Chelmsford City Council’s new Cabinet team has been appointed, with some revised roles created by the returning Liberal Democrat administration. The selections were announced at Annual Council, a largely ceremonial meeting of all elected council members.
Cabinet roles reflect the administration’s priorities for the coming four years. A ‘greener’, ‘fairer’ and ‘connected’ Chelmsford remain the cornerstones of the council’s strategic objectives for a second term, but some policy areas are given a new emphasis this time around.
Leader and Deputy Leader
Cllr Stephen Robinson and Cllr Marie Goldman were re-selected to lead their political group following the local elections at the start of the month. At Annual Council they were formally confirmed as Leader and Deputy Leader of Chelmsford City Council for another four-year term.
Finance and Audit
Cllr Robinson will also take on the role of Cabinet Member for Finance and Audit. This portfolio includes oversight of the council’s finances, the presentation of an annual budget, and deciding on the parameters for the level of fees and charges set by the council.
Cllr Jo Hawkins is the new Cabinet Deputy for Finance and Audit, working alongside Cllr Robinson on this brief. Cllr Hawkins, a newly elected member for the St Andrews ward, has worked in the financial services industry for 25 years, most recently as a business analyst specialising in identifying areas that can be enhanced to boost efficiency.
Deputy Leader, Cllr Marie Goldman, will continue to be the Cabinet Member for a Connected Chelmsford. This portfolio includes culture and museums, emphasising the importance of a strong arts sector in bringing communities together. Other areas of responsibility include engagement and communications, the council’s development of information technology and central services such as legal and democratic services.
Greener and Safer Chelmsford
Cllr Rose Moore remains the Cabinet Member for a Greener and Safer Chelmsford, leading on a key pledge to deliver action to tackle the climate and ecological emergency declared by the council in 2019. Areas of responsibility include Chelmsford’s parks, habitat management, waste and recycling and technical services. Cllr Terry Sherlock, who was elected to represent the South Woodham – Elmwood and Woodville ward in May, has been appointed as the council’s Climate and Ecology Ambassador, working closely with Cllr Moore on this brief.
Cllr Donna Eley, another South Woodham ward member and a Town Councillor, will support Cllr Moore to create a safer community in Chelmsford as the Cabinet Deputy for Community Safety. Cllr Eley, who has worked in education for many years, will lead on initiatives such as issues facing young people in the city, Chelmsford’s Women’s Safety Charter and emergency planning.
The Cabinet Member for a Fairer Chelmsford will be Cllr Lynne Foster, who is part of the new intake of 2023. As a former operations director for housing association CHP and a trustee of Keene Memorial Homes, Cllr Foster brings many decades of experience to her portfolio, which includes leading teams, building additional affordable homes and supporting residents who find themselves homeless.
Cllr Natacha Dudley takes on the newly created Cabinet position of Cabinet Member for an Active Chelmsford, combining her previous role as a Cabinet Deputy for the voluntary sector with new responsibility for leisure and heritage in Chelmsford. Cllr Dudley will oversee the council’s services for leisure centres, community sport initiatives, outdoor sports facilities and important recreational spaces such as Hylands Estate.
The Cabinet role of Cabinet Member for a Growing Chelmsford will replace the previous brief of ‘sustainable development’ to ensure that the inevitable development coming to Chelmsford is sustainable, with vital infrastructure included. Cllr Ian Fuller joins Cabinet for the first time to take up this position, having previously served as Chair of the council’s Policy Board. He’ll be responsible for all aspects of Chelmsford as a place to grow, including the city’s Local Plan, planning strategy and enforcement, economic development and the city’s car parks.
Cllr Simon Goldman will remain the number two for this portfolio as Cabinet Deputy for Economy and Strategic Projects, working with local businesses to ensure the creation of at least as many jobs as homes in the city.
Four years ago the Liberal Democrats took on the leadership of the City Council. We had said during that election that we would work to create a greener, fairer and more-connected Chelmsford. That’s what we did – even though, after just six months in administration, we faced a whole range of unexpected events. These included a General Election, rampant inflation and, of course, a global pandemic. The cost of living crisis has affected every household, every business AND every single council in the country.
With costs out of our control rising by 11%, but income only rising by 3 or 4%, all councils (whichever party is leading) have been forced, to make very difficult budget savings. Over the next four years, the Liberal Democrat administration will remain firmly focused on serving the residents of Chelmsford. We hope in this four years for more stable conditions that enable us to create a greener, fairer and more connected Chelmsford.Cllr Stephen Robinson, Leader, Chelmsford City Council
The largest opposition group on the council appoints spokespeople to shadow the Cabinet members and ask questions at Cabinet meetings. The Conservative Party has the second largest number of council members, and their appointments are as follows:
- Leader’s responsibilities: Cllr Roy Whitehead
- Cabinet Deputy for Finance and Audit: TBC
- Cabinet Member for a Connected Chelmsford: Cllr Andrew Thorpe-Apps
- Cabinet Member for a Greener and Safer Chelmsford: Cllr Bob Massey
- Cabinet Deputy for Community Safety: Cllr Philip Wilson
- Cabinet Member for a Fairer Chelmsford: Cllr Susan Sullivan
- Cabinet Member for an Active Chelmsford: Cllr Julia Jeapes
- Cabinet Member for a Growing Chelmsford: Cllr Mike Steel
- Cabinet Deputy for Economy and Strategic Projects: Cllr James Raven