‘We’ll listen to communities,’ vows Independent new EDDC leader after voters end Conservatives’ rule

Independent Ben Ingham, who represents Woodbury and Lympstone, is the new EDDC leader, while long-serving Sidmouth and Sidford member Stuart Hughes takes the role of chairman

The Independent new leader of East Devon District Council (EDDC) has vowed it will ‘listen carefully to residents and communities’ after voters ended 45 years of Tory rule.  

An election shake-up this month saw the Conservatives lose control of the authority for the first time since 1974.

A photo of EDDC leader Ben Ingham. Picture: EDDC

EDDC leader Ben Ingham. Picture: EDDC

Newly-elected members met for the first time this evening, with appointments made to key roles.

Councillor Ben Ingham, who represents Woodbury and Lympstone, was elected leader of the council.

Sidmouth and Sidford councillor Stuart Hughes, a Conservative, was appointed as chairman.

Cllr Ingham, who is also leader of the Independent Group, which is the largest on the council, said: “We are committed to being a transparent and accountable administration. We will listen carefully to residents and communities to bring about change in a planned and managed way. We will work collaboratively with all councillors across the political spectrum.

“As the largest group, the Independent Group has unanimously agreed to step forward and ‘take the lead’. It’s a big task ahead, but by no means overwhelming. We are determined to prove our commitment and loyalty to East Devon is unparalleled.”

A photo of Conservative Sidmouth and Sidford representative Stuart Hughes has taken over as EDDC chairman from Andrew Moulding. Picture: EDDC

Conservative Sidmouth and Sidford representative Stuart Hughes has taken over as EDDC chairman from Andrew Moulding. Picture: EDDC

Independent Cllr Susie Bond, who represents Feniton, is the council’s deputy leader.

Cllr Val Ranger, member for Newton Poppleford and Harpford and also an Independent, is the vice-chairman.

A photo of EDDC vice-chairman Val Ranger

EDDC vice-chairman Val Ranger. Picture: EDDC

Cllr Hughes, who was previously chairman of the council from 2015 to 2017, told the meeting: “I would like to thank members for putting their trust in me to fly the flag once again for East Devon.

“I certainly hope that the next 12 months are as memorable and enjoyable as the two years I previously spent as chairman, which wasn’t that long ago.”

The following councillors have been appointed to the EDDC cabinet:

Cabinet member for Strategic Development: Cllr Susie Bond (Feniton).

Cabinet member for Economy: Cllr Kevin Blakey (Cranbrook).

Cabinet member for Sustainable Homes and Communities: Cllr Megan Armstrong (Exmouth Halsdon).

Cabinet member for the Environment: Cllr Geoff Jung (Woodbury and Lympstone). Deputy is Cllr Peter Faithfull (Ottery St Mary).

Cabinet member for Corporate Services: Cllr Jess Bailey (West Hill and Aylesbeare).

Cabinet member for Transformation: Cllr Paul Millar (Exmouth Halsdon).

Cabinet member for Asset Management: Cllr Geoff Pook (Beer and Branscombe).

Cabinet member for Finance: Cllr Ian Thomas (Trinity).

The chairmen and vice-chairmen of EDDC committees are:

Overview Committee: Chair is Cllr Nick Hookway (Exmouth Littleham) and Vice Chair is Cllr Vicky Johns (Ottery St Mary).

Scrutiny Committee: Chair is Cllr Alan Dent (Budleigh and Raleigh) and Vice Chair is Cllr Kim Bloxham (Cranbrook).

Housing Review Board: Chair is Cllr Tony McCollum (Honiton St Paul’s) and the Vice Chair will be appointed by the Housing Review Board.

Strategic Planning Committee: Chair is Cllr Susie Bond (Feniton) and Vice Chair is Cllr Nick Hookway (Exmouth Littleham).

Development Management Committee: Chair is Cllr Mike Howe (Clyst Valley) and Vice Chair is Cllr Kathy McLauchlan (Whimple and Rockbeare).

Audit and Governance: Chair is Cllr Sam Hawkins (Cranbrook) and Vice Chair is Cllr Geoff Pratt (Ottery St Mary).

Standards: Chairman of the Council – Cllr Stuart Hughes (Sidmouth, Sidford)

Interviewing (Chief Officers): Chair is Cllr Ben Ingham (Woodbury and Lympstone) and the Vice Chair is Cllr Susie Bond (Feniton).

Employment Appeals: Chair is Cllr Susie Bond (Feniton).

Licensing and Enforcement: Chair is Cllr Paul Jarvis (Budleigh and Raleigh) and the Vice Chair is Cllr Kim Bloxham (Cranbrook).

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