A NEW leader has been appointed at Test Valley Borough Council - bringing an end Ian Carr's 18 year tenure.

At its Annual Council meeting earlier today, the council confirmed Conservative councillor Phil North as the authority’s new leader. 

Cllr North will be taking over from stalwart councillor Ian Carr who announced he was stepping down earlier this year.

Cllr North, who represents Andover Alamein, said: “I am honoured and humbled to have been chosen by my colleagues to lead the Council. I’d like to thank them for putting their trust in me.

“I want to lead a council that makes it clear to people that if you’re a resident who lives in Test Valley, a business that plies its trade in Test Valley or an organisation that operates in Test Valley we will be on your side, helping you achieve your aspirations.”

Paying tribute to Cllr Carr, Cllr North said: “I have some big shoes to fill – Cllr Carr has led Test Valley assiduously and expertly for 18 years – and leaves an extraordinary legacy.”

In announcing his choice of Cabinet members Cllr North revealed an update to the portfolios for which they will be responsible.

“Planning is the one of the most important areas of the council’s work, it needs joined up thinking and detailed and experienced leadership, which is why I have combined the planning policy and transport and planning and building portfolios into a single planning cabinet post to be filled by the new deputy leader, Cllr Nick Adams-King.

“In creating a new portfolio of economic development and tourism i want to demonstrate to residents and businesses that Test Valley is firmly focused on attracting investment into our borough and will continue to be the best business friendly council. We all also recognise the major challenges facing our town centres which is an area the new portfolio will focus on.”

Newcomer to the cabinet, Cllr David Drew, will take up this post.

Cllr North has made a third new appointment in asking Cllr Maureen Flood to oversee the Corporate Portfolio.

Existing Cabinet members Cllr Peter Giddings (finance), Cllr Graham Stallard (environmental) and Cllr Tony Ward (community and leisure) retain their existing roles. Cllr Phil Bundy moves from the planning and building portfolio to assume responsibility for housing and environmental health.

Cllrs Martin Hatley and Sandra Hawke leave the Cabinet.

Cllr North said: “I’d like to thank Cllr Hatley for all his years of service as planning policy and transport portfolio holder and deputy leader.

"I am especially thankful that he bequeaths us a revised borough local plan that has not only has been found sound by the planning inspector but also tested in the high court.

“I also wanted to say a special thank you to Cllr Sandra Hawke who has expertly and diligently served as housing and environmental health portfolio holder for many years.”