Council leader re-elected during virtual meeting and new Mayor for Raunds

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STEVEN North was re-elected unopposed as leader of East Northamptonshire Council’s first virtual meeting on yesterday, (Wednesday, May 13).

The appointment means councillor North, (pictured above), will now lead ENC for the 10th consecutive year and until it ceases to exist on 31 March 2021 and the new North Northamptonshire Council is formed.

And in Raunds, Sylvia Hughes was elected Town Mayor for the 2020/2021 civic year. Cllr S Hughes consort for her Mayoral year will be Dudley Hughes. Cllr Lee Wilkes was elected as Deputy Mayor and his consort will be Cllr Helen Howell. 

Cllr North is also Leader of the ruling Conservative group and represents the council in the Rushden Sartoris Ward.

Cllr David Jenney was re-elected as deputy leader and pledged his support to Cllr North, to the council and to the district.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, councillors are currently conducting meetings virtually and during the full council, Cllr North said: “It’s a great privilege to lead the council for a 10th year, especially as we enter this final year as East Northamptonshire Council. This was always going to be an unusual occasion, however I never expected to be doing the last annual meeting virtually.

“Knowing that the new North Northamptonshire Council will come into existence on April 1, 2021, over the past year, we have continued to work on our legacy projects, and more recently alongside the current situation – these remain our focus.

“One of our key projects is Enterprise Centre, East Northants in Raunds and I am pleased to announce it is nearly complete and will be a valuable support for businesses old and new as our economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We also continue to work on future wider development in the district, and our work on the Local Plan is nearly complete, alongside our continued work on the Rushden Sustainable Urban Extension and Tresham Garden Village.

“We are always keen to support local communities and earlier this year, we agreed our last round of Communities Facilities Fund. Since the initiative was launched in 2013, we have used money received from the New Homes Bonus, to award nearly £3m to projects up and down the district, both large and small. It has been a privilege to see what a difference these projects make and we hope to be able to celebrate their success later in the year.

“Throughout the last couple of months, I have used the Greenway more than ever and it has shown me just what an important project it is and we are looking to add to the route whilst protecting it for the future.

“As you can see, the last year for ENC will see us looking to the future whilst celebrating the council’s 46-year history, as well as the community projects across the district.”

Although the annual meeting of the council in Raunds was held via Zoom, members of the public were still able to join the meeting and watch proceedings.

Cllr Sylvia Hughes, (pictured below), said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been elected Mayor of Raunds. 

“These are unprecedented times and my year as Mayor may be very different to that of past Mayors! 

“The year will bring many challenges, social distancing will mean I am not able to attend functions in person, at least for the first few months of my term, however I am committed to engaging with our residents, businesses and the wider community as much as possible.

“In the coming weeks I am going to launch a series of podcasts these will take a look at what the town council is doing to support the community and adapt to the current climate and we will talk to schools and businesses about the changes they have made, full details of these will be posted on our website social media”. 

Her chosen charity for the year is FSL Family Support Link, to provide accessible and non-judgemental support across Northamptonshire.

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