Leader re-elected for East Northamptonshire Council and new chairman appointed

Cllr Glenn Harwood MBE and Cllr Steven North
Cllr Glenn Harwood MBE and Cllr Steven North

Steven North has been re-elected un-opposed as leader of East Northamptonshire Council.

Cllr North, who is also leader of the ruling Conservative group and a member for Rushden Sartoris ward, was re-elected at the council’s 44th annual meeting, which took place on Wednesday.

Cllr Marika Hillson with Cllr Rupert Reichhold

Cllr Marika Hillson with Cllr Rupert Reichhold

Cllr Glenn Harwood MBE was elected as deputy leader and pledged his support to Cllr North, to the council and to the district.

At the meeting, Cllr North said: “It is a real privilege to serve and lead this council.

“At ENC we have always been an efficient council, being innovative in what we do, and this will continue.

“Local government is in a period of transformation.

“The way it is financed is changing, and we have to adapt to that change.

“Following the financial settlement in the autumn and more recently the spending review, we have seen our grants reduced and opportunities to raise income limited.

“Despite this, we are in a reasonably sound position, and have still managed to use part of the New Homes Bonus as intended, that is rewarding areas that have received growth.

“By the end of this financial year, we will have put nearly a million pounds back into the community with the Community Facilities Fund and the Member Empowerment Fund.

“Supporting our communities in this way is very important.

“These are exciting times for East Northamptonshire with the building of Rushden Lakes, the development of Rushden East, supporting the new Garden Village at Deenethorpe, putting in place a new district plan, championing Neighbourhood plans and overseeing a new leisure contract for the district that will see the development of more outreach work enabling people to participate in healthier and more active lifestyles.”

Acknowledging the support and confidence of those around him, Steven added: “None of this can be achieved without the hard work and dedication from staff and members, so thank you all.

“And thank you for your support.”

Wednesday’s meeting also saw the appointment of a new chairman for the council.

Cllr Rupert Reichhold, a district councillor for Oundle, took over from outgoing chairman, Cllr Marika Hillson, at the annual meeting.

Cllr Reichhold has lived in Oundle since 1998 and has been a district councillor for 17 years.

For 12 years he also served as a county councillor.

He is looking forward to representing the district and the work of the council at many events over the next 12 months.

His consort is Nicolette Reichhold, his wife.

District councillor for Rushden Pemberton Ward, Cllr Colin Wright, was named as vice-chairman for this year.

Cllr Reichhold said: “I would like to thank my colleagues for electing me as chairman for the forthcoming year, I promise to do my best for our district.

“I pay tribute to Cllr Hillson for her outstanding work as our chairman and I am looking forward to working with our new vice chairman, Cllr Wright.”

Events planned for the year include a civic church service in Oundle, a fish and chip supper and a civic dinner to raise money for the chairman’s charities - The National Autistic Society, The Royal Anglian Regiment Benevolent Charity and The Gurkha Welfare Trust.

To see the Chairman’s calendar, visit www.east-northamptonshire.gov.uk/chairmansdiary.