AN independent-led coalition has taken power of Tendring Council with the support of Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

The authority, which had been run by a Conservative-led administration since 2009, was again left in no overall control following the local elections on May 4.

The election saw 19 Conservatives, 16 independents, 8 Labour, 4 Liberal Democrats and one Tendring First councillor elected.

Tendring Independents group leader and Clacton councillor Mark Stephenson was voted in as council leader, after gaining the support of Labour, Lib Dems and other independents, at the council's annual meeting on Tuesday.

He beat Conservative group leader and Manningtree councillor Carlo Guglielmi by 29 votes to 19.

Mr Stephenson said: "I am very humbled to be elected as leader of the council.

"Residents have told us they wanted change and we promised to deliver on that mandate.

"We already have a big agenda to deliver, including Levelling Up projects in Clacton and Dovercourt.

"We will now sit down as a cabinet and discuss what comes next."

Mr Stephenson appointed Labour group leader and former Harwich MP Ivan Henderson as his deputy.

Mr Henderson said: "We've been waiting for this opportunity for a very long time.

"I represented most of Tendring for eight years as MP and now have another opportunity to do the same again right across the district.

"My portfolio includes regeneration, jobs and skills and I want to get right behind that and do all I can to bring prosperity and opportunities to the people of this district."

Previous council leader Neil Stock stood down at the election after almost 20 years as a councillor to focus on his business.

Mr Guglielmi, who replaced Mr Stock as group leader, said he was "disappointed" that the Conservatives would no longer run the council.

He said: "We like to think we have left this authority in a stable financial position.

"We have secured a lot of Government funding for Tendring, including £100million for a link road for the rapid transport system, one of the biggest garden community projects in the country and £27million to improve Clacton and Dovercourt town centres - that will be game-changing for the area.

"We won't oppose the administration just for the sake of it - we will be a critical friend."

Mr Stephenson revealed he will also take on responsibility for finance and governance, while Mr Henderson will be the portfolio holder for economic growth, regeneration and tourism.

The other cabinet members are: Andy Baker (Ind, Eastcliff) housing and planning, Mick Barry (Ind, Brightlingsea) leisure and public realm, Gina Placey (Ind, Cann Hall) partnerships, Peter Kotz (Lab, Coppins) assets, and Mike Bush (Ind, the Oakleys & Wix) environment.

Outgoing council chairman Peter Harris handed over the chain of office to newly-elected chairman Gary Scott (Lib Dem, Alresford & Elmstead), who was also voted in by councillors during the meeting. Dan Casey (Ind, West Clacton & Jaywick) was elected as deputy chairman.

Mr Harris thanked councillors for their support during his term of office, and gave his best wishes to the new chairman as he took up the role.

The chairman oversees full council meetings and is the civic leader, representing Tendring at numerous events within the district and elsewhere.