DevComms managing director Rob Allaway describes the new local authority for Buckinghamshire which took shape a week ago today albeit, due to COVID-19, not quite as planned.

New temporary regulations came into force last week for the new Buckinghamshire Council. These were required following the postponement of the May 7 local elections, the first planned elections for the new authority, and will allow the council to function until elections in 2021.

For the next year, the council will be represented by 197 members who were elected to the now defunct county and four district councils. This will reduce to 149 members following the postponed elections next year.

Cabinet and committee memberships agreed at the last meeting of the new authority’s cabinet were also confirmed following the introduction of the regulations. There will be a huge 17-member cabinet in place for the next year, which includes:

Leader: Martin Tett – former leader of Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC)

Deputy leader: Angela Mcpherson – former leader of Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC)

Town centre regeneration: Steve Bowles – former deputy leader of AVDC

Environment and climate change: Bill Chapple – former BCC cabinet member

Property and assets – John Chilver: former AVDC and BCC member

Transport: Nick Naylor – former leader of South Bucks District Council

Planning and Enforcement: Warren Whyte – former member of AVDC and BCC cabinet member

The strategic sites committee which will help shape the future of strategic growth across the county has 12 members and includes councillors with a long track record in planning and development, such as the former chair of Chiltern District Councils’ planning committee Don Phillips and the former cabinet member for strategic planning at AVDC, Carole Paternoster.

Council membership of Bucks LEP has also been agreed, as well as the five area planning committees that are in place to consider smaller development schemes. Three of these reflect the former district areas of Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe and the other two covering Aylesbury Vale.

Meetings of the area committees have been cancelled in May whilst the new authority gets to grips with the current situation, although full council and Cabinet meetings are currently going ahead remotely. Council leader Martin Tett has said that, while social distancing remains in force, the council will be looking at ways to enable committees and the usual business of the council to be conducted effectively, while keeping members safe.

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