New civic head for Northumberland County Council

Coun Ian Hutchinson, the new civic head of Northumberland County Council.
Coun Ian Hutchinson, the new civic head of Northumberland County Council.

Northumberland County Council has chosen a new civic head and deputy for the coming year.

At yesterday’s (Wednesday, May 1) annual meeting of the authority, Coun Ian Hutchinson was elected as the new civic head, having served as deputy for 2018-19.

His deputy will be Coun Eileen Armstrong, who represents the Ponteland East and Stannington ward.

The outgoing civic head, Amble West with Warkworth councillor Jeff Watson, thanked everyone for their support over ‘a very interesting year’ and reported that he recently handed over a cheque for £16,409 to the Royal British Legion, which was his chosen charity for his year in office.

Coun Hutchinson, who represents the Haltwhistle ward, will be supporting the Alzheimer’s Society and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, set up by the former Newcastle Falcons and Scotland rugby player, Doddie Weir, to aid research into motor neurone disease and support others with the condition.

Couns Richard Dodd and Barry Flux were re-elected as the council’s business chairman and deputy respectively, while the Conservative administration – halfway through its four-year term – also opted to keep its cabinet the same.

The responsibilities remain as follows: Peter Jackson, leader; Wayne Daley, deputy leader and children’s services; Nick Oliver, corporate services and cabinet secretary; Richard Wearmouth, economic development; Glen Sanderson, environment and local services; John Riddle, planning, housing and resilience; Cath Homer, culture, arts, leisure and tourism; Veronica Jones, adult wellbeing and health.

Meanwhile, following Susan Dungworth and Scott Dickinson recently being elected as the new leader and deputy leader of the Labour group, the new shadow cabinet has now been revealed.

Joining Couns Dungworth and Dickinson (who will also be responsible for children’s services) are: Ian Swithenbank, corporate services and cabinet secretary; Lynne Grimshaw, economic development; Brian Gallacher, environment and local services; Allan Hepple, planning, housing and resilience; Liz Dunn, culture, arts, leisure and tourism; Liz Simpson, adult wellbeing and health.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service