Cllr Richard Wenham was elected as the new leader of Central Bedfordshire Council at the first full council meeting of 2021 last night (14 January 2021).
The unitary authority was created in 2009 and Cllr Wenham, is the third leader of the Council. The previous leader Cllr James Jamieson had been leader since 2011.
Following his election, Cllr Wenham expressed his pride in the confidence that had been placed in him by a majority of his fellow councillors.
He also outlined his priorities in the short and longer term. He said:
“Our amazing front line workers are continuing to support the pandemic response, in social care and in other essential services such as waste and recycling and business support.
“We are also working very closely with NHS colleagues, for example around the vaccination programme.
“The challenges of the current emergency are quite rightly our immediate priority, but in the months ahead we will also be working on a range of other vital initiatives to serve our customers, the residents and businesses of Central Bedfordshire.”
Cllr Wenham was previously the Council’s deputy leader. The new deputy (from 19 January 2021) is Cllr Sue Clark, ward councillor for Cranfield and Marston Moretaine and executive member for Families, Education and Children.
New leader’s focus for the council
In the context of the 2050 Vision for Central Bedfordshire which was developed with local residents, businesses and other organisations and formally endorsed by the Council in December, Cllr Wenham referred to his areas of focus for the Council.
These will include:
- Protecting the environment through comprehensive sustainability plans
- Supporting the health and wellbeing of our 290,000 residents
- Delivering homes to meet the needs of all residents
- Improving services such as roads and transport
- Building schools for the future to meet the needs of all our young people, including those with Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities
- Ensuring the care of vulnerable residents
“I believe we will be judged by the public by how effectively we serve our communities and how efficiently we operate.
“We have an ambitious programme to make Central Bedfordshire a great place to live and work for everyone and I sincerely hope to work well with all Members of this Council to deliver that goal.”
A new Executive Team was also announced at the Council meeting, which will come into being on Tuesday 19th January. This combines some new members as well as a number of councillors who have served on the previous Executive:
Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council: Cllr Richard Wenham
Deputy Leader & Executive Member for Families, Education and Children: Cllr Sue Clark
Deputy Executive Member for Families, Education and Children: Cllr Amanda Dodwell
Executive Member for Regeneration and Planning: Cllr Kevin Collins
Deputy Executive Member for Regeneration and Planning: Cllr Mark Liddiard
Executive Member for Community Services: Cllr Ian Dalgarno
Deputy Executive Member for Community Services: Cllr Ian Bond
Executive Member for Sustainability and Transformation: Cllr Steve Dixon
Deputy Executive Member for Sustainability and Transformation: Cllr Steve Watkins
Executive Member for Housing and Assets: Cllr Eugene Ghent
Deputy Executive Member for Housing and Assets: Cllr Ewan Wallace
Executive Member for Adult Social Care: Cllr Carole Hegley
Executive Member for Corporate Resources: Cllr David Shelvey
Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Communities: Cllr Tracey Stock
Deputy Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Communities: Cllr Brian Spurr