Newly-elected East Devon District Council meets for the first time

EAST Devon’s newly elected district council has met for the first time following the local elections earlier this month, and councillors have appointed a new chairman, leader and committee chairmen.

At the council’s annual meeting on May 22, Councillor Stuart Hughes who represents the Sidmouth Sidford ward was appointed as chairman, taking over from Councillor Andrew Moulding (Axminster) who has held the post for the last two years.

His vice-chairman is Councillor Val Ranger from the Newton Poppleford and Harpford ward.

Councillor Hughes, who was previously chairman of the council from 2015 to 2017, commented: “I would like to thank members for putting their trust in me to fly the flag once again for East Devon. I certainly hope that the next twelve months are as memorable and enjoyable as the two years I previously spent as chairman which wasn’t that long ago.

Councillor Hughes also paid tribute to Councillor Moulding, who was voted leader of the Conservative group on the council.

Councillor Hughes said: “I should like to thank Andrew, supported by his wife Mary, for the sterling job he has done over the last two years as chairman.”

Councillor Ben Ingham (Woodbury and Lympstone), who is leader of the independent group – now the largest group on the council – was elected as leader of the council and his deputy is Councillor Susie Bond (Feniton).

Councillor Ingham told councillors: “We are committed to being a transparent and accountable administration. We will listen carefully to residents and communities to bring about change in a planned and managed way. We will work collaboratively with all councillors across the political spectrum.

“As the largest group, the independent group has unanimously agreed to step forward and take the lead. It’s a big task ahead, but by no means overwhelming. We are determined to prove our commitment and loyalty to East Devon is unparalleled.” 

Councillor Ian Thomas, who represents the Trinity ward (Uplyme, Rousdon, Combpyne and Axmouth) has been appointed Cabinet member for finance.

Councillor Thomas was previously leader of the council when he served as a Conservative member, but he announced shortly before the local election he would be standing as an independent.

Other councillors appointed to the Cabinet were as follows:

  • Cabinet member for Strategic Development: Cllr Susie Bond (Feniton)
  • Cabinet member for Economy: Cllr Kevin Blakey (Cranbrook)
  • Cabinet member for Sustainable Homes and Communities: Cllr Megan Armstrong (Exmouth Halsdon)
  • Cabinet member for the Environment: Cllr Geoff Jung (Woodbury and Lympstone) and deputy Cllr Peter Faithfull (Ottery St Mary)
  • Cabinet member for Corporate Services: Cllr Jess Bailey (West Hill and Aylesbeare)
  • Cabinet member for Transformation: Cllr Paul Millar (Exmouth Halsdon)
  • Cabinet member for Asset Management: Cllr Geoff Pook (Beer and Branscombe)

Chairmen and vice-chairmen of East Devon District Council’s committees are as follows:

  • Overview Committee: Chairman Cllr Nick Hookway (Exmouth Littleham) and vice-chairman Cllr Vicky Johns (Ottery St Mary)
  • Scrutiny Committee: Chairman Cllr Alan Dent (Budleigh and Raleigh) and vice-chairman is Cllr Kim Bloxham (Cranbrook)
  • Housing Review Board: Chairman Cllr Tony McCollum (Honiton St Paul’s) and vice-chairman will be appointed by the Housing Review Board
  • Strategic Planning Committee: Chairman Cllr Susie Bond (Feniton) and vice-chairman Cllr Nick Hookway (Exmouth Littleham)
  • Development Management Committee: Chairman Cllr Mike Howe (Clyst Valley) and vice-chairman Cllr Kathy McLauchlan (Whimple and Rockbeare)
  • Audit and Governance: Chairman Cllr Sam Hawkins (Cranbrook) and vice-chairman Cllr Geoff Pratt (Ottery St Mary)
  • Standards: Chairman of the Council – Cllr Stuart Hughes (Sidmouth, Sidford)
  • Interviewing (Chief Officers): Chairman Cllr Ben Ingham (Woodbury and Lympstone) and vice-chairman Cllr Susie Bond (Feniton)
  • Employment Appeals: Chairman Cllr Susie Bond (Feniton)
  • Licensing and Enforcement: Chairman Cllr Paul Jarvis (Budleigh and Raleigh) and vice-chairman Cllr Kim Bloxham (Cranbrook)
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