Eastbourne man to chair East Sussex County Council

New East Sussex County Council chairman Colin Belsey (right) with outgoing chairman Chris Dowling
New East Sussex County Council chairman Colin Belsey (right) with outgoing chairman Chris Dowling

Eastbourne’s Colin Belsey is the new chairman of East Sussex County Council.

Cllr Belsey, the county councillor for Eastsbourne Ratton, took over the chains of office at the authority’s first meeting since the recent election.

He takes over from Horam councillor Chris Dowling.

Cllr Belsey, who will be accompanied on ceremonial duties by his consort, wife Terri, paid tribute to his predecessor, whom he described as ‘a wonderful ambassador’ and said he hoped to see ‘respect’ from all sides of the council chamber during his year in office.

He told the meeting at County Hall, in Lewes, “It’s going to be a great privilege for me and Terri and we shall work hard for the county.

“I hope we can work together at all times and that fairness both inside and outside the chamber will be the name of the game.”

Keith Glazier, member for Rye and Eastern Rother, was confirmed as the new leader of the council, succeeding Peter Jones, who stood down at the election, with Eastbourne Sovereign representative David Elkin as his deputy.

Councillor Glazier, who will head up a minority Conservative administration, will fulfil the role of lead cabinet member for strategic management and economic development, and will also be responsible for public health, while Councillor Elkin is lead member for resources.

Councillor Dowling takes the community services portfolio while other new additions to the cabinet are Heathfield member Rupert Simmons (economy) and Crowborough councillor Sylvia Tidy (children and families).

Retaining their cabinet posts are Brede Valley and Marsham member Carl Maynard (transport and environment), Hailsham and Herstmonceux councillor Bill Bentley (adult social care) and Alfriston, East Hoathly and Hellingly member Nick Bennett (learning and school effectiveness).

The meeting also saw council committee chairmanships agreed, with the posts allocated to reflect the new political make-up of the authority.

Crowborough councillor Richard Stogdon will chair the regulatory committee, economy, transport and environment scrutiny committee, standards committee and pension fund investment panel.

Hastings Ashdown and Conquest member Peter Pragnell chairs the adult social care and community safety scrutiny committee, Councillor Glazier chairs the governance committee and Councillor Ensor chairs the health overview and scrutiny committee.

Mike Blanch, Liberal Democrat member for Eastbourne Hampden Park, chairs the audit, best value and community services scrutiny committee, his party colleague and Battle and Crowhurst member Kathryn Field chairs the children’s services scrutiny committee while Labour’s Godfrey Daniel, member for Hastings Braybrooke and Castle, is chairman of the planning committee.

A recording of the council meeting can be viewed online at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/yourcouncil/webcasts/default.htm