All change as Liberal Democrat and independent alliance takes over

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A coalition of Liberal Democrat and independent councillors has been formed to run North Devon Council for the next four years.

The Annual Council Meeting yesterday (Thursday) at the Civic Centre in Barnstaple saw the creation of the widely anticipated alliance, with the independents’ 11 council seats added to the Liberals’ 14 to give the new administration a seven seat majority over the Conservatives, the previous ruling party.

Liberal Councillor Brian Greenslade was voted in as Leader of the council while independent Councillor Rodney Cann was appointed to the position of deputy leader.

The Conservatives also nominated previous council leader Councillor Des Brailey but this was defeated by the coalition majority.

Mr Greenslade went on to appoint the eight members of the council Executive Committee, in addition to himself, which will consist of five Liberal Democrat and four independent members.

He also named the chairmen and vice chairmen of the council’s committees.

The alliance was largely expected and following the meeting Mr Greenslade revealed a Co-operation Agreement signed by himself, Mr Cann, Cllrs Mike Edmunds and Malcolm Prowse as leaders of their respective groups.

“The Conservative group tried to attract support of some independents to form an administration but we were able to conclude our agreement on Wednesday,” he said.

“I believe we can offer the people of North Devon a stable district administration for the next four years and it is a great privilege for me to become leader of North Devon Council.”

Conservative leader Cllr Des Brailey said the people had voted and as a result they were the largest group.

“But we were completely ignored by the other parties and when an offer was made it was derisory and quite honestly an insult,” he said.

“Clearly we will now form a large opposition and we will hold the council to account, however we will support them when in our view they carry out the wishes of the public.”

The meeting also saw Liberal Democrat Cllr Sue Haywood elected as chairman, replacing outgoing chairman Cllr Roy Lucas and Cllr Geoff Fowler elected vice chairman.

Read more on this story and the coalition’s plans for the future of North Devon Council in the North Devon Gazette this Wednesday.

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