Torridge District Council has a new chief executive.

Councillors approved the appointment of Steve Hearse to the position at a full council meeting on Monday, July 27.

Mr Hearse, who was previously the council’s strategic manager for resources, has been the interim head of paid service since Jenny Wallace’s departure in February and has led the council’s senior management team through the coronavirus pandemic.

He has been at Torridge District Council full time since 2014, and worked as joint head of finance for both Torridge and North Devon for two years prior.

Mr Hearse said: “I am very grateful to councillors for confirming their faith in me and endorsing my appointment at their meeting.

“There have been a lot of challenges in recent months with the coronavirus pandemic disrupting the lives of so many of a our residents, visitors and even our own staff.

“However councillors and officers have worked really well together and achieved so much in a very short space of time, which I know has been appreciated by many.

“I am confident that we will be able to continue this positive and constructive working relationship into the future as we continue our vigilance regarding the virus but also look forward to many projects to rejuvenate and relaunch the economy in Torridge.”

Council leader, Councillor Ken James, said: “I very much welcome Steve to his new post and confirmation as chief executive at Torridge following the recruitment process we initiated.

“We have already worked well together in recent months and supported by fellow councillors and the management team have achieved a lot in difficult circumstances.

“I look forward to working with Steve to continue building on recent achievements and towards the ambitious investment projects we already have in the pipeline.”