A FIRST time Conservative councillor has spoke of his surprise at winning a Labour stronghold seat in last week's Redditch Council elections.

Mike Rouse beat long-standing Labour councillor Nina Wood-Ford - by just one vote in Church Hill.

He admits however, that he has a lot of work to do to "build bridges".

His victory helped the Conservatives take over leadership of Redditch Borough Council.

Speaking after the results came in Mike said: "To win by a single vote is a tense moment and also forces you to confront the harsh reality that every single vote is important and really does matter.

"I also have to face the reality that I was not given a large majority by the people of Church Hill and this means I must redouble my efforts to work across the community in the best interests of local residents.

"The onus is on me to build bridges, I understand that, and I will do my best to make that happen. It will take time.

He added: "I grew up in an area just like Church Hill, so it immediately felt like home.

"There is a real community here that looks out for each other and so to earn the trust of Church Hill is a true honour and privilege.

"I pay tribute to Nina who fought an honourable campaign and carried herself with dignity throughout, even after the results became apparent."

The Conservatives gained four seats.

Labour lost two and UKIP lost its last councillor in the authority.

The result means Labour has lost control of its last council in the county while Worcester City Council remains under no overall control.

The Tories won seven of the 10 seats up for election, giving them 17 seats on Redditch council.