Council Leader to stand down

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Bob Standley has announced he is standing down as Leader of Wealden District Council in May.

He has been a District Council for 18 years and Council Leader for 12 years. Cllr Standley has represented Frant & Wadhurst since first being elected in 2004.

Councillor Standley said:

I have been thinking for some time whether I should continue as Leader of the Council and have concluded that having served 18 years and with elections next year, now is the right time for a new Leader to take over and lead the Council up to and through those elections.

It has been an honour and a privilege to serve the community over those 18 years of which 15 years have been in Wealden’s Cabinet and 12 years as Leader.

Cllr Standley

Wealden District Council’s Chief Executive Trevor Scott led the thanks to Councillor Standley:

Through his influence and ability to tackle challenges with enthusiasm and working with others, he has instilled confidence in the ability of the Council to provide excellent service delivery and value for money. In my opinion his achievements stand out and he is inspirational and a role model to others.

Trevor Scott, Chief Executive

The announcement from Wealden District Council highlights some of the Council’s achievements under his leadership:

Councillor Standley has overseen a transformation programme that reduced the Council’s costs, is acclaimed for improving the wellbeing and quality of life for Wealden residents and been the driving force to ensure the authority is in a strong position to enable continued excellent delivery of services to residents.

He has also been at the forefront of delivering major capital projects within Wealden including the creation of Sussex Weald Homes Ltd in 2017, which delivers smaller family homes and contributes to keeping Council Tax as low as possible; overseeing a £7m leisure centre refurbishment programme; creating Wealden Crematorium in 2020, as well as supporting the development of Ashdown Business Park and Swallow Park Business Centres in 2015 and 2017. He has been leading on the plan for a 40 acre employment park near Hailsham, which is forecast to create hundreds of jobs for local people over the next 10 years.

Wealden District Council

Councillor Standley’s Conservative colleague and friend, Councillor Ann Newton, who is the deputy leader of the council, said:

Bob has been inspirational in supporting Wealden businesses and residents during his tenure and delivered exceptional local public services for our communities.

Councillor Standley will continue to serve on East Sussex County Council where he sits on the Cabinet as lead member for Education Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

He will step down as Leader of the Conservative group at an AGM at the end of April.

An email supposedly written by Cllr Standley was published on the Save Wealden from Overdevelopment Facebook group last week. As the post was made in the early hours of the 1st April, some took it to be an April Fool.

In it, he said he will be supporting Cllr Newton, the current Deputy Leader, to take over from him, and he urged his conservative colleagues to back the new Leader “to take the group through what will be a tough election” in May 2023.

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