Uttlesford elects its first female leader in council's 47-year history

Councillor Petrina Lees, the new Uttlesford District Council leader

Councillor Petrina Lees, the new Uttlesford District Council leader - Credit: Residents for Uttlesford/Archant

Petrina Lees has succeeded John Lodge as Uttlesford District Council's leader, and become Uttlesford's first female leader in its 47-year history.

Cllr Lees was elected leader unopposed by councillors at a meeting on Tuesday (December 7).

Cllr Lodge has stepped down from his post, citing old age, but will remain a backbench councillor until the next election.

After her win, Residents for Uttlesford's Cllr Lees praised her predecessor.

She said: "Cllr Lodge is competitive, intelligent, thoughtful, understanding.

"If you put the evidence in front of him that he is wrong, then he will change his mind."

Cllr Lees said Uttlesford is "in a strong financial position" thanks to Cllr Lodge's "bravery".

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Conservative opposition members said Cllr Leeds must expect "rigorous" debate and work with them to achieve mutual goals.

Lib Dem Cllr Geoffrey Sell called for a "cultural change" under Cllr Lees' "caring" leadership.

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