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New Leader and Cabinet announced at annual meeting of Bridgend Council

Credit: Bridgend Council

Members at Bridgend County Borough Council met earlier yesterday (Wednesday 15 May) for the Annual Meeting of Council where they elected Councillor John Spanswick as the authority’s new Leader.

His appointment follows the recent decision by Councillor Huw David to step down from the role after more than eight years of leading the authority. The following Cabinet positions were also confirmed for the year ahead:

  • Deputy Leader / Cabinet Member for Social Services, Health and Wellbeing – Councillor Jane Gebbie
  • Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance – Councillor Hywel Williams
  • Cabinet Member for Education and Youth Services – Councillor Martyn Jones
  • Cabinet Member for Climate Change and the Environment – Councillor Paul Davies
  • Cabinet Member for Resources (Job Share) – Councillor Eugene Caparros / Councillor Melanie Evans
  • Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Economic Development and Housing – Councillor Neelo Farr

Councillor Heather Griffiths will succeed Councillor William Kendall as Mayor of Bridgend County Borough, while Councillor Huw David will act as Deputy Mayor. The Youth Mayor of Bridgend County Borough will be Ellie O’Connell, and Daisy Davies will serve as Deputy Youth Mayor.

Political groups and group leaders were confirmed as follows:

  • Labour – 27 (Councillor John Spanswick)
  • Bridgend County Independents – 13 (Councillor Amanda Williams)
  • Democratic Alliance – 8 (Councillor Ross Penhale-Thomas)
  • Conservative – 1 (no group leader – requires a minimum of two members)

Two councillors – Councillor Jeff Tildesley and Councillor Sean Aspey – opted to remain independent and not to join any groups.

Addressing the meeting, new Leader John Spanswick said: “I want to thank members for their support and for electing me to this role, and to also thank Councillor David for the solid and dependable leadership that he has consistently demonstrated over the last eight years.

“Local government has never faced such difficult and challenging circumstances as we do now, especially in light of what has grown to become a UK-wide national funding crisis. Despite this, we have a duty as elected members to work together, and to ensure that essential services can continue.

“This is something which I intend to focus upon in greater detail in the weeks and months to come. In the meantime, I can assure you that I will treat the role of Leader with the respect, dedication and commitment that it deserves.”

Originally from Nantymoel and now a resident of Bridgend town, Councillor Spanswick lived in Brackla for more than 30 years and has represented the area since 1992 at community council level, and at a county borough level since 1999.

Councillor Spanswick has held numerous positions in the 25 years he has been with Bridgend council, including scrutiny roles, as part of the Development Control committee, and as a Cabinet Member looking after the Communities portfolio.

Following a year spent as Mayor of Bridgend County Borough, he most recently served as Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, and is a former school governor for Brynteg Comprehensive,  Brackla Primary and Tremains Primary.

Offering the new Leader his support, Councillor Huw David, said: “Back when I was first elected to the position of leader, I stated that councillors are united in that we all want what we think is best for the communities and people that we represent.

“I also said that councils continue to form the backbone of local services and touch the lives of every single resident, and this is as true now as it was then.

“Serving as the leader of Bridgend County Borough Council has been the greatest honour of my life. I fully support Councillor Spanswick in his new position, and know that he will provide valuable and effective strategic leadership for the authority as it faces the challenges which lay ahead.”