New chairman looks ahead at busy year for council as she takes office

PUBLISHED: 09:49 28 May 2018

Chairman Councillor Lesley Wells. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Chairman Councillor Lesley Wells. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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Councillor Lesley Wells, who represents Broad Oak and the Hallingburys, has been appointed as chairman of Uttlesford District Council.

Cllr Wells was sworn in at the annual meeting on May 15 and takes over the chain of office from Cllr Geoffrey Sell, who served as chairman in 2017/18.

Cllr Graham Barker, who represents the Great Dunmow South and Barnston ward, was sworn in as the council’s vice-chairman for 2018/19.

Speaking about her new role, Cllr Wells said: “I’m very much looking forward to representing Uttlesford as chairman. There is going to be a lot going on this year with the local plan moving forward and an election year in 2019, and I hope that I’ll be as good an ambassador for the district as my predecessors.”

Cllr Wells has chosen the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance and the Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust as her good causes for the year.

“I’ve chosen local organisations with a personal connection as my nominated charities,” explained Cllr Wells.

“My future daughter-in-law is a paramedic and I’m well aware of the excellent work that the air ambulance does, all of which is funded by donations from businesses and the public.

“We’ve also had experience of the services at Addenbrooke’s, as have many others in the district. What they do is over and above the NHS, and deserving of greater recognition.”

Before standing down, Cllr Sell, the member for Stansted North, presented cheques to his two nominated charities, Support 4 Sight and the Essex Wildlife Trust. The cheques, for £2,450 each, were handed over to Gary Hyams on behalf of Support 4 Sight and Grant Maton on behalf of Essex Wildlife Trust.

Cllr Sell was presented with a past chairman’s medal and was thanked for his services during the year.

The role of the chairman is identical to that of a mayor, in that it is a ceremonial position. The chairman presides over council meetings and represents the council at civic and social occasions and is the first citizen of Uttlesford.

The chairman holds a casting vote, which may be used in the case of a tied vote at a council meeting.

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