A NEW leader has been elected at Winchester City Council.

Following the departure of Stephen Godfrey last month, Caroline Horrill was elected last night. She was the portfolio holder for housing services.

Cllr Horrill will be the sixth Conservative leader of the council in six years and opponents expressed their disappointment that the cabinet has remained the same.

Liberal Democrat Group leader, Lucille Thompson described the Conservative cabinet as being a "pension plan for failed leaders”.

Before being elected, Cllr Horrill had to contend with a council vote, where leader of the Lib Dem Group Lucille Thompson also made a play for the role.

However, Cllr Horrill was voted in, with 23 votes, and 19 for Cllr Thompson.

Setting out her vision, she said the concept of community is “fundamental” to how members serve Winchester, and councillors should always ask themselves if what they recommend is the right thing for residents.

She spoke of the financial challenge the authority faces, with government grants drying up.

Cllr Horrill promised her approach will be inclusive and collaborative.

She said: “I want to be clear, honest and timely some may see change as risky but it does give us an opportunity to reassess and refocus.

“I hope my appointment gives us the chance to do things differently and see different outcomes.”

After being elected, she thanked Cllr Godfrey for his work as leader.

Cllr Horrill will have a number of challenges to deal with when starting the busy role.

She will working with new chief executive at Winchester City Council Laura Taylor who replaced Simon Eden.

The new leader will also aim to carry out the new council strategy, where Winchester City Council is transforming the authority into an “entrepreneurial council”.

A number of issues could also make and break Cllr Horrill, with the scheme for the Station Approach area which collapsed last year back on the cards.

There is also a supplementary planning document being created for future regeneration of Silver Hill, and it is hoped the building of a new leisure centre in Bar End will start this year.

As reported, Cllr Godfrey said that he felt it was the right time to leave the role after 17 months.

He cited further pressures and obligations coming his way, and felt he wanted to spend more time with his family.

The others leaders were George Beckett, Keith Wood, Rob Humby, Frank Pearson and Mr Godfrey.