New leader of Suffolk County Council pledges to listen to needs of communities

Colin Noble
Colin Noble
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The new leader of Suffolk County Council has pledged to listen to the needs of communities - and has appointed two Bury St Edmunds faces to top jobs.

In his maiden speech as leader of the authority, Colin Noble called for greater collaboration and communication regardless of political background.

He also revealed the line-up of his cabinet, which is designed to represent all areas of the county with Cllrs Beccy Hopfensperger and Sarah Stamp, from Bury, being given roles. Cllr Hopfensperger will represent adult care and Cllr Stamp will oversee communities.

He said: “We must listen to what our communities want and need.

“I want to webcast council meetings and ensure elected members are more accessible to residents through social media and other forms of direct contact.

Every other Saturday I will be taking to Suffolk’s high streets to speak to residents and learn more about what is important to them.

“I openly invite all councillors to come along, to join me and listen and talk to the people of Suffolk.”

Cllr Lisa Chambers, of Red Lodge, retains the education and skills portfolio.

Other new appointments include Christopher Hudson as deputy leader with responsibility for Ipswich; Richard Smith takes on council finance; Matthew Hicks will look after environment and public protection and James Finch will be responsible for highways and transport.

Tony Goldson formally becomes cabinet member for health.

Cllr Noble, who takes over from Mark Bee and represents the Row Heath division, addressed the expected pressures of delivering services with less money due to cuts in Government funding.

He said: “There is no doubt that we will have to make savings and there will be further challenges for local government in coming years. In Suffolk we have a track record of successfully delivering and protecting services whilst making savings.

“Just look at our libraries service. We were able to make savings of 30 per cent, and keep every library open. Other parts of the country have not been able to do this and they have had to close services. We have achieved Suffolk’s success through changing the nature of service delivery and finding new ways of doing things.”