Southwold councillor David Beavan is new leader of East Suffolk Council's Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group
Southwold Liberal Democrat councillor David Beavan has taken over the leadership of East Suffolk Council's Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group, as it prepares for an election campaign in 12 months' time.
The group traditionally changes leader after the council's annual meeting, with Cllr Beavan taking over on May 25 from Beccles Green councillor Caroline Topping.
Cllr Beavan said: "My main job is to lead a campaign that takes East Suffolk out of Conservative control for the first time at the elections next year.
"They have been in for so long in Suffolk Coastal that they take us for granted. I will work with anybody for the benefit of East Suffolk but not hesitate to criticise where necessary.
“As we move forward, the GLI group’s focus will be on the elections. We will be campaigning against Sizewell C, and will be fighting for more social and sustainable housing, people-friendly town centres and a planning system that listens to local communities."
Cllr Topping, who took on the group's leadership in September 2020 when the annual meeting was delayed by Covid-19, said: "We have had some big achievements – I led the GLI group in campaigning for action on long-term empty homes.
"Through keeping the pressure up on cabinet and utilising scrutiny, we were able to get some action taken.
"In the end cabinet agreed with my recommendation that we should employ an officer to look into long term empty properties and assist the owner getting them back into use.
"In East Suffolk we have over 280 homes that have been empty for more than two years, so this is a vital next step."