SKDC leader hopeful Coun Kelham Cooke: "I want a more open, transparent and collaborative style of council"

  Posted: 03.09.19 at 20:20 by The Editor



Acting South Kesteven District Council (SKDC) leader Coun Kelham Cooke has set out his stall ahead of a vote later this month to decide the local authority's next leader.

The Casewick ward councillor - who was elected leader of SKDC Conservative Group last night (Mon) - has been acting as interim council leader since Coun Matthew Lee quit the top job last month.

Coun Cooke said: “I am honoured and thrilled to have been elected as leader of the Conservative Group in South Kesteven.

"I look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead and to the full council meeting on 26 September, when I hope to win the support of my fellow councillors to become the next leader of South Kesteven District Council."

He described his approach to local politics as 'different' - stating he wants a 'more open, transparent and collaborative style' of council.

In a statement Coun Cooke said: "Over the past two years, the council has been through much change.

"This was necessary to enable us to start to adapt to the external pressure of a continuing decline in central Government funding and the need to do things differently so that we can continue to deliver the services our residents want and need.

"The ways of the past simply don’t cut it anymore. Whether we like it or not, local authorities throughout the country are facing the challenge of having to adapt to face the future.

"So, I stand by our vision for a strong, commercially-focused council that puts the needs of local residents first by delivering excellent services.

“As acting leader of SKDC, I continue to talk with a lot people, trade union representatives, staff, and local business leaders, and I am listening to what they have to say.

"Quite simply, my approach is different.

"I want a more open, transparent and collaborative style of council that welcomes constructive challenge and respects differences.

"I want more engagement and a greater focus on delivery and stability.

"I am not going into policy details at present, that would fly in the face of the new more collaborative approach, and the new era that I hope we are entering.

"It also would be presumptuous. At present, I am acting leader of SKDC and the newly-elected leader of the district’s Conservative Group.

"There is still a process to be completed, and I am not taking anything for granted.”

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