North Hertfordshire District Council chairman and cabinet members appointed

New chairman of the NHDC Cllr Tricia Cowley pictured with outgoing chairman Jane Gray

New chairman of the NHDC Cllr Tricia Cowley pictured with outgoing chairman Jane Gray - Credit: Archant

Three changes to a district council’s cabinet have been made last night (Thursday) as a new chairman took up the reigns.

Cllr Tricia Cowley is the new chairman of the NHDC

Cllr Tricia Cowley is the new chairman of the NHDC - Credit: Archant

Tricia Cowley took over as chairman of North Herts District Council (NHDC) at a meeting of full council held at its offices in Letchworth GC.

Cllr Cowley, who had been serving as vice-chairman of NHDC for the past year, replaces Jane Gray in the role, with Ray Shakespeare-Smith appointed as vice-chairman.

In NHDC’s Conservative-controlled cabinet, Cllr Gray takes over from Ian Knighton as portfolio holder for leisure.

David Levett will be responsible for planning and enterprise, formerly the portfolio of Tom Brindley – who was deselected by the Conservatives prior to last month’s election.

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Cllr Levett’s previous portfolio – now called policy, transport and green issues – has gone to Cllr Julian Cunningham.

The rest of the cabinet, including Lynda Needham as leader, remains the same.

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There was controversy over the appointment of the Hitchin area committee chairman with Conservative David Leal-Bennett voted in with the help of Labour councillors. He subsequently chose Deborah Segalini (Lab) as his vice-chairman.

Letchworth area committee’s new chairman is Lorna Kercher (Lab), who replaces Conservative John Booth. Claire Billing (Lab) was selected as vice-chairman, formerly Cllr Cunningham (Con).

Michael Weeks (Con) was elected as chairman of the Baldock area committee, taking over from Cllr Knighton. Fellow Conservative John Harris steps into Cllr Weeks’ vice-chairman position.

Speaking on the night of her appointment as chairman, Cllr Cowley said: “I will enjoy the year and do my best to fulfil it as best as I can. I am not sure if I will reach the dizzying heights of Cllr Gray’s fundraising abilities but I will try to match them.”

After stepping down from the role, Cllr Gray presented a cheque for £8,120 to her charity of the year – Crossroads Care Hertfordshire North.

Cllr Cowley’s chosen charity of the year is Pro-Action Herts, which provides training opportunities for young people and adults.

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