All change at the top of the local political parties following the departure of Lynn Riley as Conservative leader, with Labour electing Councillor Louise Gittins as their new leader.
Outgoing leader Councillor Samantha Dixon, who proposed Louise as the new leader, said:
“I am delighted to hand over the reins of leadership to Councillor Louise Gittins who has served as the Deputy Leader of the Council alongside me for the past four years. She will be an excellent leader who will represent Cheshire West and Chester residents and deliver on Labour’s ambitious plans to build stronger communities in our Borough.”
Speaking as the newly elected leader, Louise said:
“Samantha Dixon has been a fantastic leader of the council since 2015. Her lasting legacy remains the decision to put Respect back into the heart of the council and this has been one of the core values that she has driven forward over the last four years.”
Cllr Gittins stated that “Under Sam’s leadership the council has been transformed, winning numerous awards including ‘Council of the Year’ from the Association of Public Service Excellence in 2018. I am proud that in spite of ongoing government cuts, we have balanced the budget every year and continue to protect the most vulnerable local residents.
“Sam will be a hard act to follow, but I’m up for the challenge. We will continue to be a council that empowers local communities, working together to create services based on local need and social value, not just financial value.”
Looking to the future, Councillor Samantha Dixon said:
“Cheshire West Labour is an amazing team and I’m glad to continue to be part of it. It has been a honour and a privilege to serve as the Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council for the past four years, but I have found it very demanding serving the whole borough as well as the very busy Chester City Ward. I now intend to return to the back benches to join my colleagues Councillors Martyn Delaney and Bob Rudd in giving the very best representation to the residents of the newly formed Chester City and Garden Quarter ward.
“The ward is home to more than 10,000 residents and is the location for some of the finest heritage and cultural assets, not just in our borough, but in the country. Given the exciting developments ahead such as Northgate, I want to give my undivided attention to the ward and the people who live there.”
The Group also elected Councillor Karen Shore as their new Deputy Leader.
At the local elections on Thursday 2nd May, Labour won the most seats but was one short of over all control.
“Following a challenging set of election results across the country, in Cheshire West Labour won the most seats and therefore we remain the largest party. We have a four year plan to build stronger communities in this Borough and we are open to working together with all elected councillors so that we can continue to get the things done that matter to the residents we have all been elected to represent.”