Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour conduct St Albans council cabinet reshuffles
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Two former mayors have taken responsibility for business and the environment following a shake-up at the district council.
Salih Gaygusuz becomes the new portfolio holder for business and community and Frances Leonard steps in as portfolio holder for environment.
The Conservative leader of the council Alec Campbell said: “It was an opportunity to refresh the cabinet as the previous people had been running those departments for several years.
“They delivered a lot over that time and this is just a chance to get some different ideas and a different focus.”
Cllr Leonard’s main tasks will be increasing the amount of waste the district recycles to over 60 per cent and finalising the plan to fix Verulamium Lake.
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Cllr Gaygusuz will be increasing the provision for electric vehicles, hiking the number of car parking spaces for residents, and delivering new technology like automatic number plate recognition for the council’s car parks if it takes control in-house next year.
Cllr Campbell said: “We want to get cars out of car parks more quickly to reduce air pollution. A key concern in some areas is we do not have enough parking spaces, so we are planning to improve on-street parking through creating more spaces or through better management of the spaces we have.”
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On the other side of the council chamber, the Liberal Democrats have announced their spokespeople for 2018-19. Chris White remains group leader and is also the spokesperson on resources and commercial and development. The deputy group leader is Anthony Rowlands, the chair of the environment and sport scrutiny committee..
Rounding off the group is Ellie Hudspith, as spokesperson for planning; Robert Donald, for the environment; Chris Davies, covering business and community; and Rob Prowse, taking over housing and inclusion.
Cllr Hudspith said: “I want to communicate an aspirational vision and finally secure a Local Plan which delivers the number and type of homes we need, with the associated infrastructure to support them.”
St Albans Labour spokespeople will work on a slightly different basis - instead of shadowing portfolios, they speak on topics.
Malachy Pakenham and Dreda Gordon will speak for the group on housing, planning and conservation; Katherine Gardner will cover the environment; Janet Smith focuses on leisure, sports and heritage; group leader Roma Mills will oversee resources and transport; and Eileen Harris will speak on community engagement and localism.
Cllr Mills said: “The big issues for St Albans are the development of the city centre and housing in the Local Plan, and making sure it really meets local need. But while I think housing is very important, we need to think about the right kind of infrastructure, including secondary schools, GP surgeries, transport and employment. We do not want to be in a position in St Albans where people go work somewhere else.
“We want to keep an eye on Universal Credit as that’s having a huge impact, we see the quality of our air is causing concern, and we will be looking what is being done to clean Verulamium Lake.”
There has also been a shake-up among the council committees, including David Heritage becoming the new chair of the licensing committee, which reviews premises licences and taxi licences.
Former cabinet member Daniel Chichester-Miles has taken over as chair of the audit committee; Beric Read now oversees the health and wellbeing partnership, which works with NHS groups; Chris White is the new chair of the city neighbourhoods committee.
Jock Wright will oversee the planning referrals committee; Janet Churchard is the new chair of the planning (development control) committee central; former deputy mayor Jamie Day steps in as chair of the planning committee south; and Bert Pawle will be overseeing the planning committee north.