For too long local government has been dominated by the political class.

The culture of the two main national political parties is tribal and the creation of the stronger leader model and the cabinet system means most local councils operate in small powerful groups with less opportunity for the backbenchers and opposition councillors to challenge or change local policy.

What was interesting at the recent local elections was that residents are starting to understand that they hold the power.

Brexit is dominating national politics for sure but what happened in Uttlesford, where residents for Uttlesford gained control of the council from the Conservatives, and the seats won by independent members and the Green Party in the Braintree district was not because of Brexit.

Residents were quite clear: they were voting for change, they wanted their vote to count.

Power to the people I say.

An opportunity has been created for more challenge, on local issues, against a Conservative dominated and controlled Braintree Council. This is democracy.

We should embrace democracy and use this opportunity to work more closely with the people that we represent to ensure residents are engaged in the process of local government, inside and outside of the council chamber.

People, not politics.

Jo Beavis

Independent district councillor for Braintree Council's Hedingham Ward

Independent county councillor for Halstead, High Garrett, the Colnes, Gosfield and Greenstead Green