A new-look North Devon Council has pledged to work together for the good of the district.

North Devon Council leader David Worden (right) and deputy leader Malcolm Prowse.North Devon Council leader David Worden (right) and deputy leader Malcolm Prowse.

The council sat on Thursday (May 16) for the first time since the local elections for its special annual meeting.

The Liberal Democrats and the council's independent members, which together make up two thirds of the council, form a new multi-party leadership.

North Devon Liberal Democrat leader David Worden was elected to lead the council for the year ahead.

Independent councillor Malcolm Prowse was selected as deputy leader - 38 years after he was first elected as council leader.

North Devon Council vice chairman Julie Hunt and chairman Frank Biederman.North Devon Council vice chairman Julie Hunt and chairman Frank Biederman.

The council's chairman for the year is independent Fremington councillor Frank Biederman. Barnstaple Westacott Liberal Democrat Julie Hunt is the new vice-chairman, and said she would do 'her very best' to support and promote North Devon.

With the new councillors there are changes to how the council is run. Its executive model was scrapped for a traditional committee model in April.

In the executive's place is a politically-balanced strategic resources committee which reflects the make-up of the council.

Councillor Worden said: "We want to make it a more inclusive council. With the executive, if you were on it, fine, but if you weren't you could feel marginalised. We want to make sure everyone has a say so we can move forward together."

Councillor Prowse said it was an exciting time for the council.

"We have done today exactly what the public want, which was to get our heads together and get on with the job," he said.

"People from all parties are involved, we've got a bit of experience and a lot of new councillors. It's a very exciting time."

New chairman Councillor Biederman said he hoped the new-look council would 'show Westminster how it's done."

Frank Biederman: "It's an honour to be elected and represented such a fantastic place as North Devon," he said.

"It's great to see new faces and those returning ones too.

"It's quite an exciting time now for all of us moving into a new way of working, I think we are all very much going to have a more prominent role to play, and this promotes more transparency and openness."

Councillor Worden indicated a committee for the environment and climate change could be set up in the near future.

Other priorities for the year ahead include economic development, as well as more help for communities, including support through neighbourhood planning.