to the people of Turn Moss, Flixton, George H Carnall and residents sick to the eye teeth of potholes and services being run down?

"We know that residents want change and that is why they have voted for these results and it's going to take time.

"We are in a period of negotiations at the moment, so bear with us — some of those things we could deal with fairly quickly in terms of Turn Moss and Flixton's greenbelt.

"But the systematic underfunding of local government, the pothole issues, the issues with environmental services we are committed to do better for residents, but we do know that the funding envelope is tight and it will continue to get smaller, so we know that it will be a real challenge but we will do everything that we can do to improve services for residents."