IT’S all change at Stratford District Council after the former leader stood down and was replaced.
Councillor Chris Saint – who has led the Conservative group and district council for the last seven years – failed to keep the leadership of the ruling Tories at the group’s recent annual meeting.
And following the lost leadership vote he announced he would stand down as council leader on Friday (May 11).
It also comes after the veteran councillor had suffered health issues in recent months and announced to the conservative group earlier this year that he planned to step down.
He has now been replaced by Coun Tony Jefferson from Welcombe Ward, who has been appointed leader of the group and will have his role as council leader confirmed at a full council meeting on Wednesday (May 16).
Coun Mark Cargill of Bidford West and Salford ward, was elected as deputy leader, and coun Jo Barker from Shipston South was appointed as group whip.
Chris Saint – who had led the council for seven years – will remain in his role as councillor for Shipston North.
Coun Jefferson said “It’s an enormous privilege to be elected leader of Stratford District Council and to receive the overwhelming support of my fellow councillors.
“I am particularly passionate about the future of our district, we have a strong base on which to build and we need to increase the momentum going forward.
“I believe our strong new administration team will provide increased ambition for Stratford District Council as it focuses on delivering better services and value for money for everyone who lives, works and visits the district. Every member of the team brings wide ranging expertise and enthusiasm to their roles, and I am looking forward to working to improve the services accessed by our residents, and to making a difference where it really matters.
“The success of any council is down to the calibre and quality of staff and officers who work in the organisation. We are extremely fortunate in having such an experienced, highly skilled and loyal workforce, and together we can face the challenges of bringing success through growth and to helping the most vulnerable people in our society.”
Coun Jefferson says he plans to focus on working more effectively with stakeholders, bringing an aspirational and clearer strategic vision for the council, making Stratford District Council one of the country’s best and ensuring it is fit for purpose to cope with more challenging times ahead.
Coun Saint – who has served on the district council for 20 years – thanked those who supported him during his time as leader.
He said: “It has been a privilege to have been given the opportunity to serve as leader of Stratford District Council.
“Despite the changing and challenging local government landscape in recent years I have enjoyed playing my part and found it hugely rewarding.
“None of what I have achieved as leader has been achieved alone. I have been incredibly lucky to have a team of talented councillor colleagues and a set of dedicated council officers alongside me.”