New leader takes the helm at Wealden District Council

A new leader has been appointed at Wealden District Council.


Conservative Councillor Ann Newton, previously the deputy-leader, takes over from Councillor Bob Standley, who announced he was stepping down earlier this year after 12 years as leader and would not be standing for re-election to the authority next year.


Councillor Newton’s appointment as leader was ratified at a meeting of the Full Council today (Wednesday 18 May).


At the same meeting, the new deputy leader of the authority was announced as fellow Conservative Councillor Philip Lunn, who remains in the Cabinet but as the portfolio holder for Commercial, Economic Development and Leisure.


A new Cabinet committee was also announced by Councillor Newton, who is 56 and has represented Framfield & Cross-in-Hand since 2007.


She will remain as the portfolio holder for Planning and Development while former leader Pam Doodes becomes the lead member for Climate Change, Public Health and Community Leadership; Richard Hallett is the new portfolio holder for Governance, Customer Services and HR; Ray Cade stays on portfolio holder for Housing with Waste Management added to his responsibilities; and Neil Waller joins the cabinet with responsibility for Finance and Benefits.


Proposing Councillor Newton at Wednesday’s meeting, Councillor David Watts said, “I have always found Councillor Newton to listen to people’s concerns and any issues they may have with integrity and a strategic approach.


“Change is difficult for some people to embrace but embrace it we must and a change of leadership of the council should be seen as a positive.”


Councillor Newton paid tribute to Councillor Standley saying her colleague was a “brilliant, long standing hard working leader”.


Also at the meeting, Councillor Ron Reed was appointed chairman of the council for a further year with Councillor Angela Snell as his deputy for a second term.