Council leader takes over planning in St Albans cabinet reshuffle

St Albans City & District Council

St Albans City & District Council - Credit: Archant

KEY roles have been reshuffled on St Albans district council’s cabinet which sees leader Julian Daly take charge of planning from this week.

Cllr Daly has become portfolio holder for planning and conservation after Cllr Teresa Heritage stepped down from the position following her appointment to Herts County Council’s cabinet.

As part of the changes he has relinquished his former resources portfolio, which has now been taken on by Cllr Alec Campbell who represents St Peters ward.

But the announcement has sparked concern from the opposition about whether Cllr Daly should head up planning while also leading the council.

Labour deputy group leader Cllr Jacob Quagliozzi said: “I think people are starting to see that this administration is a one man show, low on ideas, with the leader of the council having to carry his group. I’m half expecting him to turn up to collect my bins on Wednesday.

“I’m not sure how healthy it is for the planning portfolio holder to report in to himself. If we want a planning policy that works we need to bring more people into the decision making process, not less.”

Liberal Democrat Cllr Chris Brazier also maintained the reason for Cllr Daly’s appointment was to speed up progress on the council’s long-awaited Strategic Local Plan (SLP).

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He said: “I think it means the cabinet are moving forward with the SLP and they feel that they have been delayed and now they feel that Julian as the leader of the cabinet wants to force it forward.”

Commenting on his cabinet reshuffle, Cllr Daly said: “Cllr Campbell brings many years’ experience as a chartered engineer to his new role. I am sure such experience will be a great asset to cabinet as we work to deliver our priorities in constrained financial circumstances.

“I wish to thank Cllr Heritage for her contribution as planning portfolio holder over the last two years.”

He continued: “The planning department is one of the busiest of any district in the country. We face complex planning issues and I want to concentrate more of my time in that area.”