Wealden District Council appoints new Leader

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At a Full Council meeting yesterday (18th May), Conservative Councillor Ann Newton, 56, had her appointment as the authority’s new Leader ratified after standing unopposed.

New Leader Cllr Ann Newton

Ward member for Framfield and Cross-in-Hand since 2007, Cllr Newton is the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning and Development and has been its Deputy Leader since 2017.

Cllr Newton used her first appearance as Leader to praise her predecessor to the post, Cllr Bob Standley:

I sit here feeling inadequate and very much in his shadow. He was a brilliant long-standing and hard-working leader and I have a very, very daunting task to follow.

It was only due to Bob that the Council has the excellent financial status that it has, with his previous experience he has kept us afloat in difficult times. His measured reaction to dealing with difficult problems has been second to none.

I thank him, and I hope on behalf of all of us here today, can only add that I wonder what he is going to do with his spare time, or the time he has left when I’m not ringing him up.

Cllr Newton

While standing down from the leadership, Cllr Standley will remain on the Council as Ward Member for Frant and Wadhurst. He also remains as Cabinet member for Education on East Sussex County Council.

Speaking at the meeting, he said:

It has been 12 years since I was elected Leader, 15 years on the Cabinet. So it does feel rather strange sitting here. When I came in this morning I realised I had never sat in this part of the chamber.

I am sure I will find things to do. I will miss some of it. The main thing I will miss of course is the allocated parking space, but I am sure I will get over that.

It all sounds like I am about to pop off, but I do intend to stay alive for quite a bit longer. I will be here to advise, but not interfere.

Cllr Standley

After taking her post as Leader, Cllr Newton confirmed a number of changes to the Council’s Cabinet posts. .

These changes include three new appointments: Pam Doodes (Herstmonceux & Pevensey Levels) for Climate Change, Public Health and Community Leadership; Richard Hallett (Crowborough St Johns) for Governance, Customers Services and HR; and Neil Waller (Crowborough South West) for Finance and Benefits.

Meanwhile Cllr Ray Cade (Herstmonceux & Pevensey Levels) sees his Cabinet post change from Housing and Benefits to Housing and Waste, while Cllr Philip Lunn (Crowborough South East) becomes Cabinet member for Commercial, Economic Development and Leisure. Cllr Lunn is also to become Deputy Leader of the Council.

As part of the reshuffle, Cllr Roy Galley, previously the Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, Economic Development, Waste Management and HR, steps down from the Cabinet.

Cllr Newton will retain her Portfolio for Planning and Development.

For a second-term, Cllr Ron Reed (Crowborough Central) was re-elected Chairman of the Council, with Cllr Angela Snell (Polegate Central) as Vice-Chairman.

The Constitution sets out how the Council operates, how decisions are made and the procedures which are followed to ensure that decisions are efficient, transparent and accountable to local people.

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