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'New era' at Suffolk County Council as Hicks appoints new cabinet

Matthew Hicks (2212916)
Matthew Hicks (2212916)

The new leader of Suffolk County Council, Matthew Hicks, has called on all parties to work together as the Ipswich based authority enters a 'new era'.

As he officially took over as county council leader today, Cllr Hicks promised to work with district and borough councils and asked that all sides of the chamber work collaboratively.

"There is one common theme I wish to adopt across all aspects of our work and that is my pledge to adopt a new style of working, whether it be in this chamber, this building or throughout our county," said Cllr Hicks.

"My administration is committed to working collaboratively across Suffolk. I understand that no public sector organisation can afford to stand aloof and alone. This is no time for a bunker mentality. We must co-operate and collaborate to achieve the best for our residents."

But he said that he wanted everybody to understand that he was a Conservative, and that he would continue with their values and principles and would not compromise in his beliefs.

"This is a new era. I would like to see us work more collaboratively in this chamber. I look forward to working with you all and indeed across the whole of Suffolk. We will continue to manage our finances in a prudent and sound manner, while delivering real change and real benefits to the people of Suffolk," said Cllr Hicks.

He also told the county council's annual general meeting one of his priorities would be to repairing Suffolk's crumbling roads, aiming to re-surface 1000 miles of the highways network by 2021.

Labour leader Cllr Sarah Adams said while she welcomed this, the council should aim to resurface all of the county's roads.

Cllr Andrew Stringer, leader of the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group, handed the new leader a sweeping brush - signed by leaders of opposition parties - as a welcoming present because he had 'done a huge amount to clean up' at the council.

Cllr Hicks replaced Cllr Colin Noble who was ousted from the top job at Endeavour House by Suffolk's Conservative councillors earlier this month.

Millar out of Hicks' cabinet

Cllr Robin Millar (2147725)
Cllr Robin Millar (2147725)

Newmarket's Robin Millar has not been re-selected as Cabinet Member for Families and Communities after Cllr Hicks told him he had 'no role for him' at Suffolk's top table.

"The former leader, Cllr Colin Noble, is a friend but more importantly he had delivered an electoral majority, is respected beyond Suffolk's borders and was making difficult decisions to tackle the big challenges facing the county," said Cllr Millar.

"I wish Matthew well and will work with him and the new team at the county council to deliver the right results for Suffolk."

Cllr Hicks' new cabinet, which is responsible for more than £500 million of tax payers' money a year, no longer has any members from wards in the Forest Heath area.

Suffolk's new leader has also re-introduced deputy cabinet members.