New Richmondshire council leader pledges to put community at heart of decisions

Councillor Grant, left pictured with councillors Stuart Parsons and Angie Dale.

A former Army communications expert has pledged to put the community at the heart of every decision after being voted in as leader of Richmondshire District Council.

Five-time Mayor of Colburn and Independent councillor Angie Dale has been elected to take the helm of the authority for the next four years with fellow Independent Scotton councillor Helen Grant as her deputy.

After four years of being in control of the authority the Conservative Party won just ten of the 24 seats at the election earlier this month, leading to most of the Independents forming a group with Liberal Democrat and Green members called Richmondshire Together (RT).

While the RT group leader is Councillor Paul Cullen, it was agreed Cllr Dale, who has lived and worked in the Colburn community all her life apart from the seven years she served in the Royal Signals, was the best candidate to lead the authority.

Cllr Dale said she wanted to resurrect the spirit of her first term as a district councillor, when Independent members had control of the authority and “it wasn’t about politics”.

However, she said the controlling group on the council would have no issues working with Tory Richmond MP Rishi Sunak, neighbouring Conservative and Labour-run councils or any other political or non-political groups.

She said: “It is all about working together. Politics at district level should be left at the door. We will be working with anybody.”

Richmondshire’s councillors.

Cllr Dales, who is also chair of Governors at Colburn Community Primary School, a Women’s Institute secretary and a village hall treasurer and bookings clerk, said the council would have more of a collegiate approach than there had been in recent times.

She said she wanted to harness the knowledge and experience of long-serving members of the authority as well as the fresh approaches and ideas of the newly-elected councillors.

Cllr Dale, who co-runs a community hub and cafe, said: “There is no I in team. We need somebody to lead, but everybody should have a voice. Some people may say that is not practical, but I am a firm believer in that following my Army background.

“I am really excited because I think we can make a massive difference to Richmondshire and our communities.”

The meeting also saw Councillor Stuart Parsons elected to chair the authority for the next 12 months. Cllr Parsons, who is a long-serving member of Richmond Town and North Yorkshire County councils, has been a district councillor since May 2003, representing the Richmond west ward.

Other key appointments agreed include Councillor John Blackie leading the planning committee, Councillor Clive World the licensing committee and Councillors Paul Cullen and William Heslop the scrutiny committees and Councillor Angus Thompson the governance committee.