Mid Devon Council to become more “open and transparent”

That’s according to Mid Devon’s new leader

The new leader of Mid Devon District Council has vowed to make it more “open and transparent” whilst prioritising sustainability.

Ollie Heptinstall, local democracy reporter www.radioexe.co.uk 

Liberal Democrat councillor Luke Taylor, who represents Bradninch, was elected at the authority’s annual meeting on Wednesday [24 May].

His party romped to victory at this month’s local elections to take control of Mid Devon, gaining 22 new seats to replace the Conservatives as the largest party.

Speaking after his election, Cllr Taylor said: “I promise the residents of Mid Devon that we will bring stability to [the] council. We will give the council a new start. We have an ambitious manifesto that we will now get on with delivering.

The new administration’s priorities include building more social housing, protecting leisure services, increasing recycling and meeting the council’s 2030 net zero target.

“We will also take steps to ensure the council is more open and transparent in its decision making,” Cllr Taylor said. “For too long discussions and decisions which could have taken place in public have taken place behind closed doors. We will look at ways of opening up the discussion at meetings to the public.”

He added: “As a working father of young children, I know how much time being a councillor takes, so we will be looking at how to involve a more diverse range of people.

“It is not acceptable that to participate in local democracy you need to be retired, wealthy or self-employed.”

Cllrs Simon Clist (Lib Dem, Upper Culm) and Jane Lock (Lib Dem, Canonsleigh) will serve as the new leader’s deputies.

Meanwhile, Lib Dem county and district councillor Frank Letch (Crediton Lawrence) was elected to be the council’s new chairman and promised to use his year in the role to encourage more people to vote.

“I found the turnout of voters at the recent council elections very disappointing,” he said. “This council is spending local people’s money and we have to convince them that participating in elections is in their interest.”

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