Arun District Council saw a change in administration at the Annual Meeting on Wednesday 23 May 2019.
The meeting started with Former Chairman Alan Gammon handing over the civic reins to Cllr Mrs Jeannette Warr who will be Chairman for the Civic year 2019-2020. Cllr Mrs Warr thank Chairman Gammon for his service and also paid tribute to Cllrs who had either chosen not to stand or had not been successful in the recent elections.
Looking forward to the future, the new Chairman welcomed all the new Councillors and those that has been elected for a further term and said she was looking forward to chairing fair and respectful meetings. Cllr Mrs Warr will be supporting the Arun District Council staff fundraising work throughout her year and is looking forward to working closely with officers.
The Vice Chairman role has been filled by Cllr Mrs Amanda Worne, ward Cllr for Yapton and new member of the Council. Mrs Worne is delighted to have been taken on the role of support to the Chairman and is looking forward to representing Arun District Council and raising awareness of disability and diversity in the district.
The Council, now made up of 22 Liberal Democrats, 21 Conservatives, 8 Independents, 2 Green and 1 Labour member, is the most diverse council Arun has ever seen. The council is made up of more young members, with Henry Jones (Yapton ward) the youngest ever Arun District Councillor at the age of 20. The Council also has three members with disabilities and a gay married couple.
During the meeting the appointments for group leaders were also made as follows:
Leader – Cllr Dr James Walsh. Deputy Leader – Cllr Francis Oppler
Leader - Cllr Terence Chapman Deputy Leader – Cllr Mike Clayden
Leader – Cllr Tony Dixon Deputy Leader – Cllr Hugh Coster
Leader – Cllr Mrs Isabel Thurston Deputy leader – Cllr Mrs Faye Catterson
Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Dr Walsh, Leader of the Council said: “The residents of Arun District have for the first time ever voted for an alternative administration, with only 35% voting Conservative, and 48%for the Liberal Democrat, Independents and Greens, with 13% for Labour.
“I intend to make this council much more open, transparent and genuinely consultative with all our residents. To that end we are going to webcast all full Council Meetings and as many committees as we can.
“I shall be reviewing the Cabinet system, where seven members, all from one party, take all executive decisions, and discuss moving to a proportional committee system where all members participate and take the decisions, within 12 months.
“Meanwhile Overview Scrutiny Select committee will be chaired by an Independent and have a Conservative vice-chairman., Standards will have a Conservative Chairman, Development Control a Liberal Democrat and Green, and Licensing by a Liberal Democrat and Independent member.
“I want to see if we can increase the projected 250 new council houses for rent toint eh region of 500 over 10 years, so that more of our local people can get decent housing, and crucially to get developers to put infrastructure in place to match new housing targets set by government.
I intend, through the Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable to improve town centre policing and to return the streets to our retailers, residents and visitors.”
Cllr Terry Chapman, speaking as leader of the Conservative group said: “The Liberal Democrat’s achievements in the Local Elections were notable but they didn’t win the popular vote, we outpolled them by more than 10,000.
“In opposition it will be our duty to scrutinise proposals from the Liberal Democrats and their coalition allies to ensure that future policies are in the best interests of all the residents of the Arun District not just individual wards or narrow sectional interests. With the support of the Independent Group they control the most seats but do not have the support of the greatest number of electors.”