WINCHESTER City Council is set to have a new leader with an internal reshuffle of the Liberal Democrat administration.

Cllr Martin Tod is being proposed to replace Lucille Thompson at the annual Council meeting at the Guildhall on Wednesday evening.

It comes after Cllr Thompson decided to step down and he was then chosen as Leader of the Liberal Democrats Group by his colleagues at a recent meeting.

READ MORE HERE: Winchester City Council elections - full results

Cllr Thompson will formally propose Cllr Tod as the new Winchester City Council leader.

In a statement the Lib Dem group said "Cllr Thompson decided to stand down after seven years as Liberal Democrat group leader and three years as leader of Winchester City Council."

The Lib Dems had a very successful recent election campaign. Despite several controversial issues such as the proposed sale of the River Park Leisure Centre to Southampton University, the new multi-storey car at Barfield Close, eviction of traders in Kings Walk arcade, and progress over Silver Hill, the party increased its grip on the council, ending with 27 Lib Dems, against 15 Conservatives, with two independents and one Green.

Cllr Thompson said: “I am very pleased to be proposing Martin as our new leader. He has been a hard-working councillor in the city for many years and was the architect of our recent election victory. He also wrote the ambitious and positive manifesto that helped give us nine out of 14 seats in the election and maintain our control of the council. As a Cabinet colleague he was responsible for delivering a whole range of initiatives including some of the fastest growing recycling levels in the country and the pedestrianisation of the Square.”

SEE ALSO: Greens win first seat on city council

Cllr Tod commented: “We owe Lucille a huge amount for her leadership over the last seven years. She led the Liberal Democrats to control of the council – and after taking control, she led the council through the pandemic at the same time as it cut its carbon footprint by more than a third. Despite the challenges we face, the council has continued to deliver for local people while keeping council tax down.

"There are still major challenges ahead. We have said we will go greener, faster. We cannot be complacent about our economic recovery. The Council needs to be efficient in keeping costs down. When many people are facing challenging times, we have to protect services that support the most vulnerable. And we need to listen better and work alongside the people and businesses of Winchester in tackling the challenges we face.

"I’m very grateful for the support of colleagues and Lucille especially in being proposed for this new role. If elected as Leader of the Council on Wednesday, I look forward to working with them and the dedicated staff at the council to deliver for the people of Winchester District.”


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