New North Herts council chairman – as Labour takes Hitchin and Letchworth committees
PUBLISHED: 13:56 18 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:56 18 May 2018
The new chairman of North Herts District Council was announced last night – along with the Labour chairmen for two of the authority’s area committees.
Kimpton councillor John Bishop is the new chairman of the Conservative-controlled council, with Royston’s Councillor Jean Green becoming vice-chairman.
Lynda Needham and Julian Cunningham remain leader and deputy leader, with Councillor David Barnard appointed to the cabinet as executive member for leisure and green issues.
Mr Bishop said he was thrilled to represent the district council as chairman, and congratulated his predecessor Alan Millard on raising £3,130 for his chosen charities over the past year.
He added: “I greatly look forward to starting my duties as chairman and aim to live up to the high standards set by my predecessor.”
Before the Letchworth meeting for all district council members, construction firm Willmott Dixon presented Mr Millard with a cheque for £1,000 raised by the company for one of his chosen charities, Snappy G’s Youth Club.
The district council’s Labour group gained control of Hitchin and Letchworth committees as the Conservative majority lost five seats in this month’s local elections – two to Labour and three to the Liberal Democrats.
The Hitchin area committee is now chaired by Councillor Ian Albert, with Councillor Clare Billing as vice-chairman. Councillors Gary Grindal and Helen Oliver have taken up the equivalent roles in Letchworth.
The Conservative group also agreed to have Labour councillor Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg as vice-chairman of the district council’s overview and scrutiny committee.
Mr Albert told this paper: “These are welcome changes and reflect the new balance on the council. We hope that this will lead to far more collaboration and transparency on the district council, and to using the talents of councillors of all parties far more effectively in future.”
He added that it was vital his committee worked across party lines to “represent a strong and united voice for Hitchin”.
The Baldock and District, Southern Rural and Royston area committees remain under Conservative control.
In Stevenage, Sharon Taylor remains leader of the Labour-controlled borough council.
A new mayor and deputy mayor are set to be elected on Wednesday next week – with political group leaders, committee members and a youth mayor also due to be appointed.