The Deputy Leader of Halton Council has blamed “misinformation” from the opposition on his narrow victory in May’s local election.

Hale Cllr Mike Wharton, who was re-appointed as deputy leader of the council yesterday, said he felt “extremely pleased and privileged” that residents “saw through” what the opposition said about him during this year’s local election campaign.

Mr Wharton gained 468 votes in May’s local election, winning the seat by a margin of 80 to 28-year-old independent candidate Luke Trevaskis.

Mr Trevaskis had accused the councillor of “catastrophic miscommunication” with Hale residents over council plans to develop housing on greenbelt land.

On election night council leader Cllr Rob Polhill said this accusation was “simply not true.”

Hale had the highest turnout of all the wards in Halton with 56.46 per cent of constituents casting their votes compared to the borough’s overall turnout of 28.06 per cent.

Hale is a one member ward and Cllr Wharton was uncontested when he last stood for election in 2014.

Mr Trevaskis, a Hale parish councillor for 10 years, attributed the high turnout to residents being given a “healthy opportunity” to choose between two candidates who were active in the village.

In his statement, Mr Wharton said he was committed to protecting greenbelt land and would continue to look after the borough’s most vulnerable.

He said: “Going forward I am on record as being totally committed to protecting our greenbelt from developers to ensure that we can all enjoy living in the Village and continue to enjoy our wonderful environment.

“I will ensure that in any consultation resident’s voices are heard, it is important that their views are always taken into account.

“I am also pleased to have retained my position as deputy leader and appreciate the faith my colleagues have in me.

"The council has significant challenges over the next few years particularly with regard to the very difficult financial position it faces given the reducing support from government and the increasing demand for our services.

“As ever, we as a council are fully committed to protecting our most vulnerable residents.”