Council sees a 'changing of the guard'

May 30 2018

SOUTH Gloucestershire Council has a new leader, after a change at the top of the ruling Conservative group.

Toby Savage has stepped up from being deputy leader of the council and Tory group to take over from Matthew Riddle.

Longwell Green ward councillor Mr Savage, 35, will continue to hold the cabinet portfolio for schools, skills and employment, alongside overall leadership of the authority.

Mr Riddle, who represents Severn ward, told the council’s annual meeting: “It’s time to move on and make way for someone new.” 

Mr Savage said: “It’s a great honour to be elected as council leader and I am looking forward to leading the authority through the challenges which lie ahead.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Matthew’s leadership over these past few years and thank him for the dedication and commitment he has shown in carrying out this role.” 

Downend ward councillor Jon Hunt has been elected deputy leader of the council. He also holds the cabinet portfolio for children and young people. There were two other changes to the ruling cabinet, with Chipping Sodbury councillor Rob Creer taking charge of corporate resources, replacing John Goddard, and Oldland Common councillor Paul Hughes appointed as member for communities and tourism, replacing Heather Goddard.

The annual meeting on Wednesday, May 16 also saw a new Chairman and Vice Chairman of the council elected for the coming year. The position represents the ceremonial leadership of the council, equivalent to Bristol’s Lord Mayor.

Emersons Green Conservative councillor Rachael Hunt was elected to serve as Chairman and named two charities she will be supporting during her year in office: domestic abuse charity Next Link and Freewheelers Blood Bikes, which provides a free out-of-hours motorcycle courier service to hospitals in the South West of England.

Stoke Gifford Tory councillor Brian Allinson was elected to serve as Vice Chairman.

 Outgoing Chairman Ian Blair, a Liberal Democrat councillor for Yate North, raised just over £1,630, to be divided between his two chosen charities, Borderlands and Off the Record, during his year in office.